To Laura
Your voice naturally rings
like pure silver
from utopia —–Will Alexander

About Laura

Soprano – Composer – Performance Artist


Laura Semilian’s powerful, haunting soprano voice hunts the nuances of old stories, enticing the listener to experience the familiar yet forgotten.
A first place winner of the southeastern region’s Metropolitan Opera competition, Laura holds graduate degrees in history and music, with solo orchestral and opera credits ranging from Mozart to Orff to Verdi to Wagner.
Born in San Diego to scientist parents, Laura grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and presently lives in the North Carolina foothills.

Laura’s passion is spearheading site- and event-specific musical performances resonating historical period and place. Her forthcoming Nashville-recorded LP features songs of 1800s America — Civil War, Gold Rush, Frontier, and more, a genre she calls “Victorian Americana.” In addition to historical and genealogical societies, Laura’s most recent venues range from President James K. Polk’s birthplace in North Carolina’s backcountry to the Viva NashVegas Radio Show in Franklin, Tennessee to the United States Marine
Chapel in Quantico, Virginia.

An innovative, interdisciplinary artist, her other performance projects include vocal settings of poetry by Will Alexander and George Quasha and programs of works by Hungarian ethnographers Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. She has also composed soundscapes for documentary and experimental films by her husband Julian







The Unrestricted Life of Ted Fujioka (2018)
Gazing Oozing With Mendacity (2013)
Devotees of the Precipitate (2009)
Tear Void Insomina Mist (2007)




art is (Speaking Portraits) compiled by George Quasha. Laura is one of the interview-portraits featured in this

collection of contemporary artists. The Performance Ideas Series, PAJ Publications, New York, 2016.

Sounding Home: Selected Translations of Hungarian Folk Songs collected & arranged by Béla Bartók e Zoltán Kodály with Introduction and Annotations.

2013. Laura’s translations from the Hungarian of pastoral and soldiers’ songs collected during the First World War. Featured in Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics (vol. vii,issue 1) and the site

Smuggling, Surrealism, & Sympathetic Magic: On Translating Luca, 2013. With Julian Semilian. Featured in Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics.

Inventor of Love & Other Writings by Gherasim Luca, translated from the Romanian by Julian Semilian and
Laura Semilian. Black Widow Press, 2009.