Nikolette LaBonte is the newly appointed Principal Horn of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. She also serves as principal horn of the Music in the Mountains summer festival and comes to Calgary from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra where she served as Associate Principal Horn. Nikolette has also held positions with the Fort Worth Symphony as Acting Principal Horn and the Hawaii Symphony as Acting Assistant Principal Horn and has had the opportunity to perform with orchestras across North America including guest principal engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Tucson Symphony, and an extended engagement with the Baltimore Symphony as Visiting Guest Principal Horn.
Active as an educator, Ms. LaBonte was the Instructor of Natural Horn at the Eastman School of Music, served on the faculties of the Eastman Horn Institute and Carnegie Hall’s NYO2, and has been a guest lecturer at institutions including SUNY Potsdam, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at Austin. Nikolette is also an award-winning soloist and was a participant in the prestigious ARD International Competition in 2021, the only American horn player invited.
Originally from South Florida, Ms. LaBonte received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of W. Peter Kurau. Outside the concert hall, Ms. LaBonte is active in promoting classical music throughout the community. She serves as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp, is the Paper Archivist for the International Horn Society, and has presented performances and lectures as a member of the International Horn Society and the International Women’s Brass Conference. Away from the horn, she enjoys hiking, bicycling, and scuba diving, although she must reserve the latter for her visits to more tropical destinations.