Laurel Black is a percussionist and collaborative pianist finding her passions for playing and movement joyfully colliding in performance, teaching, writing, and research.  Named a "stunning" performer by Percussion News, Laurel loves to present music old and new that crosses the threshold between music and theater. 

An advocate for contemporary music, Laurel has commissioned over a dozen works for marimba in various settings.  She co-founded L+M Duo with pianist Marianne Parker in 2016, which served as the Ensemble in Residence at the University of Illinois, Chicago from 2017-2018.  The duo actively commissions in addition to its ongoing adaptation projects.

Laurel enjoys teaching at James Madison University, serving the percussion community through PAS, and co-hosting the  @ percussion podcast, where she reports on the juxtaposition of music, psychology, medicine, and philosophy.  A member of the PAS Health and Wellness Committee, her passion for personal observation as a means to injury prevention have resulted in numerous appearances on the topic - TAPS East Coast, VA Day of Percussion, Indiana Music Educators Professional Development Conference, and several universities - in addition to a new college course: Movement for Musicians.  She is published in Percussive Notes, Rhythm! Scene, and abroad, shares her thoughts at PASIC (2018, 2017, 2015), and writes regularly at LaurelBlackMusic.


In 2017 Laurel co-founded research project PercussionMind with Performing Arts psychologist Mike Cerreto; the study provides insight into the mental habits of professional percussionists.  It is designed to become an interactive resource for educators, students, professionals, and counselors.   

Laurel loves performing with her husband, percussionist/composer Casey Cangelosi.  Together they have played in the USA (TAPS East Coast, PASIC Showcase, DoPs, McCormick Marimba Festival), Mexico (Percusonidos), Costa Rica, and Australia (TAPS OZ).  In another life Laurel dreams of being a playwright and actress, and hopes that her musical projects can incorporate more and more of that dream.


Laurel endorses sticks and mallets by Innovative Percussion, and instruments by Majestic.