Nikki LaBonte

Nikolette LaBonte is the Associate/Assistant/Utility Horn of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra where she has served since 2016. Originally from South Florida, Nikolette also serves as the principal horn of the Music in the Mountains summer festival, previously held a position with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and served as Acting Principal Horn of the Fort Worth Symphony from 2019-2021. She has also had the opportunity to perform with orchestras across North America including the New York Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Syracuse-based Symphoria.

Ms. LaBonte received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of W. Peter Kurau and is currently pursuing her doctoral studies under the same guidance. In addition to her degree studies, she has served as the Instructor of Natural Horn at Eastman, has been a guest lecturer at institutions including Baylor University and the University of Texas at Austin, and is an avid chamber musician having performed with groups such as the Antara Winds, Fort Worth Symphony Brass Quintet, and Music in the American Wild. 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.

Outside of the concert hall, Ms. LaBonte is active in promoting classical music throughout the community. She is a faculty member of the Eastman Horn Institute, serves as the Assistant Artistic Director of Kendall Betts Horn Camp, and has presented performances and lectures as a member of the International Horn Society. Away from the horn, she enjoys hiking, bicycling, and scuba diving, although she must reserve the latter for her visits to more tropical destinations.