Brooklyn Duo Bio
Founded in 2014, Brooklyn Duo has quickly established itself as one of today’s most successful classical crossover ensembles. Through its creative arrangements and live video performances, the piano and cello duo has garnered a huge following, with over one million YouTube subscribers and billions of streams on platforms such as Spotify and Pandora Radio.
Members Marnie and Patrick Laird met at a chamber music festival in 2006 and were married in 2012. Both worked as professional musicians after graduating from the Juilliard and Eastman schools of music, respectively; Marnie as principal pianist of the New World Symphony in Miami, and Patrick as a founding member of popular cello rock band, Break of Reality. In 2014, on a whim, the couple arranged and recorded two pop covers (Shakira's “Empire” and John Legend's “All of Me”) and released them on YouTube. Amazingly, Shakira noticed the duo’s cover and promoted it to her 130 million-plus fan base, saying: “We're loving Brooklyn Duo's piano/cello cover of #Empire! Great work guys." The boost that resulted from that exposure and the positive response they were getting on YouTube encouraged the couple to continue creating videos. (Other notable shout-outs since then include ones from Taylor Swift, a-ha, and Pearl Jam.)
Today, Marnie and Patrick have released over 100 videos on their Brooklyn Duo YouTube channel and 10 albums of covers, spanning artists from The Beatles to Metallica to Ariana Grande. In 2016, the couple started a second YouTube channel, Brooklyn Classical, with the goal of introducing classical music to a larger audience through high quality, live performances. Brooklyn Classical often hosts high-profile guest artists, including the world-renowned Dover and Escher string quartets, percussionist Ivan Trevino, and cellist Cicely Parnas.
In 2017, Marnie and Patrick partnered with Carnegie Hall and Ensemble Connect to produce a cover of a-ha’s “Take On Me”. The video went viral and garnered millions of views in just a few months. Popular classical music stations Classic FM and WQXR regularly share Brooklyn Duo’s music with their audiences, with WQXR hailing the duo as "the cello and piano power couple" and Classic FM calling them “masters of the artfully planned pop cover.” Their music has been featured on television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and America's Got Talent.
Canadian pianist Marnie Laird, praised as "…a technically immaculate, probing and authoritative protagonist" (The Miami Herald), enjoys an active career as a collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and soloist. Prior to founding Brooklyn Duo and Brooklyn Classical, Marnie spent three years as principal pianist of the New World Symphony in Miami under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. In high demand as a pianist in New York City, she worked with several opera companies, including the Gotham Chamber Opera, and was also on staff as a collaborative pianist at The Juilliard School after graduating. Recent performances have taken her to Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, SubCulture, and Joe's Pub.
Originally from Vancouver, BC, Marnie has been the recipient of numerous Canadian awards, including top prizes from the Canadian Music Competitions, Canadian Music Teachers' Association, and the BC Arts Council. Most notably she was awarded the Gold Medal for the highest mark in Canada on the A.R.C.T. piano performance exams. She made her solo orchestral debut at age 13 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and has participated in the Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West, Kneisel Hall, and Banff summer festivals.
Marnie received her Master’s degree in collaborative piano from The Juilliard School, where she was the recipient of a full scholarship as well as the Orchestral Piano Fellowship. She also has a Master’s in solo piano performance from The University of British Columbia. Her principal teachers include Lorraine Ambrose, Robin Wood, Jane Coop, Jonathan Feldman, and Margo Garrett.
Patrick Laird is a much sought-after cellist and composer/arranger. He is widely recognized not only as half of Brooklyn Duo, but as the cellist and founding member of the cello-rock ensemble Break of Reality.
As a performer with Break of Reality, Patrick has given concerts in over 40 states across the U.S. in major performing arts centers, rock clubs, concert halls and colleges. In 2015, the members of Break of Reality were appointed music ambassadors by the U.S. State Department as part of the American Music Abroad program. Since then, they have toured over ten countries across South America, Asia and Central Asia, performing concerts and working with thousands of music students. In addition to its international tours, the band continues to tour extensively within the U.S. Highlights include a country-wide music education tour, a sold-out tour of Alaska, and direct support for the rock group "Cake”.
An avid composer and arranger, Patrick has written music for all three of Break of Reality's original albums, as well as arrangements for the band’s “Covers” album. His songs are streamed over 20 million times a year on internet radio, and his music has been featured in national television programs, including Dateline NBC and America’s Investigative Reports on PBS, which went on to win an Emmy. His recent arrangement and performance of the Game of Thrones theme song has over 25 million views on YouTube, and was hailed by the Huffington Post as "the best rendition of the theme song you will ever hear." In 2012, he wrote his first major composition in classical form, a "Concerto for 3 Cellos, Percussion & Orchestra", which Break of Reality premiered in the U.S. with the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra and in South America with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.
Patrick is also a prominent voice in the commercial music world, with articles featured in many online and print outlets including Billboard and Resolution Magazine. He has been interviewed for a number of publications, including Forbes Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Strings Magazine.
Patrick received his Bachelor's degree, as well as the prestigious Performer’s Certificate, from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Steven Doane. Patrick plays exclusively on Pirastro strings.