A year ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Tessa Lark perform Korngold’s violin concerto with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Aram Demirjian. It was one of those magical nights in the concert hall that I will simply never forget. I went home and immediately wrote my impressions, ending with: "As audiences for classical music continue to diminish, I take heart in young performers like Tessa and Aram who strive to offer live performances that are riveting, informative, and inspirational. They are the ones who make it worth our while to get out of the house on a rainy night and into the theater."
A Symphonic Minute
Today, listening to these two artists speak in Aram’s quarantine-inspired #SymphonicMinute podcast, I find myself intrigued as they challenge the stereotypical definitions of "classical" versus "new" music, grapple over how to bring different performing styles into the musical arena, and discuss what it takes to brand yourself as a multi-faceted artist. And Tessa takes a minute to play a piece written just for her.
A StradGrass Concerto
Lively. Wistful. Spirited. Adjectives that could easily describe Tessa. Rather, these are the three movements of the stunning violin concerto, "Sky," written especially for her by composer Michael Torke. Tessa’s Kentucky fiddle-playing roots and her pedigree as the daughter of a veteran bluegrass player, paired with her virtuostic technique as a concert violinist, shine through in this
On Meeting Your Heroes
It’s been said that meeting your heroes can be risky. The higher the pedestal you’ve placed them on, the more devastating the fall. I took a chance when I reached out to Tessa last year via her website. I sent her a link to the article I had written about her performance of the Korngold, but I honestly didn’t expect anything more than an auto reply. I share a portion of her lovely response because it truly speaks to those qualities that I believe make her special not just as an artist, but as a human being.
"Thank you for such a positive article and review. Reading your entry truly touched me; media lately seems to be inundated with disgruntled opinions, and though it’s of course always nice to read a good review of a performance of my own, I was simply moved by your willingness to contribute refreshing optimism and positivity to the internet. I have always admired that quality in Violinist.com at large; so, thank you for the elegant levity. Tessa"
Thank YOU, Tessa, for breathing fresh air into the musical world. My fingers are crossed that you and Aram will perform Torke’s concerto together next fall in Tennessee. What better backdrop for some bluegrass-inspired music than the Great Smoky Mountains.
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