Art Meets Music: Tessa Lark in 'Cycle of Life'

April 9, 2022, 5:06 PM · The shocking death of 39-year-old artist Viktor Hartmann prompted Modest Mussorgsky to write Pictures at an Exhibition. Based on drawings and watercolors Hartmann created during his travels abroad, the 10-piece virtuoso piano collection captures a variety of European locales, one most fitting for today – The Bogatyr Gates (In the Capital in Kiev).

Composed in just three short weeks, the work went on to receive several full orchestrations, most notably the rendition by Maurice Ravel. For us lucky listeners, the music evokes spectacular images and can take us to places we’ve never been.

Perhaps it was this iconic connection between art and music that inspired a young conductor as he walked the halls of the Knoxville Museum of Art. Maestro Aram Demirjian found himself in the museum several years ago when he was in town auditioning for his current position as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director. His reaction to artist Richard Jolley’s stunning Cycle of Life glass and steel installation was simply, "This is begging to be turned into a piece of music."

Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark.

The work so profoundly captured Demirjian’s imagination that now, several years later, audiences are about to hear a violin concerto inspired by what some consider the largest figural glass assemblage in the world.

Demirjian turned to composer Michael Schachter and violinist Tessa Lark, a formidable duo who will combine with the KSO later this month in world-premiere performances. The collaborative project came to the attention of the PBS series, Craft in America.

The clip is cued up to Tessa performing snippets of the work in the museum. You’ll hear Demirjian, Schachter, and Jolley as well. To see the full segment, click here.

Performances: April 21 & 22, 7:30 p.m., Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN. Click here for ticket information.


April 12, 2022 at 09:33 PM · The connection between art and music is beyond words. Everything is connected to music. Music is life. Music gives life to everything.

Tessa Lark is now one of my favorite violinists thanks to you Diana. I so wish I could hear this concert but alas I will not be in Knoxville at that time.

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