Three Violinists Chosen for 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grants

March 22, 2016, 11:35 AM · An unusually high number of violinists will receive a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant tonight in New York -- with three of the five recipients being violinists. Many congratulations to those violinists, who are: Sean Lee, Alexi Kenney and Tessa Lark.

Avery Fischer Career Grant recipients 2016
L-R: Sean Lee, Alexi Kenny and Tessa Lark.

The three violinists are among five young musicians chosen to receive the grants, worth $25,000 each, according to the New York Times. Congratulations also to the other recipients: cellist Jay Campbell and pianist George Li.

In some years, no violinists are chosen at all, which makes this year's group notable.

The recipients will perform tonight at a 6 p.m. ET ceremony, which will be streamed live on the WQXR website. The event also will be broadcast on NY radio station 105.9 FM, at 9 p.m. on April 30, with a replay at 10 p.m. May 4.

Sean Lee studied with Robert Lipsett and Ruggiero Ricci and Itzhak Perlman, earning his Bachelor of Music Degree and Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School. For four seasons he served as concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra. Lee has played with many orchestras around the world and is an active chamber musician. His 2013 recording of the Strauss Sonata reached the iTunes top 20 classical bestsellers list. He is also a member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, as well as the violin faculty of the Perlman Music Program.

Alexi Kenney, 22, is an Artist Diploma candidate at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studies with Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried on the Charlotte F. Rabb Presidential Scholarship. Previous teachers include Wei He, Jenny Rudin, and Natasha Fong. He received top prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition (2012), the Mondavi Center Competition (2010), and the 2013 Kronberg Academy master classes. Later this season, he will release his debut CD (CAG Records), featuring works by Schumann, Enescu and Westhoff– all works Alexi performed in his Carnegie Hall debut recital.

Tessa Lark, 26, won the Naumburg International Violin Award in 2012 and was Silver Medalist of the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Lark studied with Kurt Sassmannshaus, Miriam Fried and Lucy Chapman. She has served on the faculty of the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, China and as resident faculty at Lee University School of Music. As a From the Top alumna, Tessa plays an active role in their arts leadership program as a performer and educator.

The grants were established by the late Avery Fisher as part of a major gift to Lincoln Center in 1974. Since that time 141 career grants (including these) have been awarded. The grants "are designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists, as well as chamber ensembles, who the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee of the Avery Fisher Artist Program believe to have great potential for major careers," according to the Lincoln Center Website.. "Artists do not apply directly for these awards and have no idea they are even under consideration." Up to five grants may be given each year.

Former recipients include violinists Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Tai Murray, Augustin Hadelich, Benjamin Beilman, Bella Hristova, Itamar Zorman, Caroline Goulding, Simone Porter and many more. Here is a full list of past recipients.


March 23, 2016 at 11:42 PM · Congratulations to all the winners...the world is a richer place because of your dedication to your art!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine