Violinist Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time, consistently praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance. In 2020 she was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards: the special Hunt Family Award. Other recent honors include a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition. A budding superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky, delighting audiences with programming that includes Appalachian and bluegrass music and inspiring composers to write for her.
Ms. Lark has been a featured soloist at numerous U.S. orchestras, recital venues, and festivals since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age sixteen. She performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2017 on Carnegie's Distinctive Debuts series, and again the following year as part of APAP's Young Performers Career Advancement showcase. Ms. Lark has appeared with the Louisville Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic; the Albany, Indianapolis, Knoxville and Seattle symphonies, and at such venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Music Center at Strathmore, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, San Francisco Performances, Ravinia, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Australia’s Musica Viva Festival, and the Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Bridgehampton, and Music@Menlo festivals.
Her 2019-20 season included debuts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Erie Philharmonic, and the Delaware, Pasadena, Springfield (MO), Topeka, Tucson, and West Virginia symphony orchestras. Highlights for 2020-21 include online appearances with Cal Performances, the La Jolla Music Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Caramoor, Musical Masterworks, and Clarion Concerts, as well as debuts with Friends of Chamber Music (Denver), the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the Heartland Festival Orchestra.
Three recordings featuring Ms. Lark were released in 2019: Fantasy, an album on the First Hand Records label that includes fantasias by Schubert, Telemann and Fritz Kreisler, Ravel’s Tzigane, and Ms. Lark’s own Appalachian Fantasy; SKY, a GRAMMY-nominated Albany Symphony Orchestra release whose title selection is a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for her by Michael Torke that she premiered with the ASO in January 2019; and Invention, a debut album of the violin-bass duo Tessa Lark & Michael Thurber that comprises arrangements of Two-Part Inventions by J.S. Bach along with non-classical original compositions by Ms. Lark, Mr. Thurber, and Eddie Barbash.
A fourth recording, The Stradgrass Sessions, will be released in early 2021. It includes collaborations with composer-performers Jon Batiste, Edgar Meyer, Michael Cleveland, and Sierra Hull; works by Bartók and Ysaÿe; and the premier recording of John Corigliano’s solo violin composition STOMP.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Lark has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. In 2012 her piano trio, the Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio (then known as Trio Modêtre), was awarded one of the top prizes in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and in 2020 the ensemble’s debut recording was honored with the German Record Critics’ Award in the Chamber Music category. Ms. Lark’s musical collaborators have included Mitsuko Uchida, Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Peter Wiley, Ralph Kirshbaum, Mark O’Connor, and Edgar Meyer.
Keeping in touch with her Kentucky roots, Ms. Lark performs bluegrass and Appalachian music regularly and collaborated with Mark O'Connor on his album MOC4. She also plays jazz violin, most recently performing with the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City. She premiered her own Appalachian Fantasy as part of her Distinctive Debuts recital at Carnegie Hall, where she also gave the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Spoon Bread, written specifically for her stylistic capabilities.
Ms. Lark is an alumna of NPR’s From the Top, the premier radio showcase for the nation’s most talented young musicians, and is serving as Co-Host/Creative for the show’s 2020-21 season.
Her primary mentors include Cathy McGlasson, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Miriam Fried, and Lucy Chapman. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Ida Kavafian, and Daniel Phillips. Ms. Lark plays a ca. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
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