Tessa Lark

Tessa Lark is a superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Desberg

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. Increasingly in demand in the classical realm, in 2020 she was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category. 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.

Following a busy summer that saw her perform with New York’s Carnegie Hall Citywide, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, and the Ravinia Festival, among many others, highlights of Lark’s 2023-24 season include the world premiere of Carlos Izcaray’s Violin Concerto – written for her – under the composer’s baton with the Alabama Symphony; and concerts with the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker marking both her European orchestral debut and her first performances of Gang Chen and Zhanhao He’s Violin Concerto, “Butterfly Lovers.” She reprises Michael Torke’s violin concerto, Sky – also written for her, and the 2020 recording of which earned her a Grammy nomination – with Oklahoma’s Signature Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra; returns to South Carolina’s Greenville Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic and England’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and performs as a chamber musician in duos with double bassist Michael Thurber and jazz guitarist Frank Vignola. She also has a new string trio project with composer-bassist Edgar Meyer and cellist Joshua Roman.

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 at such venues as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Lark’s newest album, The Stradgrass Sessions, released in spring 2023, features an all-star roster of collaborators and composers including Meyer, pianist Jon Batiste, mandolinist Sierra Hull and fiddler Michael Cleveland. Album selections mix original compositions by Lark and her collaborators with a sonata by Eugène Ysaÿe, a selection of Bartók’s violin duets arranged for violin and mandolin and the world premiere recording of John Corigliano’s STOMP.

The violinist has performed with orchestras, recital venues and festivals around the world. She has appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; the Louisville Orchestra; and the Albany, Indianapolis, Knoxville and Seattle Symphonies; as well as being presented by Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Music Center at Strathmore, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Cal Performances, San Francisco Performances, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Australia’s Musica Viva Festival, and the Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, and Bridgehampton summer festivals.

Lark’s debut commercial recording was the Grammy-nominated SKY, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for her by Michael Torke and performed with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Besides The Stradgrass Sessions, her discography also includes Fantasy on First Hand Records: fantasias by Schubert, Telemann and Fritz Kreisler; Ravel’s Tzigane; and Lark’s own composition Appalachian Fantasy. Invention, marking the debut album for the violin-bass duo made up of Lark and Michael Thurber, comprises arrangements of Two-Part Inventions by J. S. Bach along with original compositions by both duo partners. Finally, a live performance recording of Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires was released in 2021 by the Buffalo Philharmonic in honor of Piazzolla’s centenary

Lark is a recipient of the Hunt Family Award, one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards, as well as a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. She was Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition

In addition to her performance schedule, Lark was recently named Artistic Director of Musical Masterworks, a chamber music presenter in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She champions young aspiring artists and supports the next generation of musicians through her work as Co-host/Creative of NPR’s From the Top, the premier radio showcase for the nation’s most talented young musicians. She also serves as Mentor and board member of the Irving M. Klein International Strings Competition.

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.