Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. A superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Desberg
A 2020 GRAMMY nominee in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category, recipient of 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, she has consistently been praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance. 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.
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 in Boston, the Perlman Music Program, San Francisco Performances, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Ravinia’s Bennett-Gordon Classics series, Troy Chromatic Concerts, Chamber Music Tulsa, Caramoor’s Wednesday Morning Concerts, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Australia’s Musica Viva Festival, and the Marlboro, Yellow Barn, Olympic, Bridgehampton, and Music@Menlo festivals.
Highlights of Ms. Lark’s 2019-20 season include debuts with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Lincoln Center Great Performers Series; appearances with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Performance Santa Fe; and concerto engagements with numerous orchestras including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Oregon Mozart Players, and the Delaware, Pasadena, Topeka, Tucson, and West Virginia symphonies. 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 and Mr. Thurber.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Lark has toured with musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and Musicians from Marlboro. Her piano trio, Trio Modêtre (now known as the Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio), was awarded one of the top prizes in the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Ms. Lark has collaborated with such renowned artists as Mitsuko Uchida, Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Peter Wiley, Ralph Kirshbaum, Mark O’Connor, and Edgar Meyer. She joined Caramoor Virtuosi as a result of her participation in Caramoor’s Rising Stars Series.
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, released in June 2014. 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.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Ms. Lark has served on the faculty of the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing. She is an alumna of NPR’s From the Top, the premier radio showcase for the nation’s most talented young musicians, and was recently selected as a co-host of that program beginning in the 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.