Lara St. John, violin
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a "high-powered soloist" by the New York Times.
She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Seattle, Brooklyn, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Boston Pops and many more in North America. In Europe, she has played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony (Hanover), Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Bournemouth Symphony, and the Amsterdam Symphony, among others. In Asia, solo appearances have included the Hong Kong Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, China Philharmonic in Beijing, Guangzhou Symphony and the Shanghai Broadcasting Orchestra. Lara has also performed with the Queensland Orchestra in Australia and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey.
The Los Angeles Times has written, "St. John brings to the stage personal charisma, an unflagging musical imagination and genuine passion." Recitals in major concert halls have included New York, Boston, San Francisco, Ravinia, Washington DC, Prague, Berlin, Toronto, Montreal, and in the Forbidden City.
Her most recent recording Mozart featuring the Sinfonia Concertanteand Concerti Nos. 1 & 3with her brother Scott St. John and The Knights won the 2011 Juno Classical Album of the Year for Soloist with Large Ensemble. Gramophone wrote that the performance was "…very daring and it never sounds contrived" while Whole Note said that it "…simply can't imagine a more satisfying recording of this glorious work."
Lara St. John's recording with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and conductor Eduardo Marturet VIVALDI– The Four Seasons and Piazzolla – The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires reached No. 2 on the iTunes charts on its first day and Maestro José Antonio Abreu, the founder of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and El Sistema wrote of the recording: "This stunning recording features the extraordinary violinist Lara St. John. She and the musicians of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra give an inspired performance under the baton of Eduardo Marturet." The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "Lara St. John is as captivating in the seductive scenes of the Piazzolla as she is crisp, caressing and colorful in Vivaldi's atmospheric paeans to nature" and Audiophile Audition stated "Do we need another Four Seasons? With playing and sound like this, yes we do!"
Lara's sixth recording, Hindson – Corigliano – Liszt/Kennedy/St. John was released in 2008 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, featuring two world premiere works; the Matthew Hindson Violin Concerto and the Martin Kennedy/ St. John arrangement of Totentanz by Franz Liszt, as well as The Red Violin Suite by John Corigliano. In writing of his impressions of the recording, John Corigliano commented: "I'm thrilled to be included in a new recording by the brilliant and always surprising Lara St. John. She is a real maverick, as a performer and in her choice of repertoire. An opulent and virtuosic new violin concerto and my Red Violin suite are coupled with a newly arranged version of a 19th century pianistic tour de force in her latest stunning release."
Lara's fifth recording, Bach: The Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo, described as "awe-inducing" by The Toronto Star, and "wild, idiosyncratic, and gripping" by the Los Angeles Times, was released in the autumn of 2007 where it climbed to No. 2 on the iTunes classical charts and was that year's best selling double album on iTunes.
Her third recording, Bach: the Concerto Album appeared in the "strongly recommended" section of Gramophone, which stated, "It is difficult to argue with such a technically dazzling and unfailingly musical interpretation." In June of 2005 the recording was released on iTunes where it immediately reached No. 1 in the classical category. Lara has also recorded for Sony Classical.
Her debut CD, Bach: Works for Violin Solo, has sold over 50,000 copies and received resounding acclaim. The Chicago Tribune described Ms. St. John as having "superb technique and an irresistible vitality," while US News and World Report called the recording "an exquisite performance." Her second album, Gypsy, was described as "a sizzling display" by Gramophone, and The Strad called her "an electrifying player, as deeply satisfying in Bach as she is bewitchingly seductive in Waxman's Carmen Fantasy."
She has been featured in People, US News and World Report, on CNN's Showbiz Today, NPR's All Things Considered, Fox News, CBC and a Bravo! Special: Live At the Rehearsal Hall.
The 2010-2011 concert season includes more than 45 performances in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland, the United States and Canada as well as a concert in New York's Central Park.
Lara began playing the violin when she was two years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age four, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon when she was 10. She toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary at ages 12 and 13, entered the Curtis Institute at 13, and spent her first summer at Marlboro three years later. Her teachers have included Felix Galimir, David Takeno, and Joey Corpus.
She performs on the 1779 "Salabue" Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor and Heinl & Co. of Toronto