“Appalachian Fantasy”: Tessa Lark Returns to Bluegrass Roots

In her debut solo album, Fantasy, violinist Tessa Lark returns to her Kentucky roots.

The album, released last September, is an exploration of the musical fantasy, a type of piece which develops with a sense of spontaneous, improvisatory freedom. Alongside music of Telemann, Schubert, Ravel, and Kreisler stands Lark’s own Bluegrass-infused Appalachian Fantasy. It’s music which blends melodic strands of Schubert with echoes of American folk songs such as Cumberland Gap and Bonaparte’s Retreat. The result is spirited music which feels both new and timeless. (Bonaparte’s Retreat provided the basis for Aaron Copland’s famous Hoedown from the ballet score, Rodeo). On the recording, Lark plays her Bluegrass fiddle music on one of the noblest of instruments—the 1683 Stradivarius that once belonged to Josef Gingold. The violin was loaned to her after she was awarded second prize at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2014.

In addition to violin studies through the Suzuki method and the influence of fiddler Mark O’Connor, Tessa Lark grew up playing in her father’s Gospel Bluegrass band, Narrow Road. Her ongoing project, Stradgrass, brings together a wide variety of musical influences. Her recording of Michael Torke’s fiddle-inspired concerto, Sky, with the Albany Symphony was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award.

Here is Tessa Lark’s Appalachian Fantasy:

Recordings

  • Lark: Appalachian Fantasy, Tessa Lark Amazon

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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