Review: Knoxville Symphony’s commissioned world premiere of Michael Schachter violin concerto

Posted on: April 27, 2022

“Michael Schachter’s violin concerto, ‘Cycle of Life,’ had a fantastic world premiere on Thursday night with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, led by Aram Demirjian,” writes Diana Skinner in Sunday’s (4/24) Violinist.com. “Soloist Tessa Lark gave a deeply committed performance. The piece, inspired by artist Richard Jolley’s glass and steel installation at the Knoxville Museum of Art, was absolutely in sync with the artwork, and Tessa’s performance fully conveyed the cyclical story it was designed to tell…. The piece [is] comprised of seven through-composed movements based on the artwork that inspired it: Primordial, Emergence, Flight, Desire, Tree of Life, Contemplation, and Sky. Footage of the artwork would be projected on a screen above the orchestra…. In the second movement, ‘Emergence,’ I noticed a violinist somewhere in the middle of the firsts and seconds who put her violin under her chin and took a deliberate up-bow against a sea of down-bows…. [Lark] slowly stood while playing and simply walked down the aisle between the two violin sections toward center stage…. Tessa’s rich tone led the way as she joined the divine musical landscape…. And, oh, what luscious colors Schachter creates.” The program at the Tennessee Theatre closed with Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony.