Infusing Styles: Lucia Micarelli, Classical and Rock Violinist
As we continue to explore today’s great violinists, this next artist has been recognized for both her incredible talent and her versatile ability to play a diverse assortment of musical styles with equal passion and presence. Over the entire course of her playing career, which began at the age of three, Lucia Micarelli has enthralled listeners with her energy, but over the past decade, her presence and force in the industry has expanded.
A lifetime of immersion in the arts has helped developed this violinist’s personal expression. However, it is her exceptional ability to infuse the very precision and structure required in classical training with the improvised freedom that characterizes other music styles that has spurred her success and fueled her fame.
History and Education
Born in Queens, New York, July 9, 1983, Lucia Micarelli began her musical path very early. During a 2015 Interview for The Park Record, Micarelli spoke about her education and how she made the transition from classical music into the world of rock, pop, jazz, and bluegrass sounds. At the age of three she began her violin education. Then her family moved to Hawaii, where at age six Micarelli was performing as a soloist in the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Her popularity continued to soar and she performed on many televised shows and events throughout the state.
When she was 11, an opportunity to audition at the Julliard School of Music altered her path again. She was accepted to the prestigious school and her family moved back to New York to allow her to attend their pre-college division. During her years at Julliard, she was a mainstay on the competition circuit, performing in concert venues across the country and earning a “dozen international competitions” according to her website biography.
At 17 she transferred to the Manhattan School of Music, learning under Pinchas Zuckerman. At this time Micarelli also began to be attracted to other musical styles. She explained in the interview that “…all the way up until then, I was studying classical. In fact, I only listened to classical, but that began to change.” Meeting other classically trained musicians who also embraced the possibilities available through improvisation and other musical genres, Micarelli was intrigued. She credits meeting cellist Dave Egger with opening her eyes to the potential of playing both classical compositions and other music styles.
However, Micarelli found that the transition wasn’t exactly easy. She stated, “Learning a Coltrane or Miles [Davis] solo and trying to shape phrases with that kind of nuance and detail is hard.” However, her desire to “be freer and more comfortable in a less-structured musical environment” kept her on that path.
In 2004 a call from Josh Groban inviting her to perform as a guest soloist on his “Closer” tour opened the door. See her perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” here. Later that same year, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers Records and released her first album, “Music From a Farther Room,” which was received with rave reviews. From there, she toured with Jethro Tull and performed with Ian Anderson Orchestral tours, eventually joining Josh Groban again for his 2009 “Awake” tour.
Achievements and Pursuits
Her latest album, “Interlude” has been met with enthusiasm, and this summer, she’ll be touring and appearing as a guest violinist with Chris Botti in Park City, UT. You can view her PBS performance with him in Boston, performing "Emmanuel” here.
Micarelli has performed Carnegie Hall with Jethro Tull, and also at the Newport Jazz Festival with Chris Botti. When asked about how she feels about the path her music has taken she said, “I’m thrilled that I ended up with a broader music scope that I originally planned.”
Although best known for her musical ability, most recently Micarelli has risen in stardom for her portrayal of “Annie” on the HBO original series “Treme,” a show that highlights the vast talent she possesses. You can view her performing “Second Line on Monday” from the show on her YouTube channel. Micarelli’s acting career is blossoming, she’s also landed a role on WGN’s “Manhattan.” Of her recent success she said, “This is the weirdest thing. I never expected to act.”
Lucia Micarelli infuses her classical training with a wide variety of musical styles to create her own unique voice, and by doing so, has earned a name among today’s great violinists. Her versatile approach and constant desire to incorporate more freedom into her playing has helped her develop her natural gift and infuse the exactitude of her classical training with other music genres to create music that blurs the boundaries of traditional music.