Lara St. John - Live @ NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Lights off
Sorry, your favorites list is FULL.
Click this link to twitter this video (opens in a new window/tab)


May 9, 2016 by TOM HUIZENGA • Violinist Lara St. John has attitude in spades. It's in the sound of her playing and in the arc of her career.

Her first album cover sparked controversy, prompting many classical-music observers to wonder about her motivations until they heard the passionate Bach performances that accompanied it. Willing to take risks, St. John was among the first to start her own record label in the 1990s. It's allowed her to call the shots on her recorded repertoire, which has been satisfyingly broad, from Piazzolla to polkas to Mozart.

St. John's recent album Shiksa - recorded with pianist Matt Herskowitz, who joins her for this Tiny Desk concert - collects new arrangements of old tunes from Armenia, Romania and the Jewish diaspora.

The two know how to start off a show. The incendiary "Czardashian Rhapsody" mashes up two Hungarian tunes with some extra hot sauce. St. John's fiddle is at turns coy and cocky, racy, raw and just plain outrageous. Herskowitz dispatches his considerably hefty role with equal abandon. Her hair flying as if she were a glam-rock guitarist, St. John nails the big rock 'n' roll ending.

The two slow it all down for "Sari Siroun Yar," a bittersweet Armenian troubadour song that opens with pearly, Asian-colored trills from Herskowitz and some sleight-of-hand magic from St. John. Bowing across the fingerboard, she captures the muted, breathy sound of the duduk, Armenia's ancient double-reed instrument.

The barnstorming grit is back for a final round of pyrotechnics in the "Oltenian Hora." The piece plays off a catalog of violin tricks, St. John explains, practiced by traditional Romanian gypsy fiddlers. After rapid-fire whistles, bird calls and slithery harmonics, all in a variety of off-kilter rhythms, St. John ratchets up the intensity. Practically brawling with her instrument, she saws away faster and faster, leaving her, and many of us in the room, breathless.

"Shiksa" is available now

Set List:
"Czardashian Rhapsody" (arr. Martin Kennedy)
"Sari Siroun Yar" (arr. Serouj Kradjian)
"Oltenian Hora" (arr. Lara St. John)

Producers: Tom Huizenga, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame, Brandon Chew; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Kara Frame/NPR.
More information on this artist is available in the tabs below.


Pick and Click one of the menu tabs above for more artist info.

Or click the artist name tag above to go to the artist page.

All artist info on these pages is

Post your comment

Artist: Lara St. John
Video title: Live @ NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Facebook: Like & Comments - Share on/Post to
Category: World & Reggae, Live In Concert
Views: 2713
Problems with this Video? Report This Video!

Terms Of Service - Google Privacy Policy

New Music Videos
Puzzle PiecesBroadsidePuzzle Pieces
Young And MenaceFall Out BoyYoung And Menace
Stage I, Session 2Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters CompetitionStage I, Session 2
Striking MatchesCover Your TracksStriking Matches
Importance 101White HillsImportance 101
Sick BugRolling Blackouts Coastal FeverSick Bug
Do What I WantLil Uzi VertDo What I Want
It Goes OnSlow DancerIt Goes On