Eclectic Harmony: Renowned violinist brings genre-bending sounds to Phoenix
By Jordan Houston
Lucia Micarelli is not the average violinist.
The New York native, who has toured with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a featured violinist and concertmaster, is known to seamlessly blend genres, ranging from bluegrass to Led Zeppelin, all on one stage. A powerhouse performer, Micarelli has captivated audiences by guiding them on a dynamic journey through her vast musical tastes — and she’s bringing those talents to Phoenix.
On Thursday, February 10, she will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. at the Musical Instrument Museum.
“I guess it’s what people call eclectic, but I don’t necessarily love that term,” Micarelli says of her set list. “It’s like if you were to come over to my house for dinner and I had a playlist I made of all of my favorite stuff in the background.”
On top of singing on stage, the violinist says attendees can expect to hear a mix of classical, jazz, Americana, folk, Appalachian and a blend of whatever “(I am) into at the moment and all sorts of music that has inspired me over the years.”
Micarelli, who trained at the Julliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division and the Manhattan School of Music, attributes her unique showcase to the “talented musicians” she has worked with in the past.
“Primarily, I have a classical background and do mostly classical music,” the violinist shares. “But, I have been lucky enough to have a really weird journey where I’ve learned about a lot of other different kinds of music from some incredible teachers and incredible musicians that I was able to work with.”
Those experiences entail working as a featured soloist in two of Josh Groban’s world tours, as well as touring extensively with Chris Botti. In 2009, Micarelli broadened her career by starring as Annie in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “Treme,” which won Peabody and Primetime Emmy awards.
Micarelli notes, “All these years later, it seems only natural that my musical tastes, or what would be the definition of my voice, is a collection of all of those experiences.”
Not only does her set incorporate elements of jazz, American folk, classical, film music and the fiddle, but she also folds in tunes from across the globe, such as traditional Bulgarian gypsy tunes.
“It’s weird. On one hand, most shows are kind of in whatever genre the artist is, but at the same time, I think most people listen to everything these days and everyone has access to all different types of music,” Micarelli explains. “I think listening, as humans, our awareness of genres is pretty blurry; we are all kind of exposed to everything. I think, in a way, it’s a very natural way to consume music.”
Music has been an all-encompassing presence in Micarelli’s life for as long as she can remember.
Born in Queens, New York, she was just 3 years when she first embarked on the world of the arts. Micarelli experimented with practicing dance and piano, but it was ultimately the violin that captured her heart.
“As far back as I remember, violin was a thing,” she explains. “I think it took a couple of years, but by the time I was 6 or 7 I know I identified myself that way and I was really excited about it. I wanted to be a violinist and I was telling everybody about it and practicing hard.”
After moving to Hawaii, 5-year-old Micarelli continued to refine her talents. She debuted as a soloist at 6 with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. It wasn’t long before she began frequently appearing on local television shows and concertizing throughout the islands.
At 11, the young Micarelli attended the Juilliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division to study with the renowned violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. She also took lessons with Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin and Won-Bin Yim.
Following a win at the Pre-College Concerto Competition, and appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and international venues, Micarelli solidified the violin as her calling by the time she was a teen.
“The more effort you put into it, it kind of becomes the thing you do,” Micarelli shares. “By the time I was a teenager, it was much more of a personal form of expression and I felt like it was the thing I was supposed to be doing.”
She was 17 when she left Juilliard to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with celebrated international violinist Pinchas Zukerman. During this time, she expanded her interests into nonclassical music. She began moonlighting with local jazz and rock bands in New York clubs, according to her website.
Micarelli’s extensive resume also includes the release of two solo studio albums, “Music from A Farther Room” and “Interlude.” In 2018, she appeared in her first PBS concert special, spawning the live album “An Evening with Lucia Micarelli.”
“Being able to feel like I can, through music, connect to a lot of people and share something deeply human — that’s pretty cool,” Micarelli expresses.
The musician adds she is particularly eager for the upcoming Phoenix appearance.
“I’m excited to be coming back to Phoenix; I’ve been there a bunch of times,” Micarelli says. “This is only my fourth show back from COVID … so it still feels like a real high school reunion to get out there and see people again.”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 10
WHERE: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Bouleard, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $49.50
INFO: mim.org; audience members must either be vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before the performance. Masks are also strongly encouraged.
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