Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as “something of a phenomenon” by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times.
She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the Boston Pops, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Ireland, Belgrade Symphony, Amsterdam Symphony, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among others.
Lara has also performed with the Queensland Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony, ACO², Auckland Philharmonia, Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Hangzhou Symphony and the Shanghai Symphony.
She has traveled to Latin America for appearances with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Sao Paulo Symphony, Rio de Janeiro’s Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the SODRE in Montevideo and the Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima in Peru.
Recitals in major concert halls have included New York, Boston, San Francisco, Ravinia, Wolf Trap, Washington DC, Prague, Berlin, Toronto, Montreal, Bogotá, Lima, and in the Forbidden City.
The Los Angeles Times wrote “Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat.”
Lara owns and runs her own label, Ancalagon, which she founded in 1999. Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo was the best-selling double album on iTunes in 2007. Her 2008 world premiere recording of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto prompted Gramophone to write: “It’s the sort of work that should get audiences running, not walking, back to concert halls on new-music nights.”
In 2009, American Record Guide said of her Vivaldi/Piazzolla disc with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela: “I can imagine no suaver, more atmospheric performance.” Her Mozart recording won a Juno Award in 2011.
In 2014, her Schubert album with Berlin Philharmonic harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet, cellist Ludwig Quandt and soprano Anna Prohaska was chosen as one of ‘The Best CDs of Spring’ by Der Tagsesspiegel and MDR Figaro recommended it for its “boundless enchantment.”
Her 2016 release of re-imagined folk music with pianist Matt Herskowitz got a five-star review from All About Jazz: “Music like this is beyond imagination and talent. It exists only in the loosely-held molecules found on the razor’s edge of Creation.”
She has been featured in People, US News and World Report, on CNN’s Showbiz Today, NPR’s All Things Considered, CBC, BBC, a Bravo! Special: Live at the Rehearsal Hall and on the cover of Strings.
Lara began playing the violin when she was two years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age four, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra when she was 10. She toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary at ages 12 and 13 and entered the Curtis Institute at 13. Her teachers have included Felix Galimir and Joey Corpus.
She performs on the 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor.