Three NEC Musicians Awarded Avery Fisher Career Grants

Violinists Alexi Kenney and Tessa Lark and pianist George Li receive career support through these grants.

Pianist George Li, Violinists Alexi Kenney and
Tessa Lark Each Receive $25,000

Recipients to Perform at Announcement Ceremony on March 22, 2016
Live Streaming and Replays Available on

Two New England Conservatory students and an alumna, pianist George Li and violinists Alexi Kenney and Tessa Lark, are being awarded Avery Fisher Career Grants today. The awards are being announced at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR in New York City. Joseph W. Polisi, Chairman of the Avery Fisher Artist Program will make the announcement. He will be joined by members of the Fisher family, specifically two of Avery Fisher’s three children, Charles Avery Fisher and Nancy Fisher, and Avery Fisher’s grandson, Philip Avery Kirschner. Each recipient will receive a $25,000 grant, which provides professional support and acknowledgment for their solo careers. The grants are given to exceptionally talented instrumentalists and up to five Career Grants may be given each year. Since the program’s origin in 1976, 141 winners have been chosen, including this year’s awards.

More about the Avery Fisher Career Grants

Today’s award announcement and recipient performances will take place at 6 PM and are being streamed live and recorded for later broadcast by Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, New York City’s classical radio station.

Find live stream here.

The radio broadcast may be heard on and 105.9 FM on:
Saturday, April 30 at 9:00 pm, with a replay on Wednesday, May 4 at 10:00 pm

Additionally, all recipients will be profiled on WNET’s NYC-Arts, with air dates TBD. This year marks the 6th consecutive year that WNET’s NYC Arts will be showcasing Career Grant recipients.

New England Conservatory musicians have been frequent recipients of Avery Fisher Career Grants, dating back to 1977, the second year of the grants, with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and through the NEC sweep of the grants in 2014.

Find a complete list of past NEC recipients.

(An FYI regarding Richard Stoltzman: In addition to being a Career Grant recipient in 1977, he was also an Avery Fisher Prize recipient in 1986.)

About George Li
Pianist George Li '09 Prep is currently enrolled in the dual degree program at Harvard University and New England Conservatory, continuing his piano studies with Wha Kyung Byun as well as Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Russell Sherman. A resident of Lexington, Massachusetts, George Li graduated from Walnut Hill School for the Arts and the Preparatory School of New England Conservatory, where he also studied piano with Wha Kyung Byun. Upon completion of the Harvard/NEC program, Li will have a bachelor's degree from Harvard and a Master of Music degree from NEC.

Silver medalist in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition and winner of the prestigious XIV Concours International Grand Prix Animato 2014 Paris, George Li is regarded as one of the world's most talented and creative young pianists. His astonishing technique, distinctive tonal quality, and exceptional musicality have earned him consistent critical acclaim (New York Times, Washington Post, International Piano Magazine, Toronto Star, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Music Intelligencer) and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral collaborations, and chamber music performances.

More about George Li

About Alexi Kenney
Born in Palo Alto, California in 1994, violinist Alexi Kenney '15 B.M. is an Artist Diploma candidate at New England Conservatory, where he studies with Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried on the Charlotte F. Rabb Presidential Scholarship. Kenney completed NEC's Bachelor of Music program in 2015.

Alexi Kenney has been praised by the New York Times for “…immediately drawing listeners in with his beautifully phrased and delicate playing.” These qualities, paired with his distinctive poise, musical intellect, and thoughtful repertoire led to his win at the 2013 CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition at the age of nineteen. He is the recipient of top prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition (2012), the Mondavi Center Competition (2010), and the 2013 Kronberg Academy master classes. He was praised by Strings magazine for his “beautiful, aching tone” for a performance of the Sibelius Concerto with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing during the Menuhin Competition.

More about Alexi Kenney

About Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark '11 B.M., '12 M.M. entered New England Conservatory in the fall of 2006 to begin studies with Miriam Fried, and completed her master's degree in May 2012 under the tutelage of both Fried and Lucy Chapman. In another Boston connection, Tessa is a "From the Top" alumna, and plays an active role in their arts leadership program as a performer and educator.

Winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Violin Award in 2012, Tessa Lark was named the Silver Medalist of the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and is a recipient of a career grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts. Other awards include the first prize in both the 2008 Irving Klein International Strings Competition and the 2006 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players; and top prizes in the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as part of her piano trio, Modêtre, and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2009.

More about Tessa Lark