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Tessa Lark Wins Naumburg

Violinist Adds Another Competition Win to her Honors

NEC’s Tessa Lark Wins Naumburg International Violin Competition

Awarded $10,000, Two New York Performances

Student of Miriam Fried and Lucy Chapman Previous Winner of Klein and Johansen International Competitions

Tessa Lark ’11, ’12 M.M. has won the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, which was held in New York City, June 7—12. A native of Richmond, Kentucky whose versatility extends to a virtuosic command of bluegrass fiddle music, Lark won $10,000 and two fully subsidized New York performances, including recital and orchestral appearances. She will make her first Naumburg appearance on Nov. 28 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall.

The 23-year old violinist, who studied with Miriam Fried and Lucy Chapman, is also the previous winner of the 2006 Johansen International Strings Competition in Washington, D.C., and the 2008 Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco. In addition, she and her NEC piano trio won the Silver Medal in this year’s Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.  Lark has been an NEC Concerto Competition winner and, as such, played the Walton Violin Concerto in 2010 with the NEC Symphony and Hugh Wolff, Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras.

Established in 1926, the Naumburg International Competition has been described by the New York Times as “in its quiet way, the most prestigious of them all.” The solo program, which rotates from year to year encompassing piano, violin, and voice, is administered by the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, directed by President Robert Mann. The foundation’s mission is to assist young gifted musicians in America through competitions and awards in solo and chamber music performance, composer recordings, conducting and commissions.

It was Walter Naumburg's firm belief that such competitions were not only for the benefit of new stars, but very much for those talented young artists who would become prime movers in the development of the highest standards of musical excellence throughout America.

Jubilant about her winning performance, Lark said, "One thing that is really exciting for me is the possible commissioning of new works for upcoming recitals, and also the potential for incorporating bluegrass and folk music into these performances which the directors at the Naumburg Foundation fully support and encourage- how cool is that?!"

About Tessa Lark

Tessa, born and raised in Kentucky, started playing violin at age 6, studying with Cathy McGlasson. At age 11, she began six years of violin studies with Kurt Sassmannshaus at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) through the Starling Preparatory String Project. Through June 2006, Tessa was concertmaster of the Starling Chamber Orchestra at CCM, toured southern China with it in 2001, performed with it at Aspen in 2002 and 2004, in Germany, Austria, and Russia in 2003, and in London in 2004. Tessa has also played with Narrow Road, a Kentucky Gospel Bluegrass Band. As a member of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, she was Assistant Concertmaster for the Concert Orchestra and a member of Symphony through spring 2002. She was also Concertmaster at the Foster Music Camp at Eastern Kentucky University, attended the Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp near Nashville in 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2006, attended the Aspen Music School on a New Horizon Fellowship in 2004, and was a scholarship student at the Great Wall Academy in 2005.
Tessa is featured in several online instructional and performance videos, and has performed twice on the public radio program, From The Top. She was a featured soloist at the Forbidden City Concert Hall with the Beijing Symphony, and was a featured soloist at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in November, 2005. Tessa performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra in 2006, the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Peninsula Symphony  in 2009, and the Tchaikovsky and Walton Violin Concertos with the Santa Cruz Symphony and NEC Symphony, respectively, in 2010.
During the summers of 2007 and 2008, Lark was performer in residence at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Music Festival, Chicago. In the summer of 2009, she performed in the finale week of Music in the Vineyards in California and was in residence at the Yellow Barn Music Festival in Vermont in 2009-11. 

In 2006, Tessa won First Place in the Johansen International Strings Competition in Washington, D.C., and in 2008, she won First Place at the Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco. She was the top American prize winner at the 2009 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand. She currently plays the 1675 Tononi violin on loan to her from the Steans Institute for Young Artists.

To read about past NEC winners of the Naumburg Competition, click here. For information about string training at NEC, click here.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115