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From Tangoing (in Canada) to "Klessons," Violinist St. John Brings World to CR, IC

copyright Paul Clancy


This weekend, the innovative violinist Lara St. John is performing Astor Piazzolla's  The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires  with Orchestra Iowa.  And yesterday she released an irresistible new CD of pieces inspired by music of Eastern Europe, titled ShiksaShe spoke to me about: why she chose that title; how the word has lost its offensiveness since the heyday of Philip Roth and has taken on a positive meaning; how a "random Canadian" could grow up surrounded by Piazzolla's tango-infused music; and how, after studying at the Moscow Conservatory, she traveled around Eastern Europe learning musical styles. Her exploration of that repertory has never ceased - for example, for the last few years she's been taking lessons in Klezmer violin, which she calls her "Klessons." I began the conversation by praising her recent Mozart and Bach CDs on her private label Ancalagon (she told me she named it after a toy dragon of her childhood). Here's an excerpt from our conversation!:

Barney Sherman is a Senior Music Producer and Classical Music Host