Haydn’s The Clock
Julius Williams makes his BPO conducting debut leading Haydn’s exuberant “The Clock” symphony and expressive violinist Tessa Lark’s performances of Dvořák’s Romance and Ravel’s Tzigane. The program also features the turn-of-the-century Rhapsodic Overture of Edmund Thornton Jenkins, and the inspirational Moments of Arrival by Elena Roussanova.
Julius P. Williams, conductor
Tessa Lark, violin
JENKINS Rhapsodic Overture
DVOŘÁK Romance in F minor for Violin and Orchestra
RAVEL Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra
ELENA ROUSSANOVA Moments of Arrival
I. Moving Forward
III. The Moment of Arrival
HAYDN Symphony No. 101 in D major, “The Clock”
I. Adagio – Presto
III. Menuet: Allegretto
IV. Finale: Vivace
About Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time, consistently praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance. A budding superstar in the classical realm, in 2020 she was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category. She is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky, delighting audiences with programming that includes Appalachian and bluegrass music and inspiring composers to write for her.
Following a busy summer that saw her perform with NY’s Carnegie Hall Citywide, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, and the Ravinia Festival, among many others, highlights of Lark’s 2023-24 season include the world premiere of Carlos Izcaray’s Violin Concerto – written for her – under the composer’s baton with the Alabama Symphony; and concerts with the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, marking both her European orchestral debut and her first performances of Gang Chen and Zhanhao He’s Violin Concerto, “Butterfly Lovers.” She reprises Michael Torke’s violin concerto, Sky – also written for her, and the 2020 recording of which earned her a Grammy nomination – with Oklahoma’s Signature Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra; returns to South Carolina’s Greenville Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, and England’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and performs as a chamber musician in duos with double bassist Michael Thurber and jazz guitarist Frank Vignola.
Lark’s newest album, The Stradgrass Sessions, released in spring 2023, features an all-star roster of collaborators and composers including double bassist Edgar Meyer, pianist Jon Batiste, mandolinist Sierra Hull, and fiddler Michael Cleveland. Album selections mix original compositions by Lark and her collaborators with a sonata by Eugène Ysaÿe, a selection of Bartók’s violin duets arranged for violin and mandolin, and the world premiere recording of John Corigliano’s STOMP.
The violinist has performed with orchestras and at recital venues and festivals around the world. She has appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; the Louisville Orchestra; and the Albany, Indianapolis, Knoxville and Seattle Symphonies; as well as being presented by Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Music Center at Strathmore, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Cal Performances, San Francisco Performances, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Australia’s Musica Viva Festival, and the Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, and Bridgehampton summer festivals.
Lark’s debut commercial recording was the Grammy-nominated Sky, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for her by Michael Torke and performed with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Her discography also includes Fantasy on First Hand Records: fantasias by Schubert, Telemann and Fritz Kreisler; Ravel’s Tzigane; and Lark’s own composition, Appalachian Fantasy. Invention, marking the debut album for the violin-bass duo of Lark and her fiancé, Michael Thurber, comprises arrangements of Two-Part Inventions by J. S. Bach along with original compositions by both duo partners. A live recording of Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires was released in 2021 by the BPO in honor of Piazzolla’s centenary.
Lark is a recipient of the Hunt Family Award, one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards, as well as a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. She was Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition.
In addition to her performance schedule, Lark was recently named Artistic Director of Musical Masterworks, a chamber music presenter in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She champions young aspiring artists and supports the next generation of musicians through her work as Co-host/Creative of NPR’s From the Top, the premier radio showcase for the nation’s most talented young musicians. She also serves as Mentor and board member of the Irving M. Klein International Strings Competition.
Lark is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Ida Kavafian, and Daniel Phillips. Her primary mentors include Cathy McGlasson, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Miriam Fried, and Lucy Chapman. She plays a c. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
About Julius Williams
Julius P. Williams is an award-winning conductor, composer, recording artist, educator, author, and pianist. Named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals of the Year for 2022, his career has taken him from his native New York to musical venues across the globe, and has involved virtually every musical genre. He has conducted American orchestras in Dallas, Oakland, New Haven, New Jersey, Vermont, Knoxville, Sacramento, Tulsa, Savannah, and more, in addition to the Harlem Symphony, Color of Music Festival Orchestra, and New Works Orchestra. Career highlights include debuting at Carnegie Hall with the Symphony Saintpaulia; serving as Music Director of the Washington Symphony (1998-2003); and conducting the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by Anthony Davis, The Central Park Five, premiering and preparing the work for Trilogy: An Opera Company (New Jersey). Williams’ other past positions include Artistic Director of the Costa del Sol Music Festival in Spain, and Artistic Director of the School of Choral Studies at the NY State Summer School of the Arts for ten seasons.
Williams is currently Artistic Director of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, and Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, as well as Music Director and conductor of Trilogy: An Opera Company. He is the immediate past president of the International Conductors Guild, and Co-Chair of the League of American Orchestras’ Conductors Constituency. In the past, Williams served as Assistant Conductor to Lukas Foss, former BPO Music Director, with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Symphony in NY. Recently, Williams conducted on tour with the Oberlin Conservatory Opera and the Cleveland Opera Theater, receiving rave reviews for performances of Nkeiru Okoye’s opera, Harriet Tubman. He was a guest conductor with the One World Festival Orchestra in Virginia, and conducted a Gala performance with the Dallas Symphony at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters’ Riverfest Jazz Festival. In 2021, he conducted the score for the Academy Award-eligible film, Sky Blossom. This past season included conducting the Color of Music Festival Orchestra in Sacramento, and the concert series at Boston’s Isabella Gardner Museum. In Europe, Williams has performed and recorded with numerous esteemed symphonies. He has also been featured on national television, profiled on CBS News’ Sunday Morning.
A prolific composer, Williams has created works for virtually every genre of contemporary classical performance, including opera, ballet, orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus and solo voice, dance, musical theatre, and film. His music has been performed by countless orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and Boston Pops. He has also served as Composer-in- Residence of Connecticut’s Nutmeg Ballet Company, which premiered his ballet, Cinderella. His opera, Guinevere, was performed at the Aspen Music Festival and at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in Croatia. He composed the score for the film, What Color is Love?, and also scored the theatrical production to In Dahomey. Additionally, Williams has served as a composer with the Boston Symphony’s Composer-In-Residence Project, and as cover conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. His recordings are on the Albany, Centaur, Naxos and Videmus record labels. In 2024, two new albums of orchestral music will be released on the Albany record label.
In addition to his conducting and composing careers, Williams maintains a demanding schedule of speaking engagements, consulting, and academics. Williams is the recipient of many awards for musical and academic achievement: an Honorary Doctorate from Keene State College in New Hampshire, the Detroit Symphony’s Emerging Composer Award, the Gracie Allen Documentary Award, the Distinguished Medal of Artistic Achievement from the Ecuador Youth Symphony Orchestra Foundation, the Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award from Langston University, the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award, proclamations from the mayor and council of Newark for artistic contributions in 2023, the National Culture of the Arts Award from the Association of Foreign Language Teachers of NY, and various ASCAP awards in composition for the past forty years.