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Charleston Symphony performs Strum

Saturday, February 8 20257:30pm EDT
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Charleston Symphony
(843) 723-7528
Gaillard Center
95 Calhoun St
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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In a program infused with artistically flowing themes, internationally renowned conductor Michael Francis and violinist Tessa Lark will join the CSO. Montgomery’s rhythmic Strum, Tchaikovsky’s remarkable Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ calming The Oceanides, and Claude Debussy’s inspired La mer will leave you awash with awe at the ever-changing whims of nature and humankind.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Debussy’s La mer

Tessa Lark, recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, is a celebrated violinist who can deftly navigate genres, from the traditional fiddling of her native Kentucky to the expansive orchestral music repertoire. Her virtuosic talent will shine on the performance of Tchaikovsky’s first and only Violin Concerto.

Early critic’s reviews of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto were decidedly unflattering, but time has been favorable to the piece, and it is now considered to be one of the finest and most beloved works of the violin canon. Its moments of melodic tenderness, much adored by listeners, are balanced with its intimidating difficulty to perform, which is admired by both audiences and soloists alike. Tchaikovsky’s musical prowess resulted in his lasting fame as the most popular Russian composer and at times during the Violin Concerto he brilliantly incorporates his national folk music through the featured instrument.



  • Tessa Lark embodies joy in music making. She is a real master of our art …” — JOHN CORIGLIANO
  • Lark plays a ca. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
  • Maestro Michael Francis is the Music Director of the Florida Orchestra and the Mainly Mozart Music Festival.
  • Jean Sibelius composed The Oceanides for an American commission and it premiered during the Finnish composer’s visit to the U.S. in 1914.
  • Claude Debussy expressed admiration for “my old friend, the sea; it is always endless and beautiful. It is really the thing in nature which best puts you in your place.”


Jessie Montgomery
Strum for string orchestra


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Violin Concerto in D Major


Jean Sibelius
The Oceanides, Op. 73


Claude Debussy
La mer (The Sea)




Michael Francis, conductor
Tessa Lark, violin