Concert Reviews & Articles

Her virtuoso command of the instrument was exciting, and her highly personal interpretation spoke from the heart, capturing immediate attention by her open, colorful artistry."

Winston-Salem Journal, September 13, 2015

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PORTEÑA EXHIBITION
"Certainly, none of our players have at their disposal quite the Guadagnini violin that St. John plays with such authentic delight and incontrovertible virtuosity..."

La Verdad, January 27, 2015

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TOP SCALE VIOLIN
"...she delivers exquisiteness and distinction thanks to the clarity of her doigté, impeccable bow technique and just intonation, reasons for which her interpretation borders on the extraordinary."

El Levante, Valencia, 23 January 2015

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"LARA ST JOHN MOVES THE AUDIENCE WITH HER VIOLIN IN EL PADILLA HALL" -"Expectations were fulfilled, and Lara St John fascinated the public with a memorable rendition of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Jean Sibelius. The public respectfully listened to this outstanding performance in total silence with Lara St. John who, violin in hand, tends to completely captivate."

Diario de Almería, Spain, 25 January 2014

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"A GREAT EVENING WITH LANO AND ST. JOHN - The interpretation by the Canadian violinist, Lara St. John confirmed that this artist is the feminine version of the genius, Nicolas Paganini, for she incorporates the three fundamental conditions of artistic genius: absolute technical mastery, a refined musical sense and the intensity to convey her interpretation with clarity and conviction...."

EL PAIS Uruguay - Julio César Huertas, September 19, 2013

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"CHAMBER MUSIC FRESH AND ENTERTAINING
The accomplished Canadian violinist Lara St. John, who has been described as volcanic, erupted on stage in a lightning speed, fiery performance..."

CoastReporter.com, August 23, 2013

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"Colorado Music Festival: St. John dazzles as Russian Fest Begins."

DailyCamera.com, July 18, 2013

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"Solo violinist, orchestra wow audience."

fenceviewer.com, March 4, 2013

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"Her greatest strength is that she has a desire to communicate something.  She reaches out and gets her message through.  She dramatizes the music in a way that is so convincing that as a listener you can’t escape her meaning."

www.nt.se (Swedish Review), February 1, 2013

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"St. John has a completely unorthodox approach to her instrument and I can only bow down to her consistent attitude, which was a mix of “all out” and “må det bära eller brista”! (which is a Swedish saying meaning give it all you’ve got even if you fail in the attempt) And yes – she gave it her all and it rocked and people listened."

www.nt.se (Swedish Review), February 1, 2013

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"Any reluctance to hear Vivaldi’s over-exposed music again was immediately dispelled by St. John’s mesmerizing intensity and highly individual interpretation, making the music sound new"

Raleigh News Observer, January 12, 2013

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"The most convincing interpretation came during the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, which Canadian soloist Lara St John played with quiet, rhetorical flair. One did not have to agree with her shaping to be held by the spell of such subtly charismatic playing and by the slight edginess that was its dominant characteristic, even in this concerto’s famously serene moments. "

Irishtimes.com October 9, 2012

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"Revisiting a Legendary Piazzolla Concert in Central Park "

New York Music Daily August 12, 2012

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"Lara St. John squeezes the soul out of a note or a melody - she's the Duane Allman of classical violin... She went to the emotional core of the music, communing with its fire and sweetness - as if she were Russian-born, this Canadian fiddler. Matching technical command with expressive freedom, she is a unique artist. "

www.mercurynews.com May 5, 2012

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St. John was particularly expressive in the Andante second movement. But her technical command and even bravado came to the fore in the final movement, a swift-paced four minutes of dazzling effects and virtuosity.

www.windsorstar.com March 11, 2012

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St. John played with the air of a rock star. You could see her widen her stance in preparation for each solo, bracing herself before delivering lines of jarring intensity
Her powerful performance alone was more than worth the price of admission, and the audience seemed to agree, giving her a standing ovation at intermission.

www.thestarphoenix.com Feb. 11, 2012

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St. John made this four-movement piece her own, with a commanding performance built up from long phrases piled one on the other.

TheGlobeAndMail.com January 30, 2012

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Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat. She is uninhibited, sometimes strikingly so.....But what makes her unique is the way she puts everything together. She has utter command of the material and the instrument. And she has seemingly utter spontaneity....

L.A. Times November 15th, 2011

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St. John transformed her violin into an instrument of compelling force as she lent her formidable skills to Matthew Hindson's Violin Concerto No. 1, "Australian Postcards."

vcstar.com November 17, 2011

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After hearing Lara St. John's West Coast premiere of the Violin Concerto No. 1 "Australian Postcards" by Matthew Hindson , I did something I rarely do upon hearing something for the very first time: I ran out at intermission and bought the recording.

Violinist.com November 14, 2011

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A small smile spread across Lara St. John’s face as she deftly maneuvered through the rapid gyrations in the final movement of Korngold’s Violin Concerto. She — and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra — seemed barely able to suppress the urge to dance.

Princeton Review Oct. 4 2011

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Lara St. John, the Canadian-born violin soloist featured at tonight’s Brott Festival concert, transported us to the tents and open fields of a gypsy camp.......We were stunned at her astounding abilities.

Ontario Arts Review Aug 11 2011

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Stay where there are songs.” It seems that Canadian violinist Lara St. John took that gypsy proverb to heart, spending three and a half months earlier this year concertizing throughout Australasia.

Hamilton, Ontario, August 4 2011

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Stay where there are songs.”The first of the Late Night at the Kildare series of concerts was very interesting, even down to the layout of the Kildare room. As well as rows of seats, there were tables around the room lending something of a club atmosphere to the show. The trio of performers, Lara St. John, Matt Herskowitz and Stephanie Cadman provided an interesting mix of Celtic and classical works. Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor (his final composition, from 1917) was very interesting, with some really fun-looking moments where Herskowitz was hammering away at the piano, as well as some more characteristically ‘Debussy’ phrases. After this piece, St. John and Herskowitz proceeded to play a piece written by Herskowitz, Freilach No. 19. Apparently the original snippet (from St John’s collection of eastern European and gypsy music) was a Silesian Yiddish tune. This rendition started off with a plaintive violin solo, then went through many changes, including (my terminology) the ‘piano goes mad’ section!

The main focus of the evening was the premiere of John Corigliano’s Stomp!. Corigliano introduced the piece, describing its commission for the Tchaikovsky competition and its roots in his preference for fiddle/bluegrass music. Corigliano explained that traditional fiddle music uses lots of open 5ths, so as a puzzle for the Tchaikovsky competitors, he had the top string tuned such that the interval would be a tritone, and the lower string changed by a minor 3rd (I think I wrote this down correctly!). The result, as played by St. John, had distinctly blues violin overtones in between more traditional sectons. St. John stomped along with the music – not dancing (that was Cadman’s role), just stomping. Apparently she made a DVD for Corigliano, which I hope will be repeated commercially soon as it was a great spectacle!

Equalling the excitement of Stomp! was the following piece, named Cape Breton Bourrée, performed by all 3 musicians. A lively number including Cadman playing the fiddle and dancing simultaneously, the piece had the audience clapping along and whooping at the end. The same goes for the final piece, a ‘strict transfer’ from a 78rpm hammer dulcimer recording of Ca la breaza, a Romanian gypsy tune.

Ottawa Citizen Blog, July 24, 2011

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St. John, for whom Pritsker wrote the Suite, brought the necessary intensity and abandon to the Slavic-inspired music.

Edmonton Solstice Festival review in American Record Guide, June 24-26 2011

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The applause went on for ages and she came back and treated us to an encore.

Auckland, New Zealand review June 3 2011

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In her hands the musical setting became elemental, tapping into a primeval earth energy that transformed the score into something much wilder and more engaging than a conservative recital.

Canberra Daily Times, May 16, 2011

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To start, violin soloist Lara St. John gave a magnetic, free-wheeling U.S. premiere performance to a triumphant, half-hour-long violin concerto by Australian composer Matthew Hindson...

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 19, 2011

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The violin soloist was Lara St. John, whose passionate and riveting performance made the temperature rise, regardless of the season.

Today's Zaman, February 4, 2011

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Violinist St. John's recital a style-crossing spectacular

Troy Times Union, November 18, 2010

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Violinist St. John probes music's layers

The Troy Daily Gazette, November 15, 2010

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Q&A with Lara St. John: Geek violinist

Time Out New York, August 3, 2010

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Big, Bold Solo Violin Battles Elements and Wins

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, August 2, 2010

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Lara St. John - A Little Skin, Lots of Violin

NPR, July 29, 2010

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Montreal Jazz Fest 2010: Matt Herskowitz at Upstairs

Montreal Gazette, July 5, 2010

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Violinist Lara St. John tests limits with 'Seasons'

PJ Star, June 6, 2010

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Her (St. John's) strong, authoritative yet subtle performance was astonishing in its breadth and variety...

Calgary Herald, May 28, 2010

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Classy Approach to Classical Marketing - Violinist St.John creates a stir with approach to image

Calgary Herald, May 27, 2010

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It's Hear and Now

Stephen Magazine, Spring 2010

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Violinist Lara St. John to Perform Vivaldi Masterpiece with South Florida Symphony

South Florida Gay News, April 19, 2010

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ASO's 'Seasons' offered a treat for ears, souls

The Daily Advertiser, February 5, 2010

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St John played with a freewheeling panache, slipping on and off the centre of notes as a singer might.

The Strad, January, 2010

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Much of the set was silly stuff, in a good way, and a reminder that musical comedy works best when the musicianship is first-rate.

New York Times, September 16, 2009

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Violinist Lara St John Keeps Herself Guessing

The Toronto Star, October 22, 2009

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An Ode to Australians Displaced by Atomic Testing

Strings Magazine, September 25, 2009

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Llewellyn seemed to know the tiniest corners of this gorgeously layered score, though the star of the evening was violinist Lara St. John, who played with such identification that you could momentarily convince yourself she was making it up on the spot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 23, 2009

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Mendelssohn-Fest bei der "styriarte"

Kronenzeitung, July 20, 2009

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Strahlendes Spotlight auf Mendelssohn

Graz Sonntag Kleine Zeitung, July 12, 2009

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A Brother and Sister Join to Perform in the Open Air

The New York Times, June 24, 2009

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St. John played it all with conviction, and from memory.

The Montreal Gazette, May 15, 2009

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St. John gave an intense and passionate performance of the work, eliciting fantastic sound from 1779 "Salabue" Gaudagnini violin on which she currently performs. St. John and the orchestra delivered the complicated Bartok concerto with all its depth, nuance and texture.

The Regina Leader Post, April 6, 2009

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Canadian violinist Lara St. John brought a heavy meal to the Barns At Wolf Trap last Friday evening and devoured it before our eyes. Playing with absolute security, and entirely from memory, she delivered the Beethoven 3rd and Bartok 2nd sonatas, the Schönberg Phantasy, a world premiere by Matthew Hindson, her own arrangement of the Liszt "Totentanz," and Ravel's finger-busting "Tzigane" -- a stunning feat.

The Washington Post, March 24, 2009

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Violinist, orchestra fling themselves into the universe with abandon

Sarasota Herald Tribune, February 2009

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She dominated the platform both physically and virtuosically, and put on a real performance...

THE STRAD, JANUARY 2009

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Lara St John really gave herself to the piece and produced as fine a performance as I have ever heard.

Seen and Heard International, November 2008

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Salute to Cerones brings volley of violinists

The Plain Dealer Music Critic, July 18, 2008

[Scott and Lara St. John] ventured through the technical thickets with blithe virtuosity...

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Lara St John & NAO - ‘in perfect synch’

Ontario Arts Review, July 16, 2008

The pyrotechniques of virtuoso violinist Lara St. John “steeled” the show last night at Steeltown’s Defasco Centre where her towering musical presence girded an amazing evening program of French music.

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Violinist wows with skill, charisma

Times Colonist, June 01, 2008

She played Bach with her eyes closed and body loose, as if in musical rapture. Only after the presto in the Partita did St. John pause to breathe: A deep guttural gasp that punctuated her seamless movement from ethereal pure tones to raucous, virtuosic thrashing.

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Violinist Lara St. John offered a breathtaking performance of the rarely heard Second Violin Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Arizona Daily Sun, February 24, 2008
St. John's personal style of complete physical engagement with the music elicited an explosive response from the audience...

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Violinist, conductor highlight superb MSO concert

Midland Daily News, February 4, 2008

Acclaimed violinist Lara St. John was superb as she displayed her mastery of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 at the Saturday night performance at the Midland Center for the Arts

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The passion of Lara St. John for classical music made her solo Bach recital memorable

The Gazette (Montreal), December 2007

Best concert of the year..."A close-to-symphonic tone, a personal way with a phrase: Such artistry defeats all questions of historical correctness," wrote I, struggling to deal specifically with playing that seemed global in impact.

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Suite proves to be perfect for violinist, symphony

With the violin as her voice, she commands our attention, and the music we hear is the music she would have us hear. Moments of 17th-century reflection are found alongside striking bursts of 20th-century modernism, and both come to our ears convincingly interpreted.

El Paso Times, October 20, 2007

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Leonard Bernstein comes alive at Civic Center

Guest violinist Lara St. John received something more than polite applause for her intense solo effort in "The Red Violin."...In some ways, this piece was perfect for this remarkable soloist...

PJStar.com, Sept 17, 2007

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Passionate St. John shows her mettle with violin concerto

The Buffalo News Entertainment, July 8, 2007

Lara St. John’s career blossomed in the 1990s, but it took some time for the press and the public to see beyond the statuesque violinist’s early, seductive press photos and to hear that she was actually a high-level artist.
Any remaining doubters should have been convinced Saturday by her performance of the dark and captivatingly lyrical Sibelius Violin Concerto, with good partnership by Franz and the BPO. It’s a work that often contrasts icy upper register serenity with precipitous descents into the violin’s brooding low end, all of which St. John negotiated with great technical skill and searing lyrical intensity.

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Violinist brings sensuous soul to exotic eve at orchestra

The Honolulu Star Bulletin, May 6, 2007

...Lara St. John lit sparkles from her 1779 "Salabue" Guadagnini violin with a teasing and witty attitude. I mean "attitude" in a dramatic sense. We could almost see St. John's defiant behavior in her dialogue with the orchestra, in particular when she accentuated her short statements. Her singular interpretation of Mozart's "Turkish" Concerto No. 5 combined Romantic affect and tremendous technical skills. With a mind of her own, she conveyed personality and a distinctive edginess.

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"Power and Glory"

Article by Arthur Kaptainis
Montreal Gazette, Feb. 24th, 2007

The Montreal High Lights Festival inaugurated its classical programming Thursday with Lara St. John, a violinist once known for her eye-popping cover art and aggressive style. That was the 1990s. The blonde playing Bach in the Bonsecours Chapel was a serious musician, and of the highest order.
A close-to-symphonic tone, a personal way with a phrase: Such artistry defeats all questions of historical correctness. If an interpretation that plumbs the depths and scales the heights of the famous Chaconne is not authentic, what is?
It was interesting to hear St. John project sustained notes without vibrato, not to attenuate the sound but to expand it. The fugue of the Sonata No. 3 was masterful both intellectually and technically. The double of the Courante from the Partita No. 1 was astonishing. What velocity and bravura!
St. John dedicated the Sonata to a friend whose death she learned of only that afternoon. Is this why the recital was so powerfully conceived and expressed? Only about 70 people were present, but they will not soon forget the experience.