Wesley Schulz, conductor
Tessa Lark, violin
Anna Clyne: Masquerade
Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto is a showstopping piece that vibrates with energy at the intersection of jazz and classical music, a fusion genre often referred to as “Third Stream.” A native of Kentucky and highly-acclaimed fiddler as well as a classical virtuoso, GRAMMY nominated violinist Tessa Lark is the perfect artist to bring this piece to Greenville. Fusion is where this violin luminary lives.
In addition to being written for a huge orchestra of around 90 musicians, Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique stands out for the full-on macabre it provokes. Inspired by the composer’s romantic obsession with a Shakespeare actress, this Gothic-style piece’s most obvious literary counterpart is the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
Wesley Schulz, Conductor
Widely recognized for his imaginative programming and spirited yet heartfelt music making with orchestras, Wesley Schulz’s conducting has been deemed “spectacular.” Wesley is Music Director and Conductor of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra (WA) and recently completed four successful seasons as the Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. In recent years Schulz has appeared with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Britt Festival Orchestra, Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, Waco Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, and many others across the United States. In the 22-23 season Schulz makes his conducting debut with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
Programs conducted by Schulz frequently include voices of our time. He has commissioned composers such as Tania León, Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Theofanidis as well as featured the works of composers such as Adam Schoenberg, Caroline Shaw, Jessica Meyer, Huang Ruo, Anna Clyne, John Adams and Viet Cuong. Across four seasons as Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, Schulz conducted over 200 performances in all genres including Masterworks, Pops, Friday Favorites, Holiday, Family and Education concerts. Schulz made his Masterworks debut, with hours’ notice, conducting Bernstein’s Serenade, with superstar violinist Philippe Quint, as well as Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. One reviewer wrote, “The North Carolina Symphony and Schulz definitely drew the utmost life out of Schubert.” Schulz has collaborated with Leslie Odom Jr., Pink Martini, Cirque de la Symphonie, Broadway By Request, Michael Cavanaugh and more.
As Music Director of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra, one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest regional orchestras, Schulz is committed to deepening the relationship between the symphony and the community. Recent projects include the implementation of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up programming benefiting over 1,600 local elementary students; the commissioning of Pulitzer Prize winning composer Tania León through NewMusic USA’s Amplifying Voices; and performances with The Guild Dance Company, Randall Goosby, Anton Nel and Bella Hristova.
The Auburn Symphony Orchestra was honored to be the featured orchestra at the American Guild of Organists National Convention in 2022 at Benaroya Hall in collaboration with organist Renée Anne Louprette.
When not on the podium, Schulz enjoys distance running, CrossFit, cooking and playing endless fetch with his two dogs, Chewbacca and Han Solo.
Guest Artist: Tessa Lark, Violinist
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. In 2020 she was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards: the special Hunt Family Award. Other recent honors include a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition.
She solos regularly with many of the major orchestras around the world, from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to Seattle Symphony, and has appeared in recital in such prestigious venues and series as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series in Weill Hall (2017).
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 – most notably SKY, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for Tessa by Michael Torke which earned both a GRAMMY nomination for Tessa and a Pulitzer finalist distinction for Torke.
Lark is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School. She plays a ca. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.