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VC INTERVIEW | VC Artists Tessa Lark & Stella Chen - 2020 Lincoln Center Awards for Emerging Artists

VC recently caught up with 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award recipients, VC Artists Tessa Lark and Stella Chen

The Violin Channel recently caught up 2020 Lincoln Center Awards for the Emerging Artists recipients, VC Artists Tessa Lark and Stella Chen.

The annual prizes, to be awarded on the 26th of February in New York City, honour outstanding artistry and serve to acknowledge the promising future of selected performers within the 11 resident organizations of the Lincoln Center.


Stella, congratulations! How does it feel to receive this prestigious honor?

"It was a such a wonderful surprise to be honored by Juilliard and Lincoln Center - a place I've been called home for four years now.

I remember learning that Augustin Hadelich was a recipient a few years back, and he's a huge inspiration and personal hero of mine ... to follow in his footsteps is a huge honor!"


And Tessa, also, congratulations on this award. How does it feel?

"It feels exciting, validating and invigorating ... I am so inspired to show my gratitude for this award by giving back through music as much as I possibly can"


Stella, you’ve had a breakthrough last 12 months. How has your life changed since winning the Queen Elisabeth Competition, in Brussels, last May? And what opportunities has it brought to you?

"I've had the opportunity to perform in some beautiful venues with some incredibly inspirational musicians all over the world.

The competition gave me exposure and the privilege of sharing my passion for music with a global audience over the last 9 months, for which I'm extremely grateful.

At heart, though, I'm still the same music lover and Schubert fanatic ..."


Tessa, with this $7,500 bursary to be used towards career advancement and ongoing study opportunities, how will you use your grant? 

"I’ll use the award funds to complete 'Stradgrass', a recording project I’m planning to release this fall.

This CD is incredibly meaningful to me - it explores the deep influence of folk music through Classical and Americana traditions and includes collaborations with American artists like Jon Batiste and Edgar Meyer - and this Emerging Artist Award will bring the finish line for Stradgrass into view!"


And Stella, How about you? How will you use your bursary?

"I will probably spend it towards the purchase of a new bow!"


Stella, your award this year was nominated by The Juilliard School, where you are a current Doctoral student, how has Juilliard contributed to your development?

"Being in a fully-funded and stipended program in the middle of New York City has been invaluable.

I've gotten to work with musical luminaries and pedagogues and am surrounded by inspiring colleagues of all disciplines.

I've also made some really meaningful friendships that I hope to keep for a lifetime!"


And Tessa, you were nominated this year by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as the recipient of the prestigious ‘Hunt Family’ Award. What does this mean to you to be recognised by the esteemed establishment?

"My musical inclinations, though established via the classical lane, have been difficult to categorize which has often led me to feel very self-conscious.

To receive this recognition from Lincoln Center BECAUSE of my stylistic fluidity - not in spite of it - means everything to me, and it also has beautiful implications beyond my own musical life.

I hope that LC’s recognition of artists pursuing less traditional paths will encourage fellow artists to embrace their creative truths and to feel confident that they can be seen and recognized when following their unique vision"


Stella, what are you most looking forward to in your 2020 calendar?

"As cliche as it may sound, my next performance is always the performance I'm most looking forward to.

In a couple of days I'm returning to Harvard, my alma mater, to play the Beethoven Concerto with Federico Cortese. I went on tour with them to Israel and Jordan in 2013 with the same concerto, so it's bringing back really special memories.

I'm also really excited to play with the Chicago Symphony for the first time, as well as first trips to Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands"


Tessa, what are you most looking forward to in your 2020 calendar?

"It’s hard to say - the completion of the Stradgrass recording is exciting, and receiving this award along with a GRAMMY nod earlier this year are certainly highlights, too - but I simply look forward to a full calendar and to collaborations that will inspire me well beyond 2020"


Stella, where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

"I just hope to be making music that I love with people that I love in places that I love!

One thing I can say for sure is that beyond exciting musical engagements, I will be happy if my life includes performing, teaching, and adventures like figure skating and going to NCT concerts with friends"


And Tessa, where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

"Generally speaking: I will always love performing so that’s definitely in the 5-year vision along with more composing, more bringing different musical communities and styles together, and more time with/championing young artists"


This year's other 9 recipients of 2020 Lincoln Center Awards for the Emerging Artists are: director Lileana Blain-Cruz, mezzo-soprano singer Emily D’Angelo, dancer Ruby Lister, clarinetist Sebastian Manz, tumpet player Riley Mulherkar, filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu, dancer Unity Phelan, composer Ellen Reid and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper.

The prizes will be presented at a private ceremony at the Lincoln Center in New York City on Wednesday 26th of February.


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