Violinist Micarelli readies for Park City return
Park City Institute’s St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Summer Concert Series continues with violinist Lucia Micarelli and cellist Joshua Brown at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5, at City Park. Tickets are $49 and $89. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org.
Violinist Lucia Micarelli has a special connection with Park City.
The first time she played a full solo concert was in the Eccles Center in early 2015 for the Park City Institute’s Main Stage series. She returned five months later to play during the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Funky Meters.
“I really have a soft spot in my heart for the town,” she said.
Micarelli’s next Park City concert will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5, at City Park. Cellist Josh Brown will also perform that night.
“The running joke in the band is that we only play really beautiful places,” Micarelli said. “We were just up in Northern California to play Stanford’s Bing Hall, which was just renovated, and we played at the Mendocino Music Festival, which was like heaven on earth. And now we’re coming to Park City.”
When Micarelli programs a solo concert, she doesn’t try to think of herself as carrying the full evening on her shoulders.
“That would terrify me, and I would feel the crushing weight of that responsibility,” she laughed. “So I like to rely heavily on the other musicians, and it has a lot to do with collaboration and rehearsals.”
One reason for the collabortaions is because the violinist just doesn’t play classical music. She is well versed in jazz, rock and pop.
“I have such a wide range of musical genres I want to share with the audience, so I have to find musicians who have more knowledge than I do in these areas in order to bring the best level I can bring musically to the audience,” she said. “I also want to work with people to push me and stretch me. That way I can keep growing and the show can be as diverse as it can.”
Two of the songs she’s known for are her instrumental covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In order for Micarelli to learn songs such as these, she need to have an emotional connection with the notes.
“I don’t want to play something just because I need to fill out another five minutes,” she said. “I also don’t want to play something because it’s really popular at the time.”
Micarelli said the whole point of performing live is to create a connection with the audience and musicians.
“We want to find that moment in time when we are all connected in this one place together,” she said. “I find it difficult to be vulnerable and emotional as I need to be to make these connections when I don’t feel that close to the music.”
Micarelli couldn’t explain what attracts her to some pieces and not to others.
“I just know when I hear or play it because it will really moves me,” she said. “I’ll find that I can work on it and play it and play it and play it.”
On the other hand, Micarelli knows when a song gets stale.
“If there is a piece that gets to the point where it’s not as engaging for me personally, I won’t play it anymore, because if I’m a little distant from something that I play, there is no chance in Hell of convincing the audience to like it,” she said.
Throughout her career, Micarelli has performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand and Chris Botti.
Last year, the violinist hit another milestone — her first PBS special, “An Evening With Lucia Micarelli,” which is now available on DVD.
Recording the concert at Hahn Hall at Music Academy West in Santa Barbara, California was surreal, she said.
“I felt like I was only halfway in my body,” she said.
Micarelli appreciated the audience members’ patience during the concert, which took longer than usual to perform.
“When a concert is usually an hour and a half, it will take three hours to film because the crew has to reset their equipment for each song,” she said.
Micarelli really processed the magnitude of the event during the PBS pledge drive when she was visiting different stations to promote the DVD.
“I would stop and realize that everybody has watched PBS in one point of their lives,” she said. “It wasn’t that I thought everyone was watching me, but more like me taking a step back and thinking about what PBS meant to the country. And then I would think about what PBS meant to families. And then I would think about what PBS meant to musicians.”
Then Micarelli started to think about how PBS touched her own life, after moving from New York to Hawaii when she was five.
“I have so many memories of watching people like Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic on PBS,” she said. “I remember sitting in front of the TV and watching ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ and thinking, ‘maybe I can do that one day.’”
Talking with some of her musician friends after recording the PBS special, Micarelli saw a trend.
“There is a subliminal PBS current that runs through the entire arts community,” she said. “It became common to hear that my friends wanted to start playing cello after watching Yo-Yo Ma on ‘Sesame Street’ or seeing someone on ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.’ So to be a very, very tiny part of that cultural community is so exciting and overwhelming. It’s such an honor for me.”
Micarelli even started crying when she saw the PBS logo on her DVD.
“I got emotional because when whenever I saw the logo in the past, it was always associated with one of my idols,” she said.
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