Most of the time, a soloist performing with an orchestra enters the stage and takes a brief bow right before the musicmaking begins. At the Knoxville Symphony’s April world premiere of Michael Schachter’s violin concerto “Cycle of Life,” Tessa Lark began the performance seated among the musicians and was only revealed as soloist in the second movement, appropriately named “Emergence,” when she stood up and slowly walked from within the violin section to the front of the stage at the Tennessee Theatre. (The work’s movements are “Primordial,” “Emergence,” “Flight,” “Desire,” “Tree of Life,” “Contemplation,” and “Sky.”) Music Director Aram Demirjian led the performance, which also featured Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. The Schachter concerto—planned for 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic—was commissioned by the KSO, with support from the Knoxville Museum of Art and individual donors. The inspiration behind the piece comes from Richard Jolley’s glass-and-steel installation at the Knoxville Museum of Art called “Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity.”   

Caption: Tessa Lark emerged from within the violin section in the second movement of the Knoxville Symphony’s world premiere of Michael Schachter’s “Cycle of Life” concerto. Photo by Trianne Newbrey.