The classical music world has its share of so-called "crossover artists," musicians with that certain something that takes them far beyond the world's most coveted concert halls. VOA's Doug Levine introduces us to one such artist who decided to take the musical road less-traveled.
Violinist Lucia Micarelli was on a path to becoming a classical music virtuoso. She won competitions, performed with a symphony orchestra and was accepted into the Julliard School of Music, all before the age of 12. But, at 17, Lucia reached a musical crossroads, and wondered whether to continue with her rigid classical training or try a new direction altogether.
"I totally thought I was going to be a classical violinist," she said. "I was on this certain task. I was at the right school and I was studying with the right teacher, and I'd been doing this and doing that, and then I was really interested in playing other kinds of music. For that and just for personal reasons, I felt like I maybe needed to take a little time away from the classical world and go out into the actual larger world of music and just see what would happen."
"I wanted to see what else was out there and I thought maybe a little bit of the outside world would be a good way to make the most of my actual college experience; to come back and then be able to know what I really needed to learn from conservatory after I'd seen what was in the world," she added. "But as it happened things took off and I just started working."
Lucia wasted no time finding work. Only 19 years old, she was invited to join a group described as "part-heavy metal, part classical, and part-Broadway, jazz and blues" - The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
"Somebody called me about this audition for this electric violin slot on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour, and I had never heard of them and I had never played electric [violin]," she said. "And I walked into this audition and there were are all these girls that just looked like rock stars in leather and studs and blue hair with their zebra-striped electric violins. And I'm [asking myself] 'What is going on?' So, I went in with an acoustic violin and played all their stuff and ended up getting the job."
"When I was in the classical world, moving around a lot was kind of frowned upon and it was like you were not being proper enough," she added. "[People remarked] 'Why are you wearing those outfits and why are you making those faces?' And 'Stand still and play in tune.' It's nice to step out of that and into a world where a little more personality is allowed and I can be more natural and not feel like I need to hold anything back."
Lucia Micarelli continues to test the waters. She recently released Music From A Farther Room, her debut album featuring music by Maurice Ravel, David Bowie, Rodgers and Hart, Jean Sibelius and Freddy Mercury.