Michael Schachter’s Cycle of Life
Performed by Knoxville Symphony Orchestra with Tessa Lark
Visitors to the Knoxville Museum of Art will likely recognize the title of Michael Schachter’s violin concerto Cycle of Life. The orchestral work, which got its pandemic-delayed world premiere in April of 2022 by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, took its name and creative inspiration from the beloved Richard Jolley steel and glass dynamo of the same name, which has thrilled art lovers since it was installed in 2014. The rousing piece, featuring soloist Tessa Lark, features video accompaniment that gives the listener a visual reference for the music.
In his ArtsKnoxville review of the premiere Alan Sherrod wrote, “Schachter’s concerto is a big, complex, and impressive work of conversation between the violinist—beautifully rendered here with some thrilling virtuosity by violinist Tessa Lark—and the orchestra led by Maestro Demirjian. Through the seven movements, one felt an analog push and pull of emotions created by musical textures and tonalities that ran the gamut from dissonant angles and bent pitches to strangely comfortable textural references of Americana music such as bluegrass and folksy dance-like rhythms.”
Commissioned by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, this encore performance is under the baton of KSO’s music director Aram Demirjian.