Las Vegas Magazine
BY MATT KELEMEN
MARCH 16, 2018
Q&A: LUCIA MICARELLI
Violinist Lucia Micarelli established herself in the classical music world before age 21 by serving as concertmaster for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then Josh Groban. She subsequently toured with Jethro Tull and Chris Botti before being cast in the HBO series Treme, which led to her absorbing an eclectic range of musical styles. Micarelli spoke with Las Vegas Magazine’s Matt Kelemen about blending classical music and classic rock, and the practice of practicing. She performs at the Smith Center on March 22-23.
How do you maintain your skills at this stage? Do you practice scales when you can, or set aside time when your schedule doesn’t include rehearsing for shows?
Oh, yeah, I set aside time every day. I still … what is it like to practice at this point? It’s still just as hard as it ever was. There’s just endless work to do. You can always refine things and make it better. And also it’s not something where just because you get the information in, it necessarily stays. Every day is different. You’re still doing something physically. It is physical, mostly. It’s a physical craft, so if you skip a day or skip two days, or skip a week, it’s probably the same as if you were an athlete and skipped training for a week. When you come back you don’t have as good of a time, your lungs aren’t working as well (laughs). It’s still a commitment every day, and it’s, uh … it’s my sacred time. I’m pretty crazy about it.
I imagine you can take yourself into some pretty amazing places with all of the musical directions you’ve explored.
(Laughs) That’s very nice of you. I am trying to do the music that I love justice. I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve met so many incredible people and have kind of been exposed to a lot of different styles of things, so therefore have fallen in love with a lot of different styles of music. I’m in no means an expert in any of those areas, so there’s plenty to practice for, you know? Whether it’s working on technique and virtuosity in classical stuff, or just trying to have a more refined interpretation, or more nuance in my sound in jazz stuff, there’s always things that I’m trying to get better at and still try to refine. I do think that part of what keeps it interesting is that I play so many different kinds of music now, so I’ve always got something to practice. And there’s always something that doesn’t sound quite right to me, so …
An Evening with Lucia Micarelli - coming to a PBS station near you!
Thirteen WNET New York - March 3rd at 7pm
Arizona PBS - March 3rd at 7pm
Vegas PBS - March 3rd at 9pm
WGBH in Boston - March 4th at 3:30pm
KQED in San Francisco - March 5th at 8pm
ATL PBS in Atlanta - March 7th at 7pm
WOSU Public Media in Columbus - March 8th at 10pm
Milwaukee PBS - March 11th at 6:30pm
TPT - Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis - March 12th at 8:30pm
WPBT2 South Florida PBS - March 12th at 8pm
WTTW - Chicago PBS - March 13th at 7:30pm
PBS SoCal - March 13th at 9pm
Detroit Public Television - March 15th at 8pm
WEDU Public Media in Tampa - March 16th at 9pm
WHYY in Philadelphia - March 18th at 8pm
And many many more! Check out your local listing and support your local PBS station!
Dates and times subject to change without notice. Check local listings. ***
Lucia Micarelli grew up on classical music. She’s since devoured jazz, pop and rock.
BY ED CONDRAN, Correspondent - The News & Observer
January 26, 2018 04:35 PM
After Lucia Micarelli won a violin competition while coming of age in New York, she headed off to Sizzler to celebrate.
“That was my reward, and I would order the steak and baked potato and just live it up,” Micarelli recalls with a laugh. “It was the coolest thing for a kid. It was what I lived for.”
And what happened when Micarelli, 34, failed to take first place? “It was back to the practice room for me,” she says.
Endless practice sessions paid off for Micarelli, who has become an acclaimed violinist with an esteemed resume. Micarelli, who will perform Friday at the Cary Arts Center, has made a name for herself as a solo recording artist.
But before she struck out on her own, the musician, who is of Korean and Italian heritage, toured with Chris Botti, Josh Groban and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame.
“All of those guys were amazing with me,” Micarelli says. “It continued my education.”
Her first big break was a gig with Trans-Siberian Orchestra a decade ago.
“That was my first experience with a massive show,” Micarelli says, calling from her Los Angeles home. “I remember when I got the job, they asked if I had an electric violin and I didn’t. They made one specifically for me. The big rock thing that TSO does was alien to me at that time, but it worked out well. Rock was so new to me.”
Micarelli, who grew up strictly on classical, devoured other styles of music as she became an adult, including jazz, pop and rock.
“I remember the first time I heard jazz in a New York club, and I was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ I was just blown away,” she says. “Then I immersed myself in classic rock with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. It was super cool. But I grew up so much after being with TSO and being exposed to many cool styles of music for the first time.”
Micarelli’s horizons were broadened by her plum gig as an actress in David Simon’s acclaimed HBO drama “Treme,” which ran from 2010 to 2013.
“There was nothing like that show,” Micarelli says. “I improved dramatically as an entertainer because of that experience. David cast me as a street musician. I was part of telling the real story of what Hurricane Katrina was like for New Orleans. David was so in love with New Orleans, and I benefited from that experience.”
She sat in with New Orleans street musicians and met Cajun fiddle players. She met Steve Earle, too, a musician she admired.
“I got to play with him, which was awesome,” she said. “Steve pushed me to write a song. I’m so indebted to him. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. I learned so much about music, and I fell in love with a unique city.”
Her solo albums have included compelling versions of such classics as David Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“An Evening With Lucia Micarelli,” which was filmed in Santa Barbara, Calif., last summer, will air on PBS in March. “That was amazing,” Micarelli says. “How often does a musician get a night like that on PBS?”
Even though Micarelli has been playing many different styles of music, she still reaches back for classical.
“I do it for my mother,” Micarelli says. “When I was doing ‘Treme,’ I wasn’t playing classical. My mom would ask, ‘What’s up with that?’ One episode I worked out that I played some (Felix) Mendelssohn. I told my mom that it was for her.
“I put all of my heart and soul into classical when I was a child. It wasn’t an easy childhood. When other kids were out playing, I was practicing indoors. But if I didn’t work so hard, I wouldn’t be doing this today. So now those kids are adults working inside and I’m out playing all around the world with my violin, thanks to my parents.”
Violinist Lucia Micarelli on coming back after injury, performing in Santa Barbara
Audiences all over the world were mesmerized by her playing, playing with everyone from Josh Groban to Jethro Tull. Then on July 4, 2009, one slip put the whole thing in jeopardy.
Lucia Micarelli: An Evening with Lucia Micarelli
Violinist and actress Lucia Micarelli visits The Treatment to discuss her emotive performances as she prepares for PBS' An Evening with Lucia Micarelli.
Check out some highlights from Lucia's last solo show...
Watch Lucia record a virtuosic solo for the League of Legends soundtrack in this fantastic documentary - "Frequencies - The Music of League of Legends". (Find her around the 28 minute mark!)
Lucia guest-stars in Episode 10 of "Manhattan" (WGN), playing Annie Liao, the wife of an accused spy. Set in 1943 at the time of the Manhattan Project, the critically acclaimed series follows a sequestered group of physicists in Los Alamos racing to develop the first atomic bombs during World War II.
Lucia attended the 2014 Emmy Awards in support of HBO's "Treme", nominated for Best Miniseries and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries.
Lucia was featured on the cover of Strings Magazine! Click above to read the article.
"Emmys: Love for the Longest of Shots" - A lovely article by Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter. Click above to read.