Playing for love: Lucia Micarelli puts the music first


By John Wirt | Special to The Advocate

If Lucia Micarelli followed the conventional path for classical music virtuosos, she’d be playing violin concertos in the world’s great concert halls. The strict musical regimen she experienced until she was 17 dictated that would be her fate.

Raised in New York and Hawaii, Micarelli began music studies at age 3. She performed as a soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra when she was 6. And she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music’s pre-college division at 11.

Micarelli didn’t even listen to nonclassical music until she left Juilliard to attend the Manhattan School of Music.

“I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but classical music,” the violinist, singer and actress said in advance of her Sunday concert at the Manship Theatre. “But then I went to college. I heard Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, (John) Coltrane and Miles Davis, all in the same week. I was like, ‘Whaa-aat?’ I thought this stuff was so out there. And, like every teenaged boy, I wanted to play every Led Zeppelin guitar solo, but on the violin.”

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” is now part of Micarelli’s eclectic repertoire. The violinist’s latest album, taken from her PBS special, “An Evening with Lucia Micarelli,” includes the rock classic as well as the jazz standard “Nature Boy”; old-time fiddle tune “Ladies Fancy”; and classical pieces by Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saëns and Samuel Barber. Micarelli also performs “This City,” a song composed by Steve Earle, the Texas singer-songwriter Micarelli co-starred with on “Treme,” the HBO series set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. At the Manship Theatre, Micarelli will be joined her touring group, which includes a second violinist, viola, cello, bass, guitar and piano.

Obviously, the variety set Micarelli performs is a big departure from classical concerts and recitals. That doesn’t mean she’s abandoned her training.

“I am a classical violinist,” she said. “I enjoy playing and attending classical concerts. But I’m so musically curious that I don’t want to present a purely classical show now.”

Living and working in New Orleans while she played Annie Talarico in “Treme” greatly expanded Micarelli’s musicianship. Before that experience she hadn’t done much improvising or known about the kaleidoscope of music played in New Orleans.

“Before ‘Treme,’ I thought New Orleans music was a genre,” she said. “I didn’t know about traditional jazz and Cajun music. I’d never heard of zydeco. As time goes by, I realize more and more what a formative experience that was for me.”

David Simon, executive producer and co-creator of “Treme,” threw the first-time actor into her role as Annie.

“When I got to New Orleans,” she said, “David asked me, ‘Have you ever played trad?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ ”

Simon informed Micarelli she’d be filming a scene with the Jazz Vipers in a few days. He suggested she prep for it by attending a Jazz Vipers’ show at The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street. When Micarelli went to the show, the Vipers invited her to join them on stage.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do!’ ” she recalled. “They said, ‘It’s OK. Let’s just play music.’ ”

Micarelli’s first try at sitting in with the Jazz Vipers was a disaster, she said. “After the set, I was so apologetic. Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you sit in with us again tomorrow night? It can only get better.’ ”

By the time they shot the scene for “Treme,” Micarelli was able to play some solos and make it work, “all because of the Jazz Vipers’ generosity,” she said. “I found that generosity over and over in New Orleans. People taught me stuff. They were so willing to help.”

In addition to playing musical styles she’d never performed before, Micarelli made her singing debut on “Treme.” Now, during her genre-crossing concerts, she especially loves singing “This City.”

“The song encapsulates so much of New Orleans and how I feel about that city,” she said. “I sing ‘This City’ because I love that song so much and I’m so moved by it.”

At least for now, Micarelli plans to play only music she loves.

“This is what I want to share with people,” she said.




Young violinist, singer, and actress Lucia Micarelli will release her debut live album ‘An Evening With Lucia Micarelli’ on September 28, distributed by the Arts Music division at Warner Music Group.  The physical version of the album will be released October 5.  Lucia attended the Juilliard School from the age of 11, where she studied with the legendary pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. She later continued her studies with Pinchas Zukerman at the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed with a host of musical superstars and also had a leading role in HBO's series "Treme," about post-Katrina New Orleans. Her tremendous 2018 includes this live album release and a major U.S. fall headlining tour.  ‘An Evening With Lucia Micarelli’ features 16 songs, culled from a live concert PBS special that has been viewed by millions since it began airing nationwide last spring.  Lucia is also featured on the cover of Strings Magazine’s September issue.  

Lucia is an animated, emotional performer, and an insatiable listener who selected a wildly diverse setlist for this concert.  She gracefully segues from the exploratory works of Ravel, like his “Sonata for Violin and Cello,” to beloved jazz standards like “Nature Boy” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”  Also included are works by French composer Camille Saint-Saens and Samuel Barber.  Lucia sets the mood quickly with opener “Ladies Fancy,” a gripping, full-throttle old-time fiddle tune that she and her band shine on.  “This City” is an Americana love letter that her co-star Steve Earle wrote for the city of New Orleans and performed on ‘Treme,’ while Lucia closes down the show with fireworks - a strings rendition of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”


Watch a clip of Lucia performing “Nature Boy” from the PBS special here:

Watch a teaser for the full PBS special here:


The album was recorded on June 3, 2017 at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA.  Lucia’s ensemble includes one additional violinist, a violist, two cellists, piano, bass, guitar, drums, and percussion.  The PBS version of ‘An Evening With Lucia Micarelli’ has been airing since March, broadcast over 400 times in over 110 markets in that month alone.  The concert film also tells Lucia’s inspiring story, in which she overcame a terrible accident that almost ended her career.  

Lucia says she has very few memories without a violin in her hand, and was performing with symphony orchestras by age 6.  She has been a featured soloist in two of Josh Groban’s world tours. She toured extensively with Chris Botti and was featured in his “Live From Boston” PBS special, as well as Barbra Streisand’s 2013 international tour.  She has released two solo albums, “Music From A Farther Room” and “Interlude.” 



  1. 1. Ladies Fancy

  2. 2. Fratres

  3. 3. Gabriel’s Oboe

  4. 4. This City

  5. 5. Sonata For Violin And Cello, Second Movement

  6. 6. Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso In A Minor, Op. 28

  7. 7. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

  8. 8. Tzigane

  9. 9. Someone To Watch Over Me

  10. 10. Time After Time

  11. 11. Will O' The Wisp (From 'El Amor Brujo')

  12. 12. Sonata For Violin And Piano

  13. 13. Adagio For Strings

  14. 14. Nature Boy

  15. 15. Violin Concerto In D Minor, Op. 47

  16. 16. Kashmir



September 23 – Baton Rouge, LA – Manship Theatre

September 26 – Atlanta GA – Variety Playhouse

September 28 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse

September 29 – Tampa, FL – Ferguson Hall - Straz Center

October 4 – Orange, CA – Music Center at Chapman University

October 6 – Escondido, CA – California Center for the Arts

October 9 – Columbus, OH – Lincoln Theatre

October 10 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre

October 11 – Cleveland, OH – Ohio Theatre

October 12 – Chicago, IL – Park West

October 13 – Milwaukee, WI – Wilson Theater at Bogel Hall

October 14 – St. Paul, MN – Fitzgerald Theater

October 20 – Chandler, AZ – Chandler Center for the Arts

October 26 – Santa Monica, CA – Broad Stage

October 28 – Medford, OR – Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts

October 29 – Seattle, WA – Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall - Benaroya Hall

October 30 – Portland, OR – Alberta Rose Theatre

November 7 – Boston, MA – The Wilbur

November 8 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount

November 9 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theater

November 10 – New York, NY – Concert Hall at the NY Society for Ethical Culture

November 17 – Arlington, TX – Arlington Music Hall






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One of the nicest reviews by a fan ever!

Name: Karin Faulkner

Subject: Lucia Micarelli @ Mendocino Music Festival !!

Oh My ! Susan & Allan,

I'm still on the Lucia Micarelli cloud today.  Liz bought the CD last night and loaned it to me this morning.  It's wonderful (and with pics and vids from her website it really comes alive).  It also reminds me, in its absence, how much her patter delighted us all last night.  Has anyone ever-anywhere heard the still musically relevant music of a 17th C folksong described thus, "It was written, played and shared  and I guess it went viral! " with a shrug of her shoulders in a long, tight one-shouldered gown?

She included a meaningful and touching anecdote about her aged father, unable to speak due to Parkinson's and thus locked up in frustration. During a visit, to which she had brought her violin, they discovered he could sing all the words and melody of songs she played. Teared up, she played and sang his favorite, "Time After Time" and was slightly tearful afterward, and allowed herself a moment to finish her tears with a bit of apology to the audience - who replied with soft applause. 

She introduced her viola player's attributes which included 'He gives TED talks. I mean he's a guy who gives TED talks. You should check this out !" And went on to introduce her violinist, a chamber musician, composer, arranger and more, then saying " ... and he has this strong guy and softness thing going which I think is sexy - so I married him. I am so lucky. I married him !"  more applause.  

Introduced a Saint-Sans piece which followed a Ravel, "This is another sassy French one."

She shared with us all late in the program, as stagehands moved several chairs off the stage, as they had been coming and going between pieces, "I just feel so terrible that they have to carry so many chairs around al the time for us" giggles from the audience, "No, I mean it. This makes me feel so sad" with a big gesture of her bow  in the direction the chairs had gone.

You guys,  I've been quite a purist about my adoration of Classical music with big bold capital C. Mourned its diminuendo in MMF's program, while easily understanding the necessity to bring in a wider audience to survive.  Lucia's performance is a compelling bridge. I doubt there are more musicians of her calibre, fire, artistic daring and rarer still, accessible human tenderness.  The love and respect and big smiles flowed between Lucia and her group as beautifully and genuinely as the music.

During the bows she took during a long-lasting standing ovation she said, "You guys are so great !  Mendocino is amazing. I'd love to live here."  I'm sure I'm not the only local who was there last night musing today on how blissful that would be for all of us.

Thanks for bringing her to Mendocino,

I'm already eager to see/hear her in next year's program,

Love to you both,

Karin Faulkner



Las Vegas Magazine

MARCH 16, 2018


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 …

Read the full interview at





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.