Critic’s Choice

By David Fleshler

Lara St. John. Photo: Twain Newhart

The typical violin recital trods a well-worn path—two or three standard sonatas, a virtuoso showpiece or two, a couple of encores.

The Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John, who performs this weekend at Gusman Hall for the Sunday Afternoons of Music series, throws most of that out. Although her concert begins with César Franck’s Violin Sonata—a work that appears on too many programs—she follows it with music few veteran concertgoers would recognize. All the rest of the works are by living composers, including two world premieres.

The program includes John Corigliano’s Stomp, written for St. John and inspired by American bluegrass and jazz (and requiring, per the title, the soloist to stomp her foot to the music). The rest of the concert consists of a tour of southern and eastern Europe, with music drawn from the folk traditions of the Balkans, Spain, Greece and Romania. She will perform Five Ladino Songs, a work for solo violin written for St. John by the American composer David Ludwig, based on the melodies of Spanish Jews. She will play the world premiere of Two Greek Songs by John Psathas, a composer born in New Zealand to Greek parents. There will also be arrangements of traditional melodies from Serbia and Romania, including the world premiere of the Serbian-inspired Song of the Moon by her piano accompanist Martin Kennedy.

St. John performs 4 p.m. Sunday at the University of Miami’s Gusman Hall. For those living further north, she will perform the same program March 27 at Stuart’s Lyric Theatre.

For tickets, go to or call 305-271-7150.

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Wed Mar 6, 2013
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