Q&A: Bach Meets Bluegrass

Concert violinist Tessa Lark and composer/bassist Michael Thurber will take the stage at Irvine Barclay Theatre on May 14, delivering a unique musical synthesis that blends classical precision with Americana zest.

We asked Lark about their upcoming show.

What’s your creative process?

Michael and I grew up listening to and dissecting excellent music of many different styles, so there’s not always a conscious ‘melding’ of styles when we write; we’re just making music that resonates with our musical experiences, which is all you can do, anyway, if you’re going about it honestly.

What makes your partnership work so well?

It felt so exciting and fruitful to meet another musician with unusually similar backgrounds of classical training and improvised American styles. At the same time, we both diverge in enough ways, musically speaking, that one can bring elements into the fold that the other one can’t.

What can we expect at your upcoming show?

We’ll play most of the music from our album, ‘Invention,’ which is all about Bach and how his musical influence shows up seemingly everywhere. Our tune ‘Tumble Time’ may be the most on the nose in that way. We may have named it after a washer-dryer machine setting, but as fun as the music sounds when you hear it, Michael took a lot of care to write the piece with a counterpoint that would receive an A+ from Bach himself.

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