Tessa Lark, violin
Violinist Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time, consistently praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance. In 2020 she was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards: the special Hunt Family Award. Other recent honors include a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition.
She solos regularly with many of the major orchestras around the world, from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to Seattle Symphony, and has appeared in recital in such prestigious venues and series as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series in Weill Hall (2017).
She is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky, delighting audiences with programming that includes Appalachian and bluegrass music and inspiring composers to write for her – most notably SKY, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for Tessa by Michael Torke which earned both a GRAMMY nomination for Tessa and a Pulitzer finalist distinction for Torke.
Lark is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School. She plays a ca. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
Michael Thurber, bass
Songwriter/Bassist/Producer Michael Thurber is a singular artist who’s career defies category. Whether composing scores for The Royal Shakespeare Company, playing bass in The Late Show With Stephen Colbert house band, scoring commercials for Vanity Fair and BBC, or co-founding the hit YouTube channel CDZA (30 million views), Thurber has been guided by Duke Ellington’s principal: There are only two types of music – good and bad. Make the good kind.
As a Theater lyricist/composer, Michael made his international debut scoring Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Oscar winner Tarell McCraney. He has scored numerous Public Theater productions, including Shakespeare In The Park’s Merry Wives, Romeo Y Julieta starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Richard II starring André Holland. Michael’s musical GODDESS recieved its world premiere at Berkeley Rep in the fall of 2022. It will play next in the spring of ’23 at D.C.’s Shakespeare Theater Company.
As a bassist, Michael has performed with James Taylor, Willie Nelson, Chris Thile, Lianne La Havis, Cee Lo Green, Yo Yo Ma, The Zombies, Lin Manuel Miranda, Jon Batiste, and many others. Currently he tours the world in a Duo with Grammy-Nominated Violinist Tessa Lark.
As a producer, Thurber’s career began in 2012 when he co-founded CDZA, a YouTube channel with 30 Million views. CDZA was a headliner at the first ever YouTube Music Awards alongside Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem and MIA. Michael has produced/co-written records in the R&B, Indie, Jazz and Classical spaces, including Downbeat Magazine’s Critic Pick Alma Oscura. Most recently, Michael has been releasing singles under his own name.
Michael studied music at Juilliard and The Interlochen Arts Academy.
Charles Overton, harp
Equally at home in an orchestra or in a jazz club, it is the goal of Boston-based harpist Charles Overton regardless of the genre of music, to create a musical environment that is accessible, exciting and can resonate deeply with any audience. He began his harp studies at the age of ten under the direction of Lynelle Ediger, where as a member of her “American Youth Harp Ensemble” he was afforded the opportunity at an early age to perform internationally in notable venues such as the Salle Gaveaux in Paris and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. In 2009 Charles went on to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy to further his musical development and studied with Joan Raeburn Holland. During his matriculation at Interlochen Charles fine tuned his performance and competition skills. Of note during this time Charles was a prizewinner in the Young Artist Harp Competition as well as placing twice as a finalist for the Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition.
Originally from Richmond, VA Charles moved to Boston in 2012 to attend the Berklee College of Music where he was the first harpist to be accepted to Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute – a prestigious and highly specialized program at the school in which students are able to study and work intimately with master jazz artists such as Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, and Terri-Lynn Carrington. In Boston, Charles was able to continue his study of classical music as well as pursue his interest in jazz, improvisation and other genres of music. Charles studied with Jessica Zhou principal harpist of the BSO and Felice Pomeranz jazz harp professor at Berklee. Charles successfully competed in the 2013 American Harp Society National Competition where he was a finalist. In his Senior year, Charles performed his Senior recital as a featured act at one of Boston’s premiere jazz clubs at the time, “Scullers” jazz club. That performance was the formal beginning of what has become known as the Charles Overton Group. Charles and the group went into the studio several months after his graduation from Berklee where they worked on and released their very first album, Convergence in July of 2017. Also while in school, he attended summer music festivals such as the Pacific Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Castleton Festival.
Since graduating in 2016, Charles has quickly been making a name for Himself. Over the course of his musical career, Charles has continuously expanded his musicianship by sharing the stage with other artists. Charles has continued to perform all genres of music and has shared the stage with various groups, artists and orchestras. Charles, when not teaching, looks forward to performing with as many different artists as possible. As a jazz musician he has played in festivals abroad like the Harpes au Max festival in Ancenis, while locally frequenting jazz series like Jazz at Indian Hill, and Mandorla Music’s Dot Jazz Series. As a classical musician, he appears frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with Boston-based ensembles the Walden Chamber Players, and Collage New Music, as well as at the Marlboro Music Festival. His most recent concerts are : Harvard-Epworth Church Concert ( February 17, 2022), Boston Landmarks Orchestra (February 26, 2022), Music From Grove (March 6, 2022), The Blue Journal Tour with Ester Wiesnerova in which Charles participated and contributed musically in launching their debut album with 11 original compositions comprised of 5 highly-talented International artists. (May 20-30, 2022), The Yellowbarn Concert Series (July 19 to August 6, 2022), Orpheus Chamber Concert (August 13, 2022), The Memorial Concert for Stephen Sondheim with Keith Lockart (Conductor), Nikki Renée Daniels, Conrad Ricamora and Emily Skinner (Vocalists), and Alton Fitzgerald White (Violinist) ( August 19, 2022), The BSO Tanglewood Concert Series; John Williams’s 90th Birthday Celebration (August 20, 2022), BSO Tanglewood concert with renowned conductor, Michael Tilson (August 27, 2022). To top it all, Charles was a part of the Experiential orchestra that won a Grammy in 2021 for the Ethyl Smyth piece. Charles, a musician, composer and educator who currently serves on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee will continue to grow his musicianship, keeping his feet grounded while soaring high for his dreams and passion.