Internationally acclaimed violinist Marissa Licata discusses her eclectic type and her return to NYC’s Birdland

Following her profitable headliner debut at NYC’s legendary Birdland in September 2021, violin sensation Marissa Licata returns along with her Quartet (Licata on violin, Michael Aarons on guitar, Martin Doykin on bass, and Shannon Ford on drums), joined by particular visitor vocalist Aury Krebs, on Sunday, March 27, for 2 extra performances of Strings on Fireplace within the Birdland Theater.

Marissa Licata. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

Along with being an internationally famend classically educated musician in orchestral and chamber music, the versatile artist has been a vibrant presence on the rock music scene, touring and recording with the likes of Jethro Tull, Ringo Starr, Alicia Keys, Gloria Estefan, Wyclef Jean, H.E.R., and different main pop stars. Along with her signature aptitude, Licata additionally mixes in folks music and wild gypsy rhythms from across the globe and, since 2018, has even expanded into musical theater, becoming a member of the American Repertory Theater as violinist and concertmistress for the pre-Broadway run of the Alanis Morrisette musical Jagged Little Tablet and taking part in with the orchestra at NYC’s Radio Metropolis Music Corridor for the 2018 Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes.

She has since returned to A.R.T. as concertmistress for the musical Moby-Dick, written by Tony-nominee Dave Malloy and directed by Tony-winner Rachel Chavkin, and might be again at A.R.T. later this 12 months for the extremely anticipated manufacturing of 1776, directed by Jeffrey L. Web page and Diane Paulus.

Marissa was variety sufficient to make a while in her schedule to reply questions on her profession and her music prematurely of the upcoming reveals at Birdland.

Marissa Licata. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

What’s your first inventive reminiscence as a toddler? At what age do you know you wished to change into an expert musician?

Marissa: My first inventive reminiscence as a toddler was taking part in at my first recital. I began with the Suzuki Methodology in group classes. I’d go each Saturday and, taking part in with my group, would study new easy items for a number of months. After which it got here time for the recital! All the college students enrolled in this system, from newcomers to superior gamers – largely youngsters starting from ages 3-13 or 14, and even grownup college students – everybody participated within the recital. Those that knew essentially the most superior items from Guide 6 would begin the live performance, and little by little, increasingly college students would take part because the items grew to become simpler. By the tip of the live performance, everybody was collectively in taking part in the very first piece from Guide 1. Think about one thing like 50 or 60 violinists all taking part in “Twinkle, Twinkle.” The flooring and partitions shook with resonance, and I keep in mind being part of that highly effective sound.

That was my first inventive reminiscence. I used to be 4. Someplace in me, I’m positive I knew even then that I wished to be an expert musician. At 11, although, is once I made the choice myself and once I felt a shift in my mind that assured me I used to be meant to do that.

Most individuals don’t essentially affiliate the violin with rock music. How did you develop out of your classical coaching into that style?

The transition to rock music discovered me, really. I actually wouldn’t have even essentially thought that violin would match someplace into rock, however Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull referred to as the New England Conservatory of Music once I was doing my undergrad diploma. He was going to be holding auditions for a US tour and wanted violins. I used to be aware of improvising and knew find out how to belief my ears from years of listening to all kinds of music, by no means only one style. That, together with the classical approach I had, gave me all the arrogance to know I might play something, be versatile, and adapt rapidly inside any type. So, I auditioned and bought the lead violin spot! It was Ian’s orchestral rock imaginative and prescient, nevertheless, that confirmed me how violin may very well be convincing, entertaining, and discover a voice of its personal inside rock.

Marissa Licata. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

What impressed and knowledgeable your eclectic mixture of world music from a wide range of cultures?

I grew up listening to every kind of music. I keep in mind my father taking part in salsa and merengue for me as a 3-year-old. In the future it was that; one other day it was Coltrane after which Cannonball, after which Ornette tunes. After which Handel’s “Messiah” the subsequent day. I distinctly keep in mind the day he placed on a klezmer LP for me; I used to be about 4 or 5. I liked it, and all of the observe bends. There wasn’t an thought of “superior music” or “she’s not sufficiently old but to know this piece or this tune.” It was performed, and I used to be uncovered to all kinds of greatness from earlier than I can keep in mind, and I absorbed all of it in the way in which I used to be in a position to on the time. It grew to become a part of me although, and as I stored listening by myself by the years as I bought older, it shaped my musical tastes and sound and story.

Is there one second in your profession that stands out as essentially the most thrilling expertise you’ve needed to date?

After I joined Jethro Tull for my third tour, I used to be a featured soloist. It was a summer time enviornment tour, so we had heat climate and big out of doors levels. We have been taking part in on the Jones Seashore amphitheater, and I keep in mind searching into the 20,000+ viewers throughout my solo for Bach’s “Bourée,” as this wavy inexperienced strobe gentle went over the group. I used to be completely acutely aware of each second and actually tried to have a look at particular person folks on the market. As the sunshine went over the entire house, I spotted I couldn’t see most likely even 1 / 4 of the screaming viewers, however I wished to maneuver each single soul in there. In my thoughts I believed, “This isn’t a dream. That is me up right here, proper now, and they’re all listening to what it’s important to say by the music, so imply what you say, and play each observe prefer it’s your final.”

What do you take pleasure in most about performing as Birdland?

Birdland has change into like dwelling, particularly after my debut present success. I really feel like I will be free and open to lose myself within the music, in a very great way. There may be a lot assist and inspiring vitality, so all that issues is creating the moments for a transferring expertise. That’s not at all times the sensation on each stage. It’s true about Birdland!

Many thanks, Marissa, for giving our readers a preview of the live performance and a few background in your music.

Marissa Licata Quartet: Strings on Fireplace performs on Sunday, March 27, at 7 and 9:30 pm, on the Birdland Theater, downstairs at Birdland Jazz Membership, 315 W. 44th Avenue, NYC. For reservations (priced at $20 for bar seating, $30 for desk seating, plus charges and a $20 per particular person meals and beverage minimal), name (212) 581-3080, or go on-line. In compliance with COVID-19 security protocol, Birdland requires proof of vaccination or a verified medical exemption from all clients, workers, and performers.

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