Lara St. John will feature a program of music from Eastern Europe that she has collected through the years. She met the exceptional Curtis trained classical and jazz pianist Matt Herskowitz several years ago and he proved a catalyst to her idea that some of this significant collection of melodies was worth reimagining for the concert stage. 

In this program titled Lavuta, which is the Romani word for Violin, Lara combined her knowledge of melodies with composers she knew and respected and the project was born. It includes songs from Armenia, Palestine, the Jewish Diaspora, Russia, Macedonia, Serbia, Greece, Romania and Hungary and a recording of these works is due to be released on Lara’s own label, Ancalagon, next fall.

Some are fully written, some are partly improvised and the amount of technical prowess, soul, and excitement is dazzling.

The violinist and the pianist are both superb artists, with monster chops and nomads’ souls, and both attack whatever they’re playing with diabolical abandon.
— Ottawa Citizen