‘Stoked’ and ready: Violinist Lucia Micarelli brings her “homegrown show” to Chandler

By Sherry Jackson

Violinist Lucia Micarelli is bringing her “little homegrown show” as part of her first solo tour to Chandler Center for the Arts on October 20.

“It’s not a big production. It’s acoustic music and pared-down arrangements. If you hear three instruments, you see three instruments. It’s our little homegrown show,” says Micarelli, whose eclectic musical range features everything from classical to jazz to Americana to rock.

“I don’t know what it’s (the solo tour) going to be like in terms of the music. I’m hoping it means we won’t get tired of the program, as we really like the music. I like these people. These people are my family and loved ones, and we’re so excited to play this music with each other and for people. I’m just trying to conserve energy and focus on the goal and connect with people and be present. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share. We’re just stoked.”

Micarelli has toured with Josh Groban, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Chris Botti and had a starring role in HBO’s critically acclaimed series, Treme. She has three solo albums: Music from A Farther Room and Interlude and a live album just released in September. Micarelli was featured in a March PBS concert special. On stage, she’s an animated and emotional performer, captivating audiences.

Micarelli will be touring with a band that includes her husband of seven years, violinist Neel Hammond, violist Zach Dellinger, cellist Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, bassist Ian Walker and pianist Robert Thies. Micarelli says she’s excited about her tour, which has dates scheduled through November.

Micarelli is more than ready for a solo tour. She was born in Queens, New York, and has been playing violin since she was 3 years old. “My mom really wanted me to play music early. She wanted me to play piano, but I was too small for the piano. So, I started on violin, and I just took to it so quickly and loved it.”

The family moved to Hawaii when Micarelli was 5, and she continued practicing and performing there. At age 6, she made her debut as a soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. When she was 11, Micarelli was accepted into the prestigious Juilliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division.

“I was the big fish in a little pond (in Hawaii), and then suddenly I was a little fish in a big pond – and there were sharks,” Micarelli remarks. “I got to Juilliard, and there were kids even younger than me doing even more things.” The experience was great though, she says, especially being around people with the same dreams and ambitions. She maintains friendships she formed at Juilliard.

Micarelli says she doesn’t really have a favorite genre of music. “I love classical music because that’s what I grew up with.” But she’s also equally passionate about jazz, including “Nature Boy” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” which are included in her set list. She plans to finish each show with a strings rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”

“The intention or goal (of the show) is connection,” she says. “You want to be able to connect emotionally with people. There’s so much music that I really love and want to share. It’s really close to my heart and more personal.”

Micarelli’s acting gig came at a transformational time in her life. She was recovering from a serious hand injury when she got an audition call for Treme.

“I was (recuperating) and wondering if I could even play again when this opportunity came up. It was a way to try other skills and still play music. It was a very specific, very unique opportunity to play a musician and play music in the show. It seemed too incredible to be for real. All the music scenes were live. Nothing was prerecorded. It was just a cool, awesome experience.”

Micarelli says she’s open to other acting gigs and occasionally reads scripts and has an acting agent. In addition to Treme, she had a small part in an episode of the 2014 WGN TV series, Manhattan.

“When Treme is your first experience, it’s hard to follow up. I definitely loved it and have so much respect. It’s a lot like music – you can keep working on the craft and never master it. You just keep learning. But for now, I’m pretty happy playing music.”

After the solo tour, Micarelli says she hasn’t thought past the end of the year. “I just want to see how this tour goes and how people will respond.”

She has another studio album in the works that will be released “sometime next year.”

Micarelli is encouraged by fans who send messages saying they used to play an instrument when they were younger and were so inspired by her music that they plan to play again. “Music is such an awesome thing to have in life. It can bring a lot of comfort and joy and is something you can share and connect with friends and family.”