LARA ST. JOHN Biography - Musicians


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Name: Lara St. John                                                                 
Born: 15 April 1971                                                                 
Lara St. John (born on April 15, 1971 in London, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian     
violinist of Scottish origin.                                                       
St. John was born into a musical family. While her father taught French and         
Spanish and coached basketball at a high school in nearby Arva, her mother is a     
music teacher. Her older brother Scott is a professor of music at the University     
of Toronto and plays violin and viola.                                               
St. John started playing violin at the age of 2. When she was 5 she already had     
her first solo performance. At he age of 10 she had her first performance in         
Lisbon, two and three years later she toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary.   
Due to an Ontario law which permitted it, she was exempted from all school           
subjects except music. At the age of 14 she entered the Curtis Institute in         
Philadelphia. After graduating there three years later she wanted to enter the       
Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. While she was settling in, many teachers,       
including hers, were defecting and due to the conservatory's rules she couldn't     
study with any other teacher so she had a chance to travel around the former         
Soviet Union and Eastern European countries where she encountered the Roma           
people and their music. Her further musical academies include Guildhall School,     
United Kingdom, Mannes College of Music, New York and New England Conservatory       
in Boston. St. John was victorious at several competitions. In 1997 at a             
competition organized by the Canada Council for the Arts and an anonymous donor     
she won a two year use of Lyall Stradivarius dating from 1702. Now she performs     
on a Salabue Gudagnini from 1779, thanks to Heini & Co. from Toronto and an         
anonymous donor.                                                                     
St. John, a six-foot-tall (approx. 183 cm), long-haired beauty, appeared in some     
"shocking" photos. For the cover of her debut album, Bach Works for Violin Solo,     
released in 1996 and presenting works of her favourite composer, Johann             
Sebastian Bach, she posed feigning to be naked, with a violin covering her chest     
and looking much younger than she actually was. Although many felt the cover was     
more artistic than pornographic, many critics were shocked and paid much more       
attention to the cover instead to the music. The album sold 30,000 copies, a         
very high number for classical music. It will, of course, remain unknown how         
many copies were sold because of the cover and how many because of the music.       
The cover of her second album, Gypsy (reflecting her experiences travelling         
around Eastern Europe), was also the target of many critics although it was even     
more "decent" than the previous one. This time she posed wearing a leather           
jacket with nothing underneath. According to St. John's words, with the first       
cover she wanted to express there was nothing between her and her music, and         
that she also wanted to promote classical music among broader audience,             
especially young people.                                                             
Nevertheless, St. John has always taken the music very seriously; at all of her     
recitals she was dressed "appropriately" and apart from those two covers no         
other "shocking" photos were recorded. Besides that she was faithful to             
classical repertoire until 2003 when she signed a contract with Sony Classical       
and recorded her first crossover album Re: Bach.                                     
When not on tour, St. John lives in New York. According to her official web site     
she likes J. R. R. Tolkien, reptiles and the American Museum of Natural History.