The Famous Violinist on Music Inspirations, Acting, and What it’s Like to See Her Show

“My mom made me do it,” Lucia Micarelli says, laughing.

Micarelli is referring to when her mother started her in violin lessons when she was around age 3. At the time, her hands were too small to play the piano, so violin it was.

“I was so little, I don’t really remember starting at all, but if I try to remember my earliest memories of the violin at 5 or 6, I was already pretty serious. At 6, I was already like, ‘I’m going to be a violinist!’ So, it wasn’t my idea to start, but I knew pretty quickly,” she says.

The family had moved to Hawaii from New York when Micarelli was 6, but when she was 11, they moved back so that Micarelli could attend Julliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division, taking lessons from greats such as Itzhak Perlman and Won-Bin Yim.

“I really always did love it and did always feel like it was my thing,” she says.

Micarelli was completely dedicated to classical music, both playing it and listening to it—until she began college at the Manhattan School of Music.

“A friend—who was a classical cellist—made me a mix CD and it had Miles Davis, but it also had Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I’d never heard any of that stuff and I was just fascinated by the jazz. When I think back my reaction to the classic rock was pretty ‘teenage boy.’ I just wanted to play those big guitar solos. But I learned them on the violin.”

Branching out, she began briefly playing with both jazz and rock bands around New York during that time.

Eventually, those experiences helped shape her music of today, helping her understand styles beyond just classical, as well as how music is interconnected.

“I look back now and realize that was an important step for me. Now I do all types of styles, and a big part of my voice is presenting lots of different genres and kinds of music, and presenting them all together as a well-balanced meal instead of doing a more traditional classical recital-type program,” she says.

Her unique sound now draws fans from around the world, and her career has included touring with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a featured violinist and concertmaster, being a featured soloist in two of Josh Groban’s world tours, touring with Chris Botti and being featured in his Live From Boston PBS special, touring with Jethro Tull, and being featured in Barbra Streisand’s 2013  international tour. She also has two solo albums, a blend of classical pieces and pop songs.

Oh—and she is also an actress, playing Annie, a musician, on HBO’s critically acclaimed series Treme, a show that won both a Peabody Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.

“It was life-changing, in a way,” she says of her first acting role and four seasons on the show (2010-2013). “It was exciting to learn something about acting. During that time, I also grew a lot musically.”

Her role also called for singing, something she says she may have never thought about trying if she hadn’t been required to.

“Now, singing is a part of my show.”

This month, Micarelli will return to once again perform at Chandler Center for the Arts.

“I’m excited to collaborate with the audience and hopefully we’ll have a special night,” she says. “It always moves me a lot that people are still seeking those kinds of experiences [seeing live music], and I really respect it and don’t take that lightly, so I’m always trying to make something special together.

“If you come to my show, it’s like you’re coming over my house and having dinner and listening to a playlist of my favorite songs.”