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  • Welcome to TaraNovak.com!

    Tara Novak is a multi-genre acoustic and electric violinist and vocalist. In addition to being a dynamic solo performer, Tara is also an active composer, arranger, and orchestrator.

    Tara’s new single, “The Liberties,” is now released!! It is in the style of a traditional Irish air, jig, and reel, and has been orchestrated by Tara and David Wray. This track has been a long time coming – Tara recorded all the orchestral string parts over the course of 2 months in her livingroom!

Finding Neverland – the year of the (new) musical

Here I am…entering my 35th year…my “Presidential Year”…Yes, that’s right, folks. Be worried, I can now officially run for President of the United States!

More than that, it has been a year of a lot of unexpected twists and turns in work.  Lots of “business” work, unrelated to music, but still interesting and challenging.  Also lots of musicals.  In fact, I think this may have been THE Year of the Musical.

First show was “Midsummer Night” at the Modern Theatre with Suffolk University.  I played electric violin for this rock musical/opera adaptation of Shakespeare’s A MidSummer Night’s Dream.  As is typical on these types of shows, I was the only girl in the band, but that didn’t matter. The guys were all great players (mostly Berklee grads, like myself).  And the Musical Director was none other than the fantastic Scott Nicholas, whom I have worked with through the Tenors and my own projects – always a pleasure, sir!

Next was “The Weaver of Raveloe,” which was presented at the small blackbox theater space in Harvard Square called the Oberon. This was another new show, this time an adaptation of the novel “Silas Marner,” by George Eliot.  This was an ambitious work composed and written (lyrics and book) by Erica Glenn, much in the style of a dramatic musical, such as Les Miserables.  The cast were fantastic, and again the orchestra were eager and a pleasure to work with (although I certainly felt “older” in this pit than in Midsummer Night, where the band were age-wise my contemporaries!), and directed by the wonderful Sarah Houghton.

And, after these, came Finding Neverland.  And what an experience it has been, Finding Neverland!  I have been privileged enough to work with the best of the best in the musical theater world, including Diane Paulus, Mia Michaels, and of course Harvey Weinstein.  Do I get to work with this people individually? No – that is left to the actors and the production team.  But watching the way they work and how it influences the people around them has been truly fascinating.
More related to my work on this musical has been the music – written by UK pop star Gary Barlow and record producer Eliot Kennedy.  The musical supervisor is David Chase, whose ear is unmatchable.  The orchestrations are by Simon Hale, and are some of the most enjoyable parts I have seen written for any shows lately.  Every instrument in the pit has an engaging, musical part to play – not least, of course, my violin part! The playing styles range from English Baroque to Beatles to lush romanticism to 70s and 80s pop to pirate tango (yes!!) to slightly surreal…46 shows into this run, and I haven’t gotten bored yet!
At the helm, leading our musical madness is Mary-Mitchell Campbell.  Again, I have learned so much just watching her leadership skills – ah, yes, honey catches much more flies than vinegar!  Not only is she a world class musician and conductor, she is also patient and understanding, a pleasure to be around – oh, and she runs an amazing global charity called ASTEP.  Yes, musicians, take heed – you can run an organization AND still play music! (To the top level, nonetheless!)

So…29 more shows to go, then it is onto the next musical wilderness.
However, that wilderness – at least for a few months – will be more of my own making.  Time for Tara to start writing some new material again!  Ciaran and I have a few concerts in September, October, and November (which I will be posting about soon) – and I want some new repertoire for those.  I also have some ideas brimming around the back of my head for a possible new album…time to tease out some of those ideas!

Apologies for the long, blathering blog post – it has been too long since I updated this, and there was much to share (and much I have missed as well).
A Very Happy Autumn to you all, and hope to see you soon at a show or concert!

A Simple Life…

One of the greatest pleasures of moving (and, boy, I’ve done a lot of that!) has been having the opportunity to meet many people around the world, many of whom I may not have crossed paths with otherwise.
In January 2012, when I returned to Berklee, I needed to take some Classical theory classes as part of my degree requirements.  Even though I had taken these classes at UMKC (13 years earlier!), I decided to not test out of these classes.  Who doesn’t need a brush-up on the rules of chorale writing and counterpoint, let alone all those crazy Augmented 6 chords?!?  Because of that decision, I ended up having a class with the amazing guitarist, classical composer, and film director Apostolos Paraskevas as my professor.

Two years later, Apostolos has become a very dear friend – to both me, and my husband Ciaran.  Apostolos performed his first solo recital of his own repertoire this past week at Berklee College of Music.  There is a long back-story as to why he had not been performing, but to summarize, both life and physical injuries had gotten in the way.  Overcoming giant obstacles (and having been told that he would never play again), Apostolos heroically took on the challenge of this recital – and asked Ciaran and I to perform on it with him.

The link below is to a beautiful guitar and violin duet by Apostolos – “A Simple Life and Some Tea, Please…” – performed by the pair of us last week, Feb 12, 2014, at the David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee College of Music.
I hope that you, the listener, enjoy it – but I hope even more that there will be many more opportunities to make music with this amazing artist!

Ciaran & Tara in Concert – Philadelphia

Once again, Ciaran and I are performing a duo concert – accompanied by the amazing Scott Nicholas on piano.

We performed a similar concert in Chelmsford, MA, in November, and enjoyed so much working together in this intimate recital setting that we are both very excited to have the opportunity to do it again!

See the poster below for more information about the concert, and for ticket information.

March 9th – The Philadelphia Oratory – Flyer

Bill Whelan Inishlacken – 1st Mvmt Video

I was lucky enough to be asked to perform this wonderful piece “Inishlacken” written by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan last April at the Berklee Performance Center, with the fantastic fiddler Zoe Conway, whom the piece was first written for.

The music is a glorious combination of the exuberance and haunting beauty of the Ireland’s landscape and music, paired with lush string accompaniment and long classical line.  Working with Bill Whelan was wonderful – he was gracious and open about his music, but also very clear about his musical intentions.

This is a concert that I have the opportunity to do again someday, but in the mean time, I hope you enjoy the video of the first movement of “Inishlacken”!

Ciaran and Tara in Chelmsford on Nov 2

Ciarán and I will be performing near to Boston in our first ever full-length concert performance! OK, OK, it isn’t our “first ever full-length concert performance,” but it IS our first full-length concert performance without either two other Tenors or a band in tow!

This is just Ciarán and I, accompanied by the world-class Scott Nicholas on piano.  The concert is to raise money for the wonderful local group, the Concord Women’s Chorus.  Whether you want to support the local community, or just warm your heart on a cold November evening with some beautiful Irish music, please join us at 7pm on Nov 2!