KRISTA BENNION FEENEY
Krista Bennion Feeney, violin, has enjoyed an unusually varied career being much in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, music director, and concertmaster. She is the founding first violinist of the DNA Quintet, Loma Mar Quartet, and Ridge String Quartet (1979-1991), which, along with pianist Rudolf Firkusny, won the Diapason d'Or and a Grammy nomination in 1992 for an RCA recording of Dvorak's Piano Quintets. The DNA Quintet (the Loma Mar Quartet with the addition of bassist John Feeney), has released world premiere recordings of the string quartets and quintets of Domenico Dragonetti to critical and popular acclaim, bringing this uniquely beautiful music to light after being hidden for over 165 years in the British Library. The Loma Mar Quartet has also recorded original works written for the ensemble by Paul McCartney for EMI, and this past April its members were featured as soloists in Arnold Schoenberg's Concerto for Quartet and Orchestra with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
Krista is concertmaster of Orchestra of St. Luke's, and is currently involved in rediscovering and reviving a musical sound world from the past, as the founding first violinist of the Serenade Orchestra and Quartet. She has soloed several times with the San Francisco Symphony (debuting in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at age 15) and the St. Louis Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Mostly Mozart, and New York String Orchestra in both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She was the music director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra from 1999 to 2006. After hearing Krista perform Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor with St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, Opera News declared, “Krista Bennion Feeney gave an object lesson in presenting an expressive, unbuttoned Baroque singing line.”
Photo credit Paul Goode
Get to Know Krista
When did you begin playing your instrument and why?
My grandma, Alma Baum Lusk, taught all the kids in my family piano from a very early age. Around age five or six, I told my parents, “I want to play drums or violin because they are the easiest instruments to play.” My parents said, “Okay, you can play the violin.”
If you could meet any musician or composer, past or present, who would you choose?
Joseph Haydn. I imagine him to be like his music—full of warmth, humanity, profound feeling, and sly humor.
Where are we most likely to find you when you’re not playing music?
With a good book, hiking in the Hudson highlands, in my garden, at Blooming Hill Organic Farm, or in the kitchen.
Describe a perfect day in New York City.
It would start with an easy commute, followed by a positive and productive rehearsal—playing great music and feeling inspired. If a conductor were involved, he or she would be inspiring and know how to rehearse an orchestra. Going home, there’d be great jazz on the radio and no traffic.