Krista Bennion Feeney

Krista Bennion Feeney, violin, has enjoyed an unusually varied career, 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 Award nomination in 1992 for its 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 more than 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 its members were recently 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 has been a member of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble since 1983. She 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, specializing in music of the late 18th and 19th centuries with historic instrumental configurations.

She has soloed several times with the San Francisco Symphony (debuting in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at age 15), and with the St. Louis Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra (in the world premiere of SolTierraLuna, written for her by Terry Riley), Orchestra of St. Luke's, Mostly Mozart, and New York String Orchestra at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. During the 2014/2015 season, Krista performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the American Classical Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. From 1999-2006, she was the music director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

In May 2014, The New York Times praised Krista's playing with St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, saying: “Her deep notes were rich and melancholy ... there was a tender exuberance in both tumbles of notes and sustained phrases ... a dramatic interplay of ferocity and light slyness.”

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.