Tasmin Little is a versatile and appealing English violinist who
has left few musical stones unturned in her busy career. As a
concerto soloist, a recitalist, a chamber musician, and even as a
scholar and television producer, she has proved that her interests
know few boundaries, and, especially in England, she has become
something of a celebrity. Born in London in 1965, Little studied at
the Yehudi Menuhin School (where Nigel Kennedy was a classmate) and
the Guildhall School of Music, where she was a gold medal winner.
She later studied privately in Toronto with Lorand Fenyves. The
year 1988 marked two important debuts: a recital at London's
Purcell Room with the pianist Piers Lane (who has remained a
frequent chamber music partner), and her solo debut with the Hallé
Orchestra. During the 1990s, Little built a solid international
reputation, often working with Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle, Vladimir
Ashkenazy, Andrew Davis, and other renowned conductors, and
presenting unusually personable recitals in which she engages
directly with the audience in discussion of the music. During the
same period, Little began a prodigious recording career, appearing
on excellent issues from EMI, Chandos, Decca, Virgin, and Hyperion.
The real breadth of her repertory comes into focus when examining
her discography, which includes a range of concertos (Brahms,
Bruch, Delius, Dvorák, Lalo, Sibelius, Walton, and others); chamber
works by Debussy, Poulenc, and Ravel; and a variety of miniatures.
She has been particularly associated with the music of Frederick
Delius, about whom she produced a television documentary (BBC2's
The Works). She was awarded the Diapason d'Or for her recording of
Delius' sonatas, and the Delius Society published her scholarly
paper on the composer's Violin Concerto. Another documentary in
2008 followed her creation of The Naked Violin, a solo recital
program offered for free internet download. Her 2010 Chandos
recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto was named "Critics Choice"
at the 2011 Classics BRIT Awards. Appointment as Officer of the
Order of the British Empire followed in 2012, and Little's
recording career, centered on the Chandos label, continued without
flagging. In 2016 she released a triple-CD cycle of Beethoven's
violin-and-piano sonatas with Martin Roscoe, and she recorded music
from Strauss and Respighi to Ravel, as well as the violin favorite
The Lark Ascending of Ralph Vaughan Williams. She remained best
known for her performances of British music, and she was
well-positioned to take advantage of the rise in popularity of
tonal British repertoire. In 2015 she joined the Delius Suite for
violin and orchestra to the rare Violin Concerto in G minor, Op.
80, of African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and a
concerto by "light music" (or easy listening) composer Haydn Wood.
A fan favorite by the mid-2010s, she was also tapped for crossover
projects like A Violin for All Seasons (2016). Little has taught at
her alma mater, the Guildhall School of Music. In 2016 she was
granted honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music. ~ Allen
Schrott, James Manheim