Krista Bennion Feeney has enjoyed an unusually varied career much in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, music director, and concertmaster. Krista has been a member of the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble (serving for eight years as director of chamber music) and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s since 1983, where she performs frequently in the roles of concertmaster and violin soloist. 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, playing music of the late-18th and early-19th centuries on historic instruments with original instrumental configurations. From 1999-2006, she was the music director of the unconducted New Century Chamber Orchestra based in San Francisco.
She has made several solo appearances with the San Francisco Symphony (making her debut in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in e minor at age 15), with the St. Louis Symphony, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra in the world premiere of SolTierraLuna (a concerto written for her by Terry Riley), the Mostly Mozart Festival, and the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and at the Kennedy Center, in addition to several historic instrument ensembles.
Highlights of the 2016-2017 season included performances of Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin and American Gamelan, in which The New York Times review stated “…the violinist Krista Bennion Feeney spun out beguiling figurations and subtle melodic twists…” and Nardini’s e minor violin concerto and Paganini’s La Campanella on historic violin with the American Classical Orchestra. Of her performance in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, she was described by The Times as “…the superb violin soloist…”
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, comprised of the Loma Mar Quartet with the addition of bassist John Feeney, has released world-premiere recordings of string quartets and quintets of Domenico Dragonetti on historic instruments 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, and with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s for Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance performances. Krista studied violin with Anthony Doheny, then Isadore Tinkleman and Stuart Canin at the San Francisco Conservatory, working later at the Curtis Institute with Jaime Laredo, Felix Galimer and Mischa Schneider.
In May 2014, The Times praised Krista’s playing of a violin sonata by Jean-Marie Leclair 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.”