St. John signs Sony deal

JAMES REANEY

, Last Updated: 2:39 AM ET

Courtesy of her new deal with the Sony Classical label, former London violinist Lara St. John is recording with the brother of film superstars Ralph and Joe Fiennes.

The exclusive deal with the huge international label was announced yesterday. It puts St. John on the same roster as such classical music stars as Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams and Charlotte Church.

"Obviously, it's a massive contract," St. John said from New York. "It's exciting . . . it's (Sony Classical) probably the biggest one out there."

Financial terms were not disclosed. St. John said negotiations began about eight months ago.

Sony Classical president Peter Gelb said St. John will record both innovative and core classical projects for the label. Her first Sony Classical release -- a disc of unusual arrangements of the music of J. S. Bach -- is set for the fall.

"She is a great violinist and her willingness to experiment with the repertoire, as well as her efforts to expand the classical audience, makes her an exciting addition to our roster of artists," Gelb said.

The Bach recording has teamed her with English composer/producer Magnus

Fiennes and arranger Brian Gascoigne. "(Fiennes is) super cool, a really sweet guy."

Fiennes is also the brother of the two British film stars, perennial Oscar contenders Ralph and Joe Fiennes.

"He's in between the two (in age), I think," St. John. "I've had about 10 (people), especially girlfriends of mine, ask for signed photos of the brothers. But I haven't even (raised) that," she laughs.

Guest artists include Indian tabla virtuoso Trilok Gurtu. Recording has been going well, with the next studio time booked for June. "Scheduling has been a nightmare because there are so many people

involved and I'm not the easiest," she said.

St. John has won acclaim for her concerts and for her first three recordings on independent labels, which include two discs of Bach's solo works and concertos. The Sony Classical deal means St. John will no longer be able to record for her own Ancalagon label, a situation she understands.

St. John has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo and Hong Kong. She most recently appeared with Orchestra London in September 2001.

The former Kiwanis Festival winner began playing the violin when she was two and soloed with Orchestra London at the age of five. She performs on the 1779 "Salabue" Guadagnini violin on loan to her by an anonymous donor.

Sony Classical has offices in New York and London and has one of the oldest and most prestigious catalogues, as well as original Broadway cast and performance video recordings. It is a division of Sony Music Entertainment Inc.


Videos

Photos