London-based Canadian violinist Lyrit Milgram is known for her versatility and dynamic performances. As an active soloist and chamber musician, Lyrit has performed in the UK in venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, Cadogan Hall, LSO St. Luke’s, Milton Court, to name but a few, as well as in Canada, the United States, Austria, Israel, Japan, the Caribbean and South America.
Lyrit moved to the UK when she was sixteen to study with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Purcell School. She continued her studies for her Bachelor degree with Professor Rashkovsky and with Radu Blidar at the Royal College of Music, where she was a Soirée D’Or and Dasha Shenkman Scholar. Following one year at SOAS to study ethnomusicology, most specifically Cuban music, Lyrit then completed her Master’s as a Brian George Coker Scholar studying under Krysia Osostowicz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Lyrit’s orchestral career has led her to play and tour with some of the world’s top ensembles. She is currently on trial with the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and has played as an extra with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chineke!, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Welsh National Opera, and she has been invited as guest co-principal second violinist with the Hallé. In these capacities, she has played under some of the most renowned conductors and on the world’s most prestigious stages. As part of her orchestral training, Lyrit was principal second violin with the Orchestra of the Americas, on both their Caribbean and South American tours. She was also a member of the Pacific Musical Festival in Japan, the Britten Pears Orchestra and Aldeburgh Strings in the UK and was accepted into the London Symphony Orchestra’s String Experience Scheme.
Chamber music has always been an essential part of Lyrit’s musical career. Though the standard piano trio formation has been the most prominent, she has also worked in multiple ensembles, including string sextets, clarinet quintets, string quartets and piano quintets. Most recently, Lyrit has branched out of the more common chamber music formations and is involved in a violin duo, Zeal-and-Candour with violinist Alexandra Lomeiko, and with the Kofiko Ensemble, a clarinet-violin-cello-piano quartet.
As an advocate of bringing to light music written by living composers, 20th century and contemporary music are a very important part of Lyrit’s musical life. An important example would be her invitation to perform as part of the Lucerne Festival Academy and Alumni three years in a row, where she has worked with composers such as George Benjamin, Péter Eötvös, Dieter Amman and Wolfgang Rihm.
Lyrit’s enthusiasm for new music has led her to be a part of some very interesting projects, including one of the world’s very few performances of Stockhausen’s Inori for orchestra and two dancers, with which she toured to Lucerne, Berlin and Paris. She was also involved in Thomas Kessler’s Utopia III, a work that she performed with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra. (That piece was performed using acoustic instruments combined with electronics such as iPads, foot pedals, loudspeakers and microphones controlled by each individual musician to create a unique sound over a loop.) Further to this, she worked on another unique project: a Kessler-Saul Williams Collaboration for orchestra, slam-chorus and rapper.
As with most industries, the arts have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and many musicians have had to rejig their lives by being extraordinarily creative. As a consequence, Lyrit has been involved in numerous “Corona projects,” most notably her participation in Joaquim Badia’s Musings for Isolated Quartet – a series of 80 miniature string quartets composed, recorded individually and produced daily during the UK’s first lockdown. The aim of these quartets was to keep the music alive, and their impact on followers all over the world has been immense. Lyrit is also a part of the World Harmony Orchestra, which continues to provide live music face-to-face (when possible) to vulnerable and affected communities. During lockdown, she also performed and recorded for the Orpheus Sinfonia, Tilford Bach Society and Stagehub’s online musical platforms. Lyrit would also like gratefully to acknowledge the generous support of the Olgarhythm Charity.