In case you haven't been paying attention to the world of Classical music, marketing and sex appeal have crept into this once stodgy art form. LARA ST. JOHN has done an especially good job of blowing out the cobwebs: In addition to being one hell of a violinist, she's got some sex appeal that she's not afraid to use. When she posed for the cover of her first CD, she used her historic 1779 Guadagnini violin to discreetly cover up an otherwise nude shot. Even fully clothed, she cuts an imposing figure at 5-foot-10, but the best part is, St. John has a sense of humor and a dose of attitude: Her Web site recounts, among other things, "an interview that pissed me off," in which she was queried about the apparent influx of young female musicians. Although she didn't, she was tempted to respond, "Oh,yeah, we all suck. We just look nice." You can judge for yourself when St. John solos in Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the CINCINNATI CHAMBER ORCHESTRA on Sunday (3 p.m. at CCM) and Monday (7:30 p.m. at NKU). The CCO, marking its 30th anniversary, willalso perform Beethoven's "Pastorale" Symphony, conducted by Music Director Mischa Santora, himself marking his fifth season with the ensemble. St. John likes to encourage young performers so, prior to her Saturday afternoon record signing at Barnes & Noble in Kenwood (her new recording — Re: Bach), she'll meet with aspiring musicians at 2 p.m. for an informal discussion. Tickets for Sunday-Monday: 513-723-1182. ...
On Friday evening Northern Kentucky University's newly appointed string quartet in residence, the AZMARI QUARTET, offers its introductory concert, "New Faces on the Classics," featuring works by Haydn, Beethoven and Bartok at Greaves Concert Hall. It's an interesting collection of composers: They date from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Tickets ($10) are available at the door. Info: 859-572-6894.