Concerto for Violin: Paths to Dignity

Composed by Lucas Richman
Length: 32:00
Instrumentation: 2222-2210-Timp+1, pno, hp, str (standard woodwind doubling applies)
Instrument / Voice: Violin

Video Recording

Symphony of the Mountains, Cornelia Laemmli Orth, conductor
Christina Bouey, violin

Live Audio Recordings

Symphony of the Mountains, Cornelia Laemmli Orth, conductor
Christina Bouey, violin

Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, Andrew Koehler, conductor
Mitchell Newman, violin

Raleigh Junior Symphony, Peter Askim, conductor
Mitchell Newman, violin



Empowering the Unsheltered through Arts and Advocacy

It is in times of crisis that the Arts are found on the front line towards restoring humanity and dignity.

Lucas Richman’s “Concerto for Violin: Paths to Dignity” reflects upon the lives affected by homelessness by translating to music the stories of unsheltered individuals and the community’s moral responsibility to those individuals. Written for violinist Mitchell Newman, the work is presented in four movements which share a common thread of a seven-note motive, D-B-G-G-B-F-D  (DIGNITY), woven throughout the piece in various forms. The solo violinist serves in the capacity of an observer who ultimately leads the community towards the mutual goal of restoring humanity and dignity to those affected by being unsheltered in our society today.

The first movement, “Our Stories,” has various instruments representing the unsheltered by playing a musical iteration of the phrase, “This is my story,” to which the violinist replies, “I hear you, I see you.” The individuals join in a chorus and response while the violinist guides the sheltered audience to increased awareness of the issue they can no longer ignore. The second movement, “Fever Dreams/Move,” confronts the aspect of mental health as a contributing factor to homelessness through the restless dreams of a veteran who is dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The slumber is interrupted by harsh whistles on the street, requiring our storytellers to move and find new shelter. A solo violin cadenza serves as the bridge to the third movement, “Shelter for My Child,” which draws attention to society’s obligation to provide for the youngest members of the unsheltered community, musicalized by a motive derived from the Hebrew word, “Tzedek” (Justice).

The fourth and final movement, “Finding Home,” begins with the wind orchestra tolling a series of pungent chords which serve as the background to a seemingly inescapable hamster wheel’s flourish of notes from the violin. The strings interrupt intermittently with a prayerful invocation of the “Tzedek” motive until the violinist commences to lead the assembled community to action through a series of variations on “Dignity.”

The concept surrounding Lucas Richman’s “Concerto for Violin: Paths to Dignity” goes beyond the standard concert presentation of a new concert work. It is the intention of the composer that the concerto’s performance might serve as a centerpiece to a larger community-building effort, establishing connections between cultural organizations and homeless advocacy groups in order to better facilitate assistance for the unsheltered and, when appropriate, aspire towards reintegration into society.

Concerto for Violin: Paths to Dignity was commissioned by the Raleigh Civic Symphony (NC), Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra (MI), Symphony of the Mountains (TN) and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra (ME). The work received its local premieres by these ensembles between November 13, 2022 and April 28, 2024.


    1. Our Stories  (a collage of personalities and street sounds)
    2. Fever Dreams/Move  (addressing the plight of veterans and their families)
    3. Shelter For My Child  (restoring self-worth through grace and kindness)
    4. Finding Home  (examining the barriers to re-entry into society)
For more information about the Paths To Dignity Project, go to


Mitchell Newman, violin
Violinist Mitchell Newman recently retired from the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2020 after a 34-year career with the orchestra. In addition to his own rigorous performing and recording schedule, Mr. Newman has been a passionate advocate for bringing music to underserved communities. In honor of his work as founder of “Harmony: Music for Mental Health”, a chamber music/fundraising concert for Mental Health America Long Beach, CA, the California State Senate named him a mental health hero in 2010. In 2015 he started “Coming Home to Music” which brings concerts of classical chamber music and jazz concerts to people who were experiencing homelessness, now living in apartment complexes built by People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). Through his close friendship with MacArthur Grant Awardee and Street Symphony founder Vijay Gupta, Mr. Newman has played many concerts for people living in Los Angeles’ Skid Row and those in incarcerated communities. Mr. Newman has taught at Los Angeles’s renowned Colburn School and now brings his expertise to the classes he teaches for violinists at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, as well as working for Play On Philly and the Settlement Music School.



List of Concerti by Lucas Richman
Complete List of Lucas Richman’s compositions