Acclaimed by the New York Times as “the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive” and for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and “searing intensity” (American Record Guide), violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins is forging a dynamic career as a soloist and chamber musician. Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize as well as a Concert Artists Guild Career Grant, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Dallas Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of New York, and a Brevard Festival Orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart, in addition to numerous concerts and recitals in cities including New York, Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore, and Greenville, South Carolina, and at festivals in France, Germany and Italy.
For thirteen months on Broadway, Ms. Hall-Tompkins was the “Fiddler,” violin soloist, for the Bartlett Sher production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” with numerous solos written especially for her. The New York Times hailed her in a feature article as holding the title role, together with dancer Jesse Kovarsky. Featured as soloist in almost 500 Broadway performances, plus a Grammy-nominated cast album alongside a bonus track by Itzhak Perlman, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has been the featured subject on NBC’s Today Show with Harry Smith, NBC 4 New York with Janice Huff, NBC 4 at 5, Playbill.com, BroadwayWorld.com, WWFM radio Princeton and Strings Magazine among numerous other major press outlets for her role in Fiddler. A significant collaborating partner with violinist/composer Mark O’Connor for five years, Ms. Hall-Tompkins performed his Double Violin Concerto with O’Connor in concerts across the United States. As a passionate chamber musician, Ms. Hall-Tompkins was first violinist of the O’Connor String Quartet, which performed concerts nationally, including Tanglewood, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Lincoln Center’s Great Performer’s Circle, and a member of the Florida-based Ritz Chamber Players, including concerts in residence at Jacksonville’s Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, the Ravinia Festival’s “Rising Stars Series,” New York at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, and in Baltimore in collaboration with BSO concertmaster and string principals, along with many other venues. She has performed at the Garth Newel Music Center, Chamber Music South Dakota, New York City’s Bargemusic, live on WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, at Miami’s Deering Estate Series and for the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild.
Additional performance highlights include a 2007 Benefit for the Victims of Darfur at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Hall-Tompkins was invited by actress Mia Farrow and conductor George Matthew to perform as soloist before an orchestra comprised of musicians from every major orchestra in the world. In 2002 Hall-Tompkins commissioned a new work for violin and percussion from the German composer Siegfried Matthus, which was premiered at Michigan’s Pine Mountain Music Festival and gave in 2016 with the Oakland East Bay Symphony the US Premiere of Professor Matthus’s newest Violin Concerto. Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ performances have been broadcast in New York by WQXR, by Chicago’s WFMT and live on the BBC.
Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ newest recording project is The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition, featuring for the first time ever a full album of newly commissioned and original Fiddler-inspired works. The full recording will be released in 2017; Two music videos from the project were released on You Tube in 2016. This follows the success of her recent Imagination recording, a double video release of the Ysaÿe sonata No. 6 and her own jazz arrangement of “Pure Imagination” from the original film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The videos, released online and on Collector’s Edition DVD in early 2014, now enjoy over 1,000,000 You Tube views, were featured in Strings Magazine and hailed as “ground-breaking...sumptuous... a potent package” and by Chamber Music America in a public presentation on creating music videos. She released her debut CD recording in 2002, featuring the Kodaly duo, Brahms D minor Sonata and the Ravel Tzigane. Ms. Hall-Tompkins released her second CD, entitled In My Own Voice, in 2008, featuring music by Kreisler, Saint-Saëns, William Grant, and David Baker. The album was praised by Fanfare for its “opulent intensity” and by The Strad, which described Hall-Tompkins’ “winning way,” noting her “mercurial charms [and] genial touch...impressive.”
Regularly tapped as concertmaster, Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ distinguished orchestral career includes the 2016 Lincoln Center Benefit for the 10 year Anniversary of “Light in the Piazza,” a 2016 PBS Live from Lincoln Center Broadcast with Lang Lang. Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ orchestral career also includes extensive touring in the United States and internationally with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, including performances in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Japan, Singapore, Scotland and a recording with countertenor Andreas Scholl. She has also performed over 150 performances with the New York Philharmonic, under conductors including Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, Andre Previn, Charles Dutoit and Valery Gergiev. Ms. Hall-Tompkins has also lead numerous Carnegie Hall concerts with the New York Pops and as founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, which performed its debut concert in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in the Fall ’07 with Ms. Hall-Tompkins also as soloist. From 1999-2012 she was a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section.
A dedicated humanitarian, Ms. Hall-Tompkins founded and directs Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, which has, to date, brought almost 100 chamber music performances to New York City and Los Angeles homeless shelters, with over 150 artists including Emanuel Ax, Glenn Dicterow, Albrecht Mayer, Jeff Ziegler and Rene Marie. Kelly and Music Kitchen have been featured in The New York Times, on CBSNews.com and ABCNews.com, plus Strings Magazine, Chamber Music America Magazine, Spirituality and Health Magazine, Columbia University Radio and cable’s Hallmark Channel.
Ms. Hall Tompkins received an Honorary Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music, her alma mater, in 2016, and also delivered the Commencement address. She is also one of three 2017 recipients of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, which will be presented at the US Supreme Court by Justice Sotomayor. She earned a Master’s degree from the Manhattan School under the mentorship of Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. While there, she was concertmaster of both of the school’s orchestras. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors in violin performance with a minor in French from the Eastman School of Music studying with Charles Castleman. While at Eastman she won the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate Competition, several scholarship awards from the New York Philharmonic, and was invited to perform chamber music on the school’s Kilbourn Concert Series with members of the faculty.
An avid polyglot, Ms. Hall-Tompkins studies and speaks seven languages. A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Ms. Hall-Tompkins began her violin studies at age nine. She lives in New York City with her husband Joe.