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Biography

American violinist Melissa White has enchanted audiences and critics around the world as both a soloist and a chamber musician. Her February 2020 performance with the National Philharmonic was deemed “absolutely breathtaking” by Maryland Theatre Guide critic Katie Gaab, who cited the “grace, precision, and warmth” of her playing in Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 1; reviewing the same concert for The Washington Post, Matthew Guerrieri called her “an excellent advocate, prioritizing ease and fluency over intensity, suiting the music’s lyric and episodic nature.”

Ms. White’s recent orchestral activity includes return engagements with the National Philharmonic and the Chicago Sinfonietta, and debut performances with the Richmond, Cincinnati, and Midland Symphony Orchestras, the Brevard Music Center and Heartland Festival Orchestras, as well as The Juilliard Orchestra, whom she joined with only 3 days’ notice to perform Florence Price’s Concerto No.1 in January 2022. Ms. White will make her Aspen Music Festival debut in August 2022, appearing as featured soloist and conductor for a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

A first-prize laureate in the Sphinx Competition, she has performed with such leading U.S. ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Internationally, she has appeared as soloist with Poland’s Fillharmonia Dolnoslaska; with the Colombian Youth Orchestra in a tour of that country; with the Czech National Philharmonic; and as a recitalist in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Jelenia Gora, Poland. Her film credits include a violin solo in the soundtrack to Jordan Peele’s 2019 psychological thriller Us. Beyond the classical realm, she has performed alongside pop artists including Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill.

Ms. White is a founding member of New York-based Harlem Quartet, where since 2006 her passion and artistry have contributed to performances hailed for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent” (Cincinnati Enquirer). Together with Harlem Quartet, she has worked with such classical-music luminaries as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavakian, Paul Katz, and Anthony McGill; appeared in many of the country’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the White House, and the Kennedy Center; and performed throughout the U.S., as well as in Europe, Africa, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Harlem Quartet was named quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University in the fall of 2021, and has served as the visiting quartet-in-residence at the Royal College of Music in London since 2016.

Ms. White currently serves as Music Artist Faculty at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

A native of Michigan, she holds performance degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, where her teachers included Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, and Miriam Fried. Her current instrument, “Matilda,” was commissioned as part of a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant in 2014 by the American violin maker Ryan Soltis.

In addition to her musical career, Ms. White has enjoyed practicing various styles of yoga for more than a decade, and completed training in both Vinyasa and Ashtanga at Sampoorna Yoga School in Goa, India. She is the co-founder of Intermission, a groundbreaking program that unites body, mind, breath, and music-making through yoga and meditation. Intermission comprises sessions for students, retreats for professionals, and an app for everyone.

Melissa White is represented worldwide by New York-based Sciolino Artist Management.

May 2022

Do not make any alterations to this biography. Concert presenters and other interested parties may obtain an updated and/or abridged version by contacting Katie Masterson, katie@samnyc.us.

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