All material found in the Press Releases section is provided by parties entirely independent of Musical America, which is not responsible for content.

Press Releases

Manhattan School of Music Appoints Alumna Kelly Hall-Tompkins to Violin Faculty

February 12, 2019 | By Jeff Breithaupt
Vice President for Media and Communications

Manhattan School of Music Appoints Alumna Kelly Hall-Tompkins to Violin Faculty

Having received an Honorary Doctorate from MSM in 2016, the acclaimed and “versatile violinist who makes the music come alive” (New York Times) returns home in September

January 31, 2019 (NEW YORK, NY) – Manhattan School of Music Executive Vice President and Provost Joyce Griggs announced today that acclaimed violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, who earned her Master of Music degree at MSM and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the institution in 2016, will join MSM’s violin faculty in September.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kelly back to MSM as a member of our renowned violin faculty,” said Provost Griggs. “As a versatile artist, Kelly has created a multi-faceted career that reflects the diverse and rewarding paths our students seek to create for themselves. Her experiences range from orchestra member, concerto soloist, chamber musician, Broadway soloist, and artist-citizen. Kelly’s commitment to deepening our human connection – championing and leading performances in communities that might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience the thrill of live music – resonates with the core mission of MSM and inspires our students to think critically about the power music has in society. Kelly joins an esteemed roster of faculty, and her musical background expands the pedagogical expertise our MSM students will experience.”

Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize as well as a Concert Artists Guild Career Grant, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has been hailed for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and “searing intensity” (American Record Guide). Her work for 13 months on Broadway as “the Fiddler” violin soloist in director Bartlett Sher’s acclaimed revival of Fiddler on the Roof garnered raves, with The New York Times writing that she “[made] the music come alive” and NBC’s TODAY dedicating a feature segment to her work on the show, rare for a Broadway instrumentalist.

Ms. Hall-Tompkins performed over 150 performances with the New York Philharmonic, toured Europe and Asia with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and for 13 seasons was a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section. She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Dallas Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of New York, in addition to performing numerous concerts and recitals in cities including Kiev, Paris, New York, Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore, and Greenville; as well as at festivals in France, Germany, and Italy. 

In May 2016, Ms. Hall-Tompkins received an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts at MSM’s Commencement Ceremony at Riverside Church. She responded with an eloquent and inspiring Commencement address, delivered without notes.

Kelly’s speech that day is not something any of us who were fortunate enough to be there are likely to forget,” said MSM President James Gandre. “She brought her two decades in the field to bear, encouraging our graduates to live their lives with passion and to take risks. It was a breathtaking performance, a verbal manifestation of what she does so fluently as a musician. Her future students – indeed all of us at MSM – are very, very fortunate.”

In addition to her words of wisdom about living a musical life, Ms. Hall-Tompkins used the Commencement address to exhort the rapt graduates to “work to make a difference while you’re working to make it.” An avid polyglot who studies and speaks eight languages and a 2017 New York Times “‘New York Today’ New Yorker of the Year,” Ms. Hall-Tompkins sets a strong example as founder and director of Music Kitchen – Food for the Soul, which has brought 100 chamber music performances to homeless shelters in New York City, Los Angeles, and Paris, and, through partnerships as a visiting guest artist, to additional cities including Wichita, Oakland, Nashua, and Cincinnati.

“I am so pleased to be returning to Manhattan School of Music to join the School’s illustrious violin faculty,” said Ms. Hall-Tompkins. “MSM made a profound difference in my life, and I am deeply honored that I will have the opportunity to pass that along to a new generation of students. At my Commencement address to the 2016 MSM graduates, I asked them to ‘find the rhythm and the resonance’ of their time, to ‘turn to a fresh, new page and draw what you see.’ Particularly under the leadership of President Jim Gandre, MSM encourages students to find that rhythm and resonance; it presents many avenues to a fresh, new page for all who enter.”

“This newest phase of the relationship between MSM and one of its distinguished alumni represents the continuation of a beautiful friendship,” said Provost Griggs. “All of us at the School – the Board of Trustees, the faculty, administration, and students – eagerly anticipate Kelly’s arrival.”


For more information, please contact:

Jeff Breithaupt | Vice President of Media and Communications

917.493.4702 /


Founded as a community music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today MSM is recognized for its more than 960 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; its innovative curricula and world-renowned artist-teacher faculty that includes musicians from the New York Philharmonic, the Met Orchestra, and the top ranks of the jazz and Broadway communities; and a distinguished community of accomplished, award-winning alumni working at the highest levels of the musical, educational, cultural, and professional worlds. 

The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing doctoral studies. Offering classical, jazz, and musical theatre training, MSM grants a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. True to MSM’s origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to 475 young musicians between the ages of 5 and 18. The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.


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 KellyHall-Tompkins is creating a dynamic career as a violin soloist entrepreneur. 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

Kiev, Ukraine; Paris, New York, Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore, and Greenville, South Carolina, and at festivals in France, Germany and Italy.

For 13 months on Broadway, Ms. Hall-Tompkins was the “Fiddler,” violin soloist, for the Bartlett Sher Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, with numerous solos written especially for her. The New York Timeshailed her in a feature article as holding the title role, together with dancer Jesse Kovarsky. Featured as soloist in over 400 performances of Fiddler, 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,,, WWFM radio Princeton and Strings Magazine, among numerous other major press outlets for her role in the show. Her interviews and Kiev performances are featured in an upcoming new documentary on Fiddler on the Roof.  

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, Ms. 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; in 2016 with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, she gave 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 a full album of newly commissioned and original Fiddler-inspired works. The full recording was released on Broadway Records in 2018; 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 YouTube 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 a performance on the BBC Proms leading the Chineke! Orchestra, the 2016 Lincoln Center Benefit for the 10-year Anniversary of The Light in the Piazza, and 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 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 led numerous Carnegie Hall concerts with the New York Pops and as founding member and concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, which performed its debut concert in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in Fall ’07 with Ms. Hall-Tompkins as soloist. For 13 seasons, 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 100 chamber music performances to New York City and Los Angeles homeless shelters, with nearly 200 artists including Emanuel Ax, Glenn Dicterow, Albrecht Mayer, Carter Brey, Jeff Ziegler, and Rene Marie. Kelly and Music Kitchen have been featured in The New York Times, on and, plus Strings Magazine, Chamber Music America Magazine, Spirituality and Health magazine, Columbia University Radio, and cable’s Hallmark Channel, plus an upcoming feature on NBC Sunday TODAY with Harry Smith.

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 2016 recipients of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, which was 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 eight 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.



Law and Disorder by GG Arts Law

Career Advice by Legendary Manager Edna Landau

An American in Paris by Frank Cadenhead



Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.