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August 17, 2017

Honorary Doctorate Given to Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95)

“The biggest risk for a musician is to take no risk at all. So when you leave here today, take a risk. Live your life with passion. Work to make a difference while you’re working to make it. Find the rhythm and the resonance of your time. Turn to a fresh, new page and draw what you see.”

Alumna Kelly Hall-Tompkins delivered the 2016 Manhattan School of Music Commencement address and was a recipient of an honorary doctorate along with F. Paul Driscoll, editor-in-chief of Opera News, and bass-baritone opera star Eric Owens.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as a “versatile violinist who makes the music come alive,” Kelly is currently the concertmaster and violin soloist for the part of the Fiddler on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof. She has received a wealth of media attention for her work in the production, including being featured on the TODAY Show and in Strings magazine.

Spotlight video of Kelly on the TODAY Show

A recipient of the Concert Artists Guild Career Grant and a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium, Kelly has performed with the New York Philharmonic in over 150 concerts under conductors Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, André Previn, Charles Dutoit, and Valery Gergiev, among others, and has toured internationally with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, performing in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Japan, Singapore, and Scotland. She was concertmaster for a 2016 PBS Live from Lincoln Center broadcast with Lang Lang; for a benefit celebrating the 10th anniversary of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of The Light in the Piazza; and for numerous Carnegie Hall concerts with the New York Pops.

Kelly’s newest recording project is Imagination, 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 have garnered over a million YouTube views, were lauded in Strings magazine as a “ground-breaking potent package,” and were featured by Chamber Music America in a public presentation on creating music videos.

Pure Imagination arranged by Kelly

In addition to being an acclaimed soloist and passionate chamber musician, Kelly founded and directs Music Kitchen – Food for the Soul, which has brought over 84 chamber music performances to homeless shelters in New York City, Los Angeles, and Paris, France.

Fun fact: An avid polyglot, Kelly studies and speaks seven languages!

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