About Aida Strings

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The Aida String Ensemble was founded in 2005 in Chesapeake, Virginia by violinist and vocalist Tona Brown. Ms. Brown’s goal was to showcase the talents of African American string players in serious performance opportunities. The ensemble started as a duo and after a few performances developed into a string quartet. The group has had debut recitals and performances in concert halls, churches, colleges and universities in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, including Norfolk State University, The Levine School of Music, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and First and Franklin Presbyterian Cathedral of Baltimore. Over the past six years, members of the Aida String Ensemble have been featured in various music videos, corporate functions, weddings, funerals, and collaborative projects, most notably performing with renowned Gospel artist Richard Smallwood at Reid Temple (Maryland), at the NORVA (Norfolk) with the pop group The Fuzz Band, playing for Angela Bassett at a function for Girls Inc., and working as the resident musicians for the Baltimore Vocal Arts Foundation and its innovative and exciting opera series. The members of the Aida String Ensemble are also proud to announce their upcoming concert series in Baltimore, MD, as well as their by-request New York City debut at the Out Music Awards. For more information, contact Ms. Brown at primadonnatona@gmail.com.

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Tona Brown is an African American violinist and vocalist who has had a career spanning both North America and Europe. Her destiny as a performance artist was etched in stone at an early age. She started playing the violin at the age of 10 years old. She has won scholarships and competitions since the age of 14.


Ms. Brown attended the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia from 1994 to 1998 studying with Darrell Huskey, Dr. John MacCormack, Lisa Bishop, Jorge Aguirre and Leslie Stewart. While in attendance at the Governors School for the Arts, Tona received many awards for her leadership in various ensembles from symphony to chamber music. She won concerto competitions her junior and senior years. Ms. Brown also performed with the Governor’s School for the Arts orchestra and quartet in England and France. After auditioning for the Norfolk Fest Events talent competition, she was able to do master classes with the Meadowmount Trio, Ani Kavafian and Isaac Stern. Ms. Brown also attended master classes and programs at Norfolk State University Junior Music Program and Old Dominion University Quartet Adventure program that is an intensive study of chamber music provided by principal players of the Virginia Symphony. While studying at Old Dominion University, she met and performed with Mr. Amadi Hummings. She was invited to participate in the Eastman School of Music Gateways Music festival. Ms. Brown continued her education at Shenandoah Conservatory on a scholarship for four years. There she studied with Olivia Hajioff, Marc Ramirez, and began taking voice lessons with soprano Patricia Wulf. At Shenandoah Conservatory, Tona performed in the chamber orchestra, symphony and the Shenandoah String Quartet.

Tona is currently residing in Springfield, Virginia,where she teaches violin and voice lessons. She is a founding member of the Aida String Trio and performs frequently as the principal violinist of the Radiance String ensemble. Ms. Brown also has been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine and television programs for her work with the youth in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and for her recitals. Ms. Brown has also had featured articles in the Advocate magazine and The Virginian Pilot.

Ms. Brown is also a recitalist and chamber musician. She tours frequently throughout the United States performing both vocal and instrumental repertoire. She was selected to do a national tour with the “Tranny Road Show” a multi-media, tour group of Transgender artists that toured from Florida to Canada in April 2006. While on tour, she met Christopher King of the St. Louis American. She was asked to write articles about opera singers for the St. Louis American. Her most memorable interview and article was with Shirley Verret, one of her all time operatic idols. Ms Brown was also a featured soloist and speaker for the 2nd Annual LGBT Pride Month Commermoration Ceremony for the Department of Veteran Affairs singing the National Anthem. She was also a guest on the “Anthony McCarthy Radio Show” speaking about her volunteer work with Hearts and Ears Inc. Ms. Brown was also selected to be a performer for the 2011 Out Music Awards which will be aired on the Logo Television Network.

Please find out more about Tona at www.TonaBrown.com

Chesapeake, Virginia native Kevin Jones began his cello studies with Alice
Glasco and Virginia Symphony cellist Janet Kriner. His pre-college awards include an
“Outstanding Soloist” award from the North American Music Festival, and a
Chesapeake Fine Arts grant. An alumnus of and soloist with the Hampton
Roads Chamber Players as well as the Hampton Roads Academy of Music, he has been playing chamber music since the beginning of his cello studies.

At Old Dominion University, Kevin began studies with Carter Melin, and, in addition to twice winning the University Concerto competition, was awarded the chair of principal cello in the Symphony orchestra. In summers past, he has studied at
The North Carolina School for the Arts, The National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute at The Kennedy Center, Aria International Music Festival where he studied with Mihai Tetel and Stephen Geber, and The Meadowmount School of Music, where he was a student of Anthony Elliot.

A broad range of solo and ensemble masterclass experience includes classes with David Hardy, Zuill Bailey, Paul Katz, Lambert Orkis, and Jaime Laredo, as well as the Maia, Johannes, Cavani, Chiara, Miami, Harlem, ETHEL, and Brentano string quartets. Kevin was also a founding member of the Russell Stanger String Quartet at Old Dominion University, (an ensemble generously scholarship-endowed by famed conductor Russell Stanger) and pursued further studies and pedagogical training with Mrs. Leslie Frittelli. He has also had the pleasure of performing at the Gateways Music Festival (Rochester) for several years. As a substitute cellist, he has appeared with the VIrginia symphony.

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ROBIN FAY MASSIE* is a professional violist in the Baltimore/D.C. area. She
is Assistant Principal Violist with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and
Co-Principal Violist with the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra (Philadelphia,
PA). She has performed as a substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra and
National Symphony Orchestra among other ensembles. She is also active as a
chamber musician and soloist. In addition to her performance schedule, Ms.
Massie maintains a private studio where she resides in Columbia, MD.

In January 2010, she founded Musicians of Mercy (MOM), a pending non-profit
organization which raises funds for victims of natural disaster other
tragedies through the production of benefit concerts that are free and open
to the public.

Ms. Massie attended The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University
(Baltimore, MD), The New England Conservatory (Boston, MA) and The
University of Maryland (College Park, MD). In her spare time, she can be
found playing with her active four year-old daughter, enjoying a good latte,
jamming to jazz and hip-hop music on her long commutes, or salsa dancing
with friends.

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