Violinist Melissa Tong is quickly gaining a reputation for her finesse and versatility, performing everywhere from Boston Symphony Hall with Savion Glover to Lincoln Center to one of the last remaining juke joints in Mississippi. Recent performances have taken Ms. Tong throughout the U.S. accompanying violinist, fiddler, and composer Mark O'Connor on piano, abroad to Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica, and the U.K., and on the airwaves with pop singer Sara Bareilles.
An active musician in NYC, Melissa is a member of the New York based Artemis Chamber Ensemble and plays regularly with numerous orchestras in the tri-state area. On the new music front, she has collaborated with the Flexible Orchestra for several commissioned world premieres, and has worked with several ensembles at the forefront of the contemporary music scene including Newspeak and the Praxis Quartet. Ms. Tong also makes frequent appearances with a multitude of pop, rock, and folk artists, including Sara Bareilles, Young the Giant, The Album Leaf, Wakey!Wakey!, and Vienna Teng, and can be heard in the recordings of artists Elizabeth and the Catapult, Ari Hest, The Spring Standards, Alex Wong, and Alex Berger, among many others. In addition, "Railroad Nails" Tong is half of the North Mississippi Blues duo Pork Chop Willie, with whom she also sings and plays piano.
Melissa attended the University of Southern California on full scholarship, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour, as well as a minor in Communications and the Entertainment Industry.
Ms. Tong is a dedicated teacher and is certified in both the O'Connor and Suzuki Methods. She is on faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement in lower Manhattan and Chamber Music Center of NY, as well as the Mark O'Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program in Boston. Melissa recently founded "String Jams!," a series of jam sessions for students and beginning improvisers.
When not rehearsing, performing, recording, or teaching, Melissa can often be found fiddling away at a bluegrass jam session. She resides in Manhattan, where she happily feeds her addictions to coffee and yoga.