Like many of us, Kelly Hall-Tompkins schedule has been put on hold due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“The instrument chooses you really. I went with what was in my soul,” Kelly Hall-Tompkins told me as we chatted last week. “There were a lot of different things drew me to the violin early on. I was exposed to classical music in church so it was already sort of in my consciousness. I remember hanging over the balcony watching the Greenville Symphony with my school as a kid.” Having had the violin since she was nine, its easily said that Kelly Hall-Tompkins has come a long way in her transition from budding violinist to an internationally celebrated classical musician. Winner of the Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize, the Sphinx Medal of Excellence and named “New Yorker of the Year” by the New York Times, Kelly is the recipient of numerous national and international awards that acknowledge her musicianship and status as an elite violinist. Her talent has earned the name Kelly Hall-Tompkins a well-deserved slot rightful among the most celebrated instrumentalists in the world of classical music.
“Its frightening.” Kelly Hall-Tompkins recanted on the current Corona virus that’s forced her from New York to her second home in Pennsylvania. “I’m not sure everyone really understands how serious this is,” she said in regard to the few that still opt to reject national social distancing and other sanitary regulations.
Having been on hundreds of stages across the globe, Kelly Hall-Tompkin’s gifts and passion for composition led her to Broadway where she would collaborate with producers and actors for the iconic production of Fiddler on the Roof.
“I’m a classical artist, but I’ve become known as someone that pushed boundaries and follows my own personal muses to create interesting projects. I never envisioned myself on Broadway, but when I was invited to be the fiddler for Fiddler on the Roof I was a little apprehensive. I didn’t know how I’d feel playing the same music night after night or what. The actual show Fiddler on the Roof doesn’t have many violin solos, but producers added more solos for me and allowed me to interact with the cast in a unique way that hasn’t been done before. We had an incredible and tremendous cast.” I was deeply inspired every night to render something and to create something that the actors, musicians and I could collaborate with. Fiddler is an important story, that talks about women’s empowerment, coming of age and fighting against hatred. I became so absorbed in telling the story every night.”
Given Kelly’s Hall-Tompkins rich background, one could easily say that music has served as a form of medicine to both Kelly and the audience that she plays for. “I created a concert series call The Music Kitchen: Food for the Soul a few years ago to bring popular artists in my field to homeless shelter clients. I’ve always had a drive for helping others, and I was thrilled to discover that as a musician I could use what I have, what I know, and what I do to uplift others. The Music Kitchen was created in 2005 and since then we’ve presented about 116 concerts and over 200 artists from around the world. The Music Kitchen has reached about 30,000 homeless in shelters from New York to Los Angeles to Paris, France,” Kelly
“The Music Kitchen was born out of my love for service, my love of chamber music and my inclination help people. I felt that this would be something best done as chamber music, its not solo its not an orchestra, its right in the middle. You have two to ten players, that’s chamber music and its very communicative and very powerful. I like to do a run-through before any big show, and it was sort of a tricky time for me. A friend of mine was dying, and I was so invested in that at the time that I wasn’t able to organize and connect with my colleagues for a show. I was already a volunteer cook and my church’s shelter, and I thought that I could play for them. They were really moved by my performance and asked me to come back the next night. After that the idea came to me.”
Musician, humanitarian and creator are only a few of the words that go into describing Kelly Hall-Tompkins. More can be found about Kelly’s remarkable career and talent that continues to feed the soul of her listeners at www.KellyHall-Tompkins.com.