“People need to know that you can be a trans woman of color and still have a successful career.”
Tona Brown is an African American transgendered violinist and vocalist who has had a career to span North America and Europe. Starting the violin at the age of 10 years old and winning scholarships and competitions since the age of 14 her destiny as a performance artist was etched in stone at an early age. Ms Brown attended the prestigious Governor’s School for the arts 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 and winning concerto competitions her junior and senior years. Ms Brown also performed with the GSA orchestra and quartet in England, France.
After auditioning for the waterfront festivals talent competition she was able to do masterclasses with the Meadowmount Trio, Ani Kavafian and Isaac Stern. Ms. Brown also attended masterclasses and programs at Norfolk State University in their Junior Music Program and Old Dominion Universities in their Quartet Adventure program an intensive study of chamber music provided by principal players of the Virginia Symphony. While studying at ODU she met and performing with Mr. Amadi Hummings and was asked to participate in the Gateways Music festival. Ms. Brown later 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 Chesapeake, Virginia where she teaches violin and voice lessons and is a founding member of the Aida String Quartet. She also plays with the Elegance by Deux and Radiance ensembles. Ms. Brown also has been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine and television programs for her work with the youth in Hampton Roads and for her recitals. Tona is currently working to develop the Hampton Roads Community Orchestra. Ms. Brown is also a recitalist and chamber musician and tours frequently throughout the United States performing both vocal and instrumental repertoire.
She was picked to do a national tour with the “Tranny Road Show” a multi-media, tour group of transgendered artists that toured from Florida to Canada for the month of April in 2006. While on tour she met Christopher King of the St. Louis American and was asked to write articles about Opera singers for the paper. Her most memorable interview and article was with one of her operatic idols one of her all time operatic idols Shirley Verret She is currently studying with Mezzo Soprano Jennifer Randall and violinist Jorge Aguirre. She is also working on an album of African American Art songs and spirituals.
Ms.Brown was also featured in the Advocate magazine and has since been developing a tour to perform for colleges, universities,GLBT organizations and festivals around the united states.