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GRAMMY Winner Melissa White Visits SFCM for Side-by-Side Performance and Masterclass

White performed with students in the Chamber Music Tuesday concert series and held coaching sessions and a masterclass.

February 14, 2024 by Mark Taylor

Fresh off winning a GRAMMY, violinist Melissa White visited SFCM for a performance, coaching sessions and a masterclass with students. White won the award February 4th for Best Classical Compendium as part of the Harlem Quartet.

White was on stage again February 6, this time in SFCM's Bowes Center, for the Chamber Music Tuesday concert series where she performed side-by-side with students. "I am amazed by SFCM’s facilities and the faculty, staff, and students are incredible! The facilities are very high-tech, modern, clean, and accommodating," White said. For several years, White has enchanted audiences and critics around the world as both a soloist and a chamber musician, and is one of the founding members of the Harlem Quartet.


During the Chamber Music Tuesday concert, she performed with a number of students, including Yip-Wai Chow. "Melissa was such a warm and energetic person, I loved playing alongside her as the energy she radiates is very inviting and collaborative," Chow said. He performed Wynton Marsalis' At the Octoroon Balls with White. "Having not had too much experience outside of the 'traditional' classical genre, it could feel intimidating at times, especially with musicians like Melissa who is reputable both inside and outside of the classical world. But perhaps due to her experience in both worlds, she was able to demonstrate what to do to fit the style better with familiar terms and techniques," Chow added.

"Collaborating with Melissa was a joy," said student violist Zoe Yost of performing with White. "Her outstanding artistry is combined with the best kind of humor and humbleness—the latter, even on her GRAMMY weekend—and a desire to make everyone’s voice heard. She offered me a shining example of an ideal collaborator.”

In addition to the performance White also held coaching sessions and a masterclass with students. "It was an absolute joy working with the talented students of SFCM!" White said. Her advice for young music students? "Spend more time improvising, and having fun! As artists we spend a lot of our time being critiqued in order to get better playing other people’s music." White continued, "While that is very important, it’s also important to remember that you have a unique song inside of you that deserves to be sung and you should spend time doing just that."

Learn more about studying violin or chamber music at SFCM.