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Transgender Violinist and Singer Tona Brown Takes Classicalite's Proust Questionnaire

by Logan K. Young   Apr 17, 2014 13:10 PM EDT

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I first read about Tona Brown, one of the Beltway's best singing violinists, in my colleague Tim Smith's pitch-perfect profile in the May 22, 2011 early edition of the Baltimore Sun.

To wit, I've been following Miss Brown's career--performer, pedagogue, activist--for the ensuing three years.

She's since played for Obama, the first transgender woman of color to concertize a sitting President. On the operatic stage, Miss Brown just finished singing in Puccini's Suor Angelica.

And her debut album, This Is Who I Am, finds a fine mezzo violinist honoring the legacy and influence of African Americans that remain underrated in the often prejudicial world of classical music. In fact, her rendition of pianist and composer Margaret Bond's setting of the great Langston Hughes poem "I, Too" (from the larger work Three Dream Portraits of 1959) is one of the best on record.

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