Abby Schirmacher

In times of uncertainty, many industries are finding new ways to share content on a virtual platform. For artists, the loss of an audience creates obstacles in profiting off of their work and sharing their creativity with those who will cherish it. Off the Hook Arts (OtHA) is adjusting to life in a pandemic, and we’re ecstatic to introduce our new series, Virtual Virtuosos. 

This online fundraising series led by OtHA artistic director Bruce Adolphe explores the lives of renowned musicians. Genuine and raw conversations transform a discussion about life before the pandemic, the current atmosphere, and topics regarding the art industry as a whole. Viewers will gain a new perspective on the life of an artist during a pandemic and can learn more about supporting our incredible artists during this difficult time. 

The guest list is quite impressive, including scheduled conversations in our first leg of the series (September – December) with Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Shai Wosner, Anthony McGill, and Jeff Kahane.

To kick off Virtual Virtuosos, Kelly Hall-Tompkins joined Adolphe on September 3. Hall-Tompkins stands out in the classical music industry for her gifted talent as a violinist, as well as her contributions to charitable organizations supporting homeless communities in major cities. She is deemed a social justice pioneer in the classical music world as a recipient of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize and featured in the Smithsonian Museum for African-American History. 

According to the New York Times, Hall-Tompkins is “the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive.” Her list of accomplishments is extensive including the honor of being named as New York Times “New Yorker of the Year.” She has appeared as co-soloist in Carnegie Hall with Glenn Dicterow and conductor Leonard Slatkin, in London at Queen Elizabeth Hall, at Lincoln Center and with the Symphonies of Dallas, Jacksonville, Oakland, recitals in Paris, New York, Toronto, Washington, Chicago, and festivals of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Santa Fe, France, Germany, and Italy. 

Hall-Tompkins played the Fiddler/Violin Soloist of the Grammy/Tony-nominated Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Following this, she commissioned and developed the first-ever Fiddler solo disc of all-new arrangements, “The Fiddler Expanding Tradition,” which is featured in the new documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” on the 55-year history of the musical.  

As an accomplished musician, Hall-Tompkins also stands out in the classical music industry as the founder of Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul. Homeless shelters in New York City provide a roof over one’s head and food to eat, but Hall-Tompkins felt that the environment was missing the emotional comfort of music. Accredited musicians from all over the country gather at these shelters to provide a mental and spiritual release for those struggling through music. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected on-site shelter performances, Music Kitchen continues to promote togetherness through a virtual series titled Bridging the Distance.


Learn more about Hall-Tompkins and the highlights of her career at the Virtual Virtuosos event on September 3. More details are on our website, including tickets. OtHA is so grateful for our wonderful community members. We could not hold events, in person and virtually, without your dedication and support. 

Visit our social media pages for more information about Virtual Virtuosos and upcoming news and events for OtHA:

Instagram: off_the_hook_arts

Facebook: Off the Hook Arts: at the intersection of music and ideas

Twitter: OfftheHookArts

LinkedIn: Off the Hook Arts

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