Tia Allen has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Metropolitan Museum, Royal Opera House of Muscat, and the Teatro Nacional in Santo Domingo. As a freelance artist in New York City, she has performed with Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, The Eagles, Anderson Paak, Nas, Mark Ronson, Miley Cyrus, Cynthia Erivo, Shobean, Halsey, Kygo, Dua Lipa, Michael Bolton, Frank Ocean, Bebe Winans, Seal, and Cee-Lo to name a few. She is currently holding the viola chair in the Broadway show Jagged Little Pill (Broadhurst theatre). Other Broadway performances include My Fair Lady (Lincoln Center theatre), Spongebob Squarepants (Palace theatre), An American in Paris (Palace theatre), and On the Town (Lyric theatre). She has made televised performances on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Law and Order: SVU, Saturday Night Live, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Wendy Williams Show. She has appeared in the latest music videos for Bruce Springsteen’s Tucson Train and Western Stars. She has performed in the Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, and the modern movie remake of Annie.
Per the request of Lorin Maazel, she has performed as principal violist at his Castleton Music Festival. She is a past fellowship member of Spoleto Festival in Charleston and a six-summer veteran of the Aspen Music Festival and School where she performed Souvenir de Florence with Julia Fischer in the Benedict Music Tent. She has also performed at festivals in Graz, Austria and Nice, France. With a passion for chamber music, she is the founder, director, and violist of Diverse Concert Artists with contracted performances at the Kennedy Center and BAM, featuring Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another). In addition, she performs with the Harlem Chamber players and the MUNY Program. As an educator, she teaches with the Harlem School for the Arts and has held an educational chamber music residency at the University of Iowa with Harlem Symphony Chamber Players and University of Massachusetts, Lowell with Quatuor Mahogony.
Ms. Allen began playing the viola under the tutelage of Alice Young and Miles Hoffman in her hometown of Columbia, Maryland. She is a two-time Geraldine Gee Competition winner from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where she received her BM and MM in performance. After completing her studies in Cincinnati with Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catharine Lees, she moved to New York City, where she studied with Karen Dreyfus at Manhattan School of Music and received a Professional Studies certificate in Performance and a Professional Graduate Diploma in the Orchestral Performance Program.
Violinist, Soulful Symphony; Co-Artistic Director and concertmistress of the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra (UPCO); and soloing member of Beyoncé K Carter’s band
Jessica McJunkins, née Lady Jess, performs in NYC and LA. LJ leads strings under the baton of Darin Atwater’s Soulful Symphony in Baltimore, is Co-Artistic Director and concertmistress of the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra (UPCO) in New York City, and is a regular Los Angeles session musician and a soloing member of Beyoncé K Carter’s band. Artists’ credits include collaborations with Stevie Wonder, The Roots, J.Lo, Max Richter, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Diana Ross, Spike Lee, One Direction, Terence Blanchard, Jay Z, JLo, Solange, and more. TV credits include The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with The Roots, Saturday Night Live, and more.
Recent projects include the Emmy-nominated documentary Homecoming with accompanying live album, the On The Run II Tour with Beyonce and Jay-Z, recording and arranging strings while on tour with the Carters, for the Grammy-nominated joint album Everything is Love, and recently released soundtracks to Disney’s The Lion King with Hans Zimmer. As a session musician in Los Angeles, she can also be heard on the soundtrack of Charlie’s Angels, It II and more. While in LA, LJ also performs with the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, most recently for performances of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Disney Pixar’s Coco live.
LJ made her solo debut at Disney Hall (Los Angeles) in collaboration with Nicole Miller, for and by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as part of a festival curated by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She is a guest panelist and speaker at the League of American Orchestras, and the Sphinx Organization. Other upcoming engagements include a teaching residency at Bravo Bermuda! and solo appearances with the Harlem Chamber Players in 2021.
Violinist, Creative Director of StringCandy, and co-founder of the Re-Collective Orchestra
A dynamic violinist and entrepreneur, Stephanie Matthews is a modern-day citizen artist championing artistic excellence and social consciousness. She is the Co-Founder of the Re-Collective Orchestra, an all-black orchestra dedicated to raising the visibility and profile of black musicians and to presenting culturally relevant work to engage diverse audiences. An avid arts advocate, Ms. Matthews was the former Director of Artist Development for the Sphinx Organization, cultivating the careers of some of the nation’s top Black and Latino artists through professional development initiatives, including the Sphinx Competition, Sphinx Soloist Program, and the Sphinx Virtuosi tour. She has served as the Assistant Dean and violin faculty with the Sphinx Performance Academy and served as Artist-in-Residence at the National Academy of Performing Arts in Trinidad and Tobago and CUNY Queensborough Community College in Queens, New York.
Ms. Matthews has written, recorded and contributed to various music, television, and film projects. She collaborated with Hans Zimmer to feature the Re-Collective Orchestra on the soundtrack of the 2019 remake of The Lion King. She also co-arranged and recorded strings for Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift”, inspired by the film. Other recent film projects include “Mulan” (2020), “Da 5 Bloods” (2020), “Just Mercy” (2019), “Frozen 2” (2019), “The Mandalorian” (2019), “Charlie’s Angels” (2019), “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” (2019), and “When They See Us” (2019). As the Founder and Creative Director of StringCandy, she engaged musicians throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East for Eminem’s 2018 Revival Tour, 2019 Rapture Tour, and for his surprise performance at the 2020 Academy Awards. Her work has also been featured on the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, VH1 Storytellers, the BET Awards, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She has collaborated with many other notable mainstream performing and recording artists including Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Camilla Cabello, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, H.E.R., and Bastille.