The first transgender violinist at Carnegie Hall

The first transgender violinist at Carnegie Hall


norman lebrecht

June 17, 2014

That’s the claim being made for Tona Brown, who makes her debut at the Weill recital hall at Carnegie on June 25. Tona doesn’t just play the violin. A lifelong fan of Leontyne Price, she also sings arias in an accomplished mezzo voice.

She saysI make it a priority to do both mediums (violin and voice) on most concerts unless I am in poor voice and its all violin or the client hires me to just do one or the other.  Switching between the two doesn’t bother me at all because they are so entirely differently although I have learned to draw parallels with each instrument.  It also gives my body a rest as the program progresses so that I can stay fresh and alert for any given period of time.  Therefore there is very little tension because I am not over exerting my energy either way.  It works out perfectly and gives my audience a very diverse program allowing a memorable listening and visual experience.


Anne-Sophie Mutter, you reading this?

brown tona


  • Herbert Glass says:

    Didn’t know Anne-Sophie Mutter was transgender. Coulda fooled me. Or am I missing something (other than a certain age-related mental acuity)?

  • iStrings says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I really don’t care about the gender of a musician, male or female, transgender or whatever else.

    • Prewartreasure says:

      Me neither (istrings) or, come to that, the seeming need for anyone to ‘come out’ which, in my day, meant something completely different.