Violinist Melanie Riordan is a unique performer and passionate educator currently based in Long Island, NY. For the last decade she has devoted her time and energy into spreading the joy of music and art through her versatile performances and strong educational efforts. A native of New Rochelle, NY, Melanie began taking violin lessons at the age of 10. Since then she has had the privilege of performing in some of the world's most prestigious concert halls and teaching hundreds of students across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
An avid advocate of contemporary classical music, she has premiered dozens of works by both emerging and established composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Composers she has worked with include Christopher Theofanidis, David Lang, Annie Gosfield, Matthias Pintscher, and Peter Eötvös among others. She has held performance residencies at Mass MOCA, the Centre d’Arts Orford, and the Rothko Chapel as a Bang on a Can fellow, an Orford fellow and a DACAMERA Young Artist respectively. She has had the privilege of performing with members of 8th Blackbird, the Bang on a Can All-stars, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and the Silk Road Ensemble as well as visionaries Rhiannon Giddens and Saul Williams. Some especially inspiring projects include performing in the American premier of Kaija Saariaho’s “Émilie” the Spoleto Festival USA and world premier of Marty Regans chamber opera “The Memory Stone” with the Houston Grand Opera.
Recent seasons included performances of Alban Berg’s haunting violin concerto with the Lynn Conservatory Philharmonia as the winner of its annual concerto competition, her New York City debut at the Kosciusko Foundation as a winner of the Lyric Chamber Music Society’s annual chamber competition and a European tour with the Lucerne Festival Alumni Orchestra under the baton of Ricardo Chailly. A versatile musician, Ms. Riordan has enjoyed playing in the traditional baroque style with the Houston Baroque ensembles Ars Lyrica and Mercury. Equally comfortable on pop/rock stages, Melanie particularly enjoyed performances with artists Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Michael Bolton, and Ledisi, and has performed folk music at the legendary Austin City Limits Music Festival.
A devoted and passionate educator, Melanie was named Adjunct Professor of Violin at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in 2020. She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Summer Strings Academy for Girls; an online summer festival for female-identifying string students from around the world. Melanie is passionate about using music as a way to uplift children. She was one of the first educators to launch the Houston Youth Symphony Coda Music program and has been a guest instructor for Sistemang Pilipino in Cebu City, Philippines, the Miami Music Project and the Nat King Cole “Generation Hope” music camp in partnership with Lynn University and the Plumosa School for the Arts. All of these programs are inspired by the famed Venezuelan music education program “El Sistema,” providing free music education and instruments to underprivileged and at-risk children. She received her pedagogical training from Mimi Zweig, Brenda Brenner, Rebecca Henry and Elizabeth Zemple at Indiana University and her Suzuki Violin Method Certification under the guidance of Charles Krigbaum and Edmund Sprunger. She is also highly influenced by her own violin teachers, Carole Cole, Kirsten Yon, Jonathan Crow. Melanie is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree at Stony Brook University.