Violinist Melanie Riordan is a unique performer and passionate educator currently based in South Florida. 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. She received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her Master’s degree at McGill University. Since then she has had the privilege of performing in some of the worlds 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” at the Spoleto Festival USA, the world premier of Marty Regans chamber opera “The Memory Stone” with the Houston Grand Opera, and a performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Gruppen" under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland.
This past season 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.
As an educator, Melanie is passionate about using music as a way to uplift children. She believes that music has the power to change a child’s life for the better and that all children should be given the opportunity to experience joy through learning music. 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. As a teacher for these programs, Melanie taught violin, viola and cello to beginner and intermediate students in private lessons, group classes, and small orchestral settings. 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 at the Dallas-Fort Worth Suzuki institute. She is also highly influenced by her own violin teachers, Carole Cole, Kirsten Yon, Jonathan Crow and Cyrus Forough. Melanie is currently adjunct professor of violin at Florida Atlantic University and runs a private studio of young violinists in Palm Beach County.