Melissa Reardon is the violist in the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet. Lauded by Classical Voice for her “elegant” and “virtuosic” performances, the Massachusetts-born musician won first prize at the Washington International Competition, and is the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International viola competitions, as well the Tourjee Award in 2002. Solo engagements have included performances at the Stevens Center, Kennedy Center, Symphony Hall, and Jordan Hall. She has performed as a soloist with Camerata Notturna and the Boston Symphony. In 2006, she was chosen as one of four violists internationally to participate in “Chamber Music Connects the World,” in Kronberg, Germany, alongside Gidon Kremer and Yuri Bashmet.
Melissa is also a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), and is a sought-after collaborative musician. She has performed with the Miami, Miro, Daedalus, and Borromeo Quartets, and with members of the Guarneri, Mendelssohn, Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Shanghai Quartets, and the Beaux Arts Trio. Melissa has appeared in numerous festivals across the United States, Europe, India, and Korea. She has toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and with Musicians from Marlboro.
Melissa holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Kim Kashkashian, Michael Tree, Joseph dePasquale, Karen Tuttle, Samuel Rhodes, and Hsin-Yun Huang, in addition to early chamber music studies with Eugene Lehner. Melissa held the position of Assistant Professor of Viola at East Carolina University From 2006-2013. She is married to the cellist Raman Ramakrishnan.
Melissa: I wanted to play the violin after hearing my older cousin perform on one when I was three. Luckily for me, when I was seven, my mother insisted that there were too many violinists in the world, and that I would be better off playing the viola. I did not resist her suggestion: For as long as I can remember I have loved the sound of the viola, and as a child I was particularly fascinated with the sound of the instrument’s C string, which I could play for hours at a time.
The event that made me want to devote my life to music occurred when I was twelve years old. I was at a summer music camp in Massachusetts, and I was listening to a student group perform the first movement of the Dvorak Piano Quintet. I had never heard the work before, and I was mesmerized. I remember getting chills during the performance. The beautiful, soaring melodies in that piece were so exhilarating, I remember thinking, “This is it! I want to do this for the rest of my life!” The excitement I felt at that moment has never left me. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to make a profession of the thing I love most. Playing music may be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, and I am grateful to have the opportunity in each performance to share my excitement with others.