A dynamic violinist, noted for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and “searing intensity” (American Record Guide), Kelly Hall-Tompkins dazzles in Imagination, a unique music video project pairing two diverse works in beautifully shot performances by up-and-coming director and cinematographer William D. Caballero. The combination of Eugène Ysaÿe’s fiery and angular Violin Sonata in E major, No. 6 and the lush and whimsical “Pure Imagination,” from the beloved childhood classic film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in a new jazz arrangement by Hall-Tompkins, showcases the multitude of facets of this stunning artist’s vibrant vision.
Following her most recent recording, In My Own Voice – deemed “impressive” by The Strad and praised by Fanfare for its “opulent intensity” with the “strength of personality that justify the CD’s title” – Hall-Tompkins takes her “voice” a step further, exploring the music video genre which is still underutilized in classical music or jazz. “I’m from the MTV generation,” says Hall-Tompkins, “I believe this is a way to use a familiar medium to attract new audiences,” noting also that the popular music industry is moving away from CDs toward digital media and YouTube. A third video being released features Hall-Tompkins speaking about the project. (A deluxe DVD edition of Imagination is also available for purchase.)
Kelly Hall-Tompkins is gifted with synesthesia – the ability to perceive sound as a color. For her, it was natural to create a visual representation to communicate her experience of playing music. Hall-Tompkins sees E major – the key of the last of Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six sonatas for solo violin (1923) – as white light. Brightness floods the video performance of the virtuosic work, which Hall-Tompkins calls “an amazing piece of music … you get the richness and virtuosity of the 19th century, the tonal color of the Impressionist era, the fire and command of Spanish flamenco music and the angularity and drive of the 20th century – a whole world on the head of a pin.”
In dramatic contrast to the Ysaÿe sonata is the video of the warm and fanciful “Pure Imagination.” This instantly-recognizable song from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) is by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly. The colorful jazz arrangement by Hall-Tompkins features percussionist Joseph Tompkins, guitarist Michael Gomez, and Kyle Kegerreis on bass. “As with the film,” comments Kelly, “It’s a metaphor for manifesting big things in your life.”
Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize, Kelly Hall-Tompkins has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Dallas Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of New York, and Philharmonic of Uruguay, in addition to numerous concerts and recitals in cities including Paris, New York, Toronto, Washington, Chicago, Baltimore, and Greenville, South Carolina, as well as at festivals in France, Germany and Italy. A frequent collaborating partner of violinist/composer Mark O’Connor, Ms. Hall-Tompkins is first violinist of the new O’Connor String Quartet and has performed O’Connor’s Double Violin Concerto in concerts and festivals across the United States. A passionate chamber musician and humanitarian, Ms. Hall-Tompkins founded and directs Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, which has, to date, brought over 60 chamber music performances to New York City homeless shelters.
Visit Kelly’s Youtube Channel to view all of the videos.