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Diane Monroe, Violin(Profile/Biography)

United States
Diane Monroe is a violinist whose versatility and expressive artistry consistently bring both jazz and classical audiences to their feet. Her visibility as a jazz artist began with her long-standing membership as first violinist of the Uptown String Quartet and the Max Roach Double Quartet. These critically acclaimed groups have appeared on The Cosby Show, CBS News Sunday Morning, and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Monroe is more, however, than simply a fine performer. Her original compositions and arrangements were highlighted on the TV shows and in performances with the two ensembles at major concert halls and festivals throughout the world.

The Uptown String Quartet and the Max Roach Double Quartet, featuring legendary drummer Max Roach, Diane Monroe as first violinist with string partners Lesa Terry, Maxine Roach, and Eileen Folson; Cecil Bridgewater, Trumpeter, Odean Pope, Saxophonist, and Tyrone Brown, bassist, have recorded on the Soul Note, Philips/Polygram, and Mesa/ Bluemoon labels.

During her four-year run with the String Trio of New York, she toured in concert with Joe Lovano, Oliver Lake, and literary artist, Quincy Troupe. She has also performed with Reggie Workman, Bill Dobbins, Anthony Davis, John Blake, Regina Carter, Uri Caine, and Don Byron, to name a few. She’s played the Mellon, Peco, Stuttgart, Bologna, Cool, JVC, North Sea, and Barcelona Jazz festivals, as well as the 1997 Montreux Jazz Festival featured in Central Park for Fiddlefest. She was also a jazz soloist in the original Fiddlefests at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Switzerland’s Tonhalle, and the Apollo and Zeigfeld Theaters.

In a benefit performance hosted by distinguished news commentator Peter Jennings, Diane shared the spotlight performing with such jazz greats as Percy Heath, Jimmy Cobb, John Faddis, Renee Rosnes and Wycliff Gordon. Her jazz playing has also been feartured in the documentary film Small Wonders and the Meryl Streep movie Music of the Heart.

Ms. Monroe is in demand as an educator, panel specialist, leader of jazz improv workshops, rhythm clinics, and master classes. The Verbier Festival, Switzerland 2000, highlighted her summer as soloist/conductor of the Fiddlefest Jazz String Orchestra. During this festival, Monroe conducted the string orchestra students in a spontaneous collaboration with the violinist Kennedy, in a blues medley. In 2007, Monroe conducted the jazz string section for the Saxophonist James Carter with his quartet, in a presentation at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall entitled, “Gardenia’s for Lady Day”. At last season’s ASTA conference, she chaired a panel, “Improvised music in the classroom” which included distinguished composer/pedagogue, David Baker. In 2011, Monroe will premiere Baker’s Violin Concerto, written for her, with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

Philadelphia native Diane Monroe is a Curtis Institute of Music and University of the Arts graduate, and has taught at Oberlin Conservatory, Swarthmore College, and Temple University. She received the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and is currently a Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour roster artist.
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