Violinist/Violist Shannon Elliott is an active freelance musician in the New York City area. Ms. Elliott's professional career has a diverse list of accomplishments over a wide range of musical genres. In the classical realm, Ms. Elliott held the positions of section viola and Assistant Principal viola in the Garden State Philharmonic for two seasons. Since then, she has performed regularly with the Asian Cultural Symphony of the USA, the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, and with several local opera companies, amongst other ensembles. During her time in these orchestras she had the opportunity to perform on the elite stages of Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, the 92 Street Y, the Strand Theater with the Atlantic City Ballet, and the Bohemian National Hall. In 2018, she was the violist for the Off-Broadway production of Comfort Women at Playwrights Horizons, which was her introduction into the musical theater world. Following the closing of the show she developed a larger interest in theater, and was the violist for NYU's revival of the Broadway show Rags as well as Principal Second Violin in their productions of Gypsy and City of Angels. Ms. Elliott continues her love of theater professionally by performing in local and regional theater productions. An avid participant in contemporary ensembles with music by local composers, she premiered 15 new works in 2019. Her most recent projects have included premiering the quartet of the winner of the 2019 Manhattan Prize for Composition, as well as collaborating with the Femmelody Chamber Music Collective, which advocates for music by women and minorities. Additionally, Ms. Elliott has worked in some of NYC and NJ's premiere recording studios to record string tracks. Currently she is a recording artist for Book of the Month Club Music, and in the past has recorded for U2 as well as local art collectives.
Ms. Elliott recently completed her Master of Music degree in String Studies at New York University under the tutelage of Karen Ritscher (viola) and Kurt Nikkanen (violin). Ms. Elliott also received a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from the Manhattan School of Music also studying with Karen Ritscher. Her accolades while in school consist of being a finalist in the 2019 NYU String Concerto Competition, performing in a masterclass for contemporary violist/composer Garth Knox, and winning the 2014 Fuchs Chamber Music Competition with her quartet at the Manhattan School of Music. During the course of her studies, she worked with several renowned conductors and ensembles such as Maestro Kurt Masur, Maestro Osmo Vanska, Maestro Perry So, the American String Quartet, and the Ying Quartet.
Ms. Elliott holds a private studio in NYC of violin and viola students of all levels, with students as young as 5 years old through adulthood. She is also the primary violin teacher at NYC Music School, which offers in-home lessons in the NYC area (https://www.violinlessonsnyc.net/). Previously she was an Adjunct Professor of Violin/Viola at New York University where she taught lessons to undergraduate students. Ms. Elliott's students all successfully receive top marks on national standard musical exams, such as the ABRSM exam and the NYSSMA exam. Her educational goals for her students are for them to develop a deeper connection with their instrument and to gain not only musical skills, but important life skills from the lessons such as discipline, patience, and perseverance.
Ms. Elliott's uniquely shaped viola was commissioned from Albuquerque-based luthier Anne Cole in 2015. The two collaborated artistically to come up with the internal and external design for the very small viola, fondly named "Steel Magnolia" in reference to Ms. Elliott's southern heritage. "Magnolia" has subtle nods to the flower hidden inside and over the back of the instrument.