The String Queens_Kendall_color

Kendall Isadore, Violin

Born in Houston, Texas, Kendall Nicole Isadore is a Vocalist, Violinist, Pianist, Songwriter and Educator. While she is a proud graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, music has always been Kendall’s passion. She has been playing the violin, piano, and singing since she was eight years old.

Though classically trained in all three disciplines, Kendall’s niche is performing a wide range of musical genres on violin including, R&B, jazz, “Top 40”, gospel, contemporary, and hip-hop. She has performed at a variety of legendary venues all over the country with artists including Roberta Flack, Josh Groban, Fantasia, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kurt Carr, and Kim Jordan, to name a few. Most recently, she was featured as the first violinist for the “March for our Lives” concert where she led a string quartet under the direction of Adam Blackstone in collaborative performances with Ariana Grande, Andra Day, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, and many more leading artists of our generation. Currently, Kendall is a Vice-Principal at KIPP DC: Northeast Academy and a graduate student at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

As a woman of deep faith, she credits God with all glory, honor, and praise for the unprecedented work that He is doing in her life through music and education. Her message to audiences is consistent with her personal mantra: “Keep trying and never give up until you succeed!"

Contact Kendall here!

The String Queens_Dawn_color

Dawn Johnson, Viola

Named as the recipient of the 31st Annual Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Performing Arts Teaching in Washington, D.C., Dawn Michelle Johnson is a graduate (B.M, M.M) of The Juilliard School in New York City and has been recognized by her alma mater for her “Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music” as a recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship, the Irene Diamond Scholarship, and the Peter Mennin Award in Music.

A native of Miami, FL, Dawn is a violist and music educator who has been featured as soloist with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Santa Fe Virtuosi, and the Ars Flores Chamber Orchestra. In addition, her contributions to the field of music education have earned her recognition as a quarter-finalist for the 1st Annual GRAMMY Music Educator Award, a recipient of KIPP DC’s Executive Director’s Award, and the title of one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s “Top 10 College Women”.

Dawn is currently the Orchestra Director at KIPP DC: KEY Academy and has previously served as the Director of Music and Arts for KIPP DC and as a member of the viola faculty for The Killington Music Festival in Vermont and the DC Youth Orchestra Program in Washington, D.C. Her previous teachers include Richard Fleischman, Samuel Rhodes, Charles Pikler, Kim Kashkashian, Judith Frishman, and the late viola pedagogue Karen Tuttle.

Contact Dawn here!

The String Queens_Élise_color

Élise Cuffy, Cello


Élise Cuffy, a native Washingtonian, began playing the cello in the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) when she was eight years old. As a student at DCYOP, she was afforded the distinct honor of performing under the baton of the late, great cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, and was selected to tour with the orchestra to China and Taiwan. Inspired by the rigorous training and diverse experiences that she received as a student at DCYOP, Élise continued her musical studies at Howard University where she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.

Her passion and precision as one of the most sought after cellists in the Washington, D.C. area have led her to grace some of the world’s most renowned stages in performances alongside musical legends Whitney Houston, Tye Tribbett, Donnie McClurkin, Aretha Franklin, and Dionne Warwick, to name a few.

In addition, Élise has performed for three former Presidents of the United States of America including, George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and Barack Obama. Currently, she performs as principal/assistant principal cellist of Soulful Symphony and many other community-based orchestras in the Washington, D.C. area. She is also the Orchestra Director at KIPP DC: Northeast Academy and a conductor for one of DCYOP’s student ensembles.

 Contact Élise here!