Bio

Authentic -|- Soulful -|- Orchestral

Praised for its “authentic, soulful, and orchestral sound”,  The String Queens (TSQ) is a dynamic trio that creates stimulating musical experiences that inspire diverse audiences to love, hope, feel, and imagine!

With an array of repertoire spanning from the Baroque era to the Jazz Age to today’s Billboard Hot 100 Chart, TSQ performs versatile programs that transport audiences through time and a multitude of musical genres.

Based in Washington, D.C., TSQ members have been featured in famed performance venues across four continents including: Carnegie Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Howard Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, The Moscow Conservatory, and Blues Alley, to name a few. 

TSQ members have collaborated with artists throughout the music industry, including Ledisi, Solange, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Common, Andra Day, and the late Aretha Franklin, among others. As chamber and orchestral musicians, TSQ members have performed under the batons of legendary musical directors Ray Chew, Adam Blackstone, and many more.    

Recognized by D.C.’s leading news network WUSA9 as “school teachers by day and concert performers by night”, TSQ is excited to launch a series of concerts and education outreach programs with Washington Performing Arts as the 2019-2020 Ensemble-in-Residence for their signature community engagement initiative titled “Mars Arts D.C.”. 

On November 26th, TSQ will premiere their debut album at legendary jazz venue Blues Alley. The album will also be available for purchase on the TSQ website and all major digital outlets.


Meet the Queens

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Élise Sharp

Cello

Élise Sharp, 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.

She has graced 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 a conductor for one of DCYOP’s student ensembles.

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Kendall Isadore

Violin

Born in Houston, Texas, Kendall Nicole Isadore is a Vocalist, Violinist, Pianist, Songwriter and Educator. She is a proud graduate of Howard University and George Washington University, and 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.

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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”.

She has previously served as a member of the viola faculty for The Killington Music Festival in Vermont and the DC Youth Orchestra Program in Washington, D.C.