Player Spotlight ~ Melissa Wilmot ~ Violinist

Opus 592, “Koff” Vuillaume Guarneri violin, 2007

"It was the summer of 2009, and I was in residence at NEC in Boston as a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. I was at an interesting place instrument-wise. I'd been looking and looking for instruments, but to no avail (at least in terms of ones that could live up to my standards without requiring me to win the lottery), and I had been dealing with a revolving door of instruments on loan. A friend who had an instrument from Mr Cox let me know he'd be visiting NEC, so with a very good dose of pessimism I climbed the stairs to go meet Mr Cox and some of his instruments in a dark NEC practice room.

To my incredibly pleasant surprise, I found one of the most knowledgeable and genuine people I have met in the luthier business, and I also met a huge variety of his instruments all of which were unique and likable in their own way. Gradually after playing them, and working with Mr Cox who was graciously fine tuning them, a clear favourite emerged. YOA was just about to de-camp and take off on tour, but I could not leave the violin behind, I knew it was the one, and I haven't looked back.

Mr Cox's instrument has grown and developed extensively with me over the past four years, and is continuously garnering the interest and compliments of colleagues, many of whom have remarked how much it has developed, and have been surprised it's only a few years old. I am extremely grateful to Mr Cox for being so helpful, and for creating an instrument that is such a joy to play, and has served me so well in so many different settings."

Melissa WilmotCanadian violinist Melissa Wilmot has performed extensively in Toronto both in recitals, and as a member of the National Ballet Orchestra, Sinfonia Toronto, the Esprit Orchestra. In 2010 she made her Carnegie Hall debut as a member of the only North American string quartet selected to participate in the Kronos Quartet’s professional training workshop. As an active recitalist, and participant in the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Mannes Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance, Banff Masterclass and Festival Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, Melissa has performed in cities ranging from Powell River, Kelowna and Banff, to NYC, Denver, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Washington DC.

Melissa is currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree at Rice University with Paul Kantor, having completed her Bachelor of Music degree with him in 2012 at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. At the Glenn Gould School Melissa was a scholarship student, on the Dean’s List, a prize winner in the chamber music competition, and was featured frequently as concert master of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under maestros Johannes Debus, Uri Mayer, Zubin Mehta, and Peter Oundjian. Melissa is the recipient of the 2012 Sir Edmund Walker Dorothy Isabella Webb Trust scholarship for graduating students from The Glenn Gould School as well as the 2011 Orford Quartet Scholarship from the Ontario Arts Council.

Born in Kelowna BC, she was member of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2008, was featured on numerous occasions as soloist with them, most recently in John Corigliano's Red Violin Chaconne. She also performed with Ballet Kelowna across British Columbia from 2006-2008, and as soloist with the Kelowna Canada Day Pops Orchestra in 2008. Melissa was the recipient of the 2007 City of Kelowna civic award for 'Teen Honour in the Arts', and in the same year was selected to be the strings representative for BC at the National Music Festival after winning Performing Arts BC.

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