Welcome to Intermission, a ground-breaking program that unites body, mind, breath, and music-making through yoga and meditation. Intermission is comprised of Sessions for students, Retreats for professionals, and an App for absolutely everyone! Our hope is that through exploring mindful movement, alignment, breath-work, and self-compassion, musicians of all ages and stages can begin to unite their physical, mental, and emotional selves so that music-making may become a more holistic, healthy, joyful practice.
So who are we, exactly? So happy you asked!
We're Melissa White and Elena Urioste — violinists, yoginis, and dear friends — who spend much of our lives on the road, performing and jet-setting around the world. Melissa, a first-prize laureate in the Sphinx Competition, has received critical acclaim for solo performances with some of America’s leading ensembles, including the Cleveland Orchestra; the Boston Pops; and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. As a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning
Harlem Quartet, she has appeared in many of the country’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the White House for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and the Kennedy Center; and internationally in Europe, Africa, Japan, and the U.K., where the ensemble is currently Quartet-in-Residence at the Royal College of Music in London. Melissa has enjoyed practicing various styles of yoga for over a decade and completed her 200-hr RYT in both Vinyasa and Ashtanga at Sampoorna Yoga School in Goa, India.
Elena, a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist (2012-14) and also a first-place laureate of the Sphinx Competition, has given acclaimed performances with major orchestras internationally including the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras; LA and New York Philharmonics; Boston Pops; the Chicago, National, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras; the London Philharmonic, Hallé, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Malaysia Philharmonic, and Chineke! Orchestras; and the BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, and BBC NOW, among others. She has performed regularly as a featured soloist in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and given recitals in such distinguished venues as the Wigmore Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center, Konzerthaus Berlin, Sage Gateshead, Bayerischer Rundfunk Munich, and the Mondavi Center. She has recorded albums for Decca, BIS Records, and Orchid Classics, and runs her own annual chamber music festival on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Elena is a 200-hr RYT Kripalu yoga teacher with over a decade of experience practicing various styles of yoga including Bikram, Fierce Grace, alignment-based vinyasa, and more.
We met in 2003 via a combination of ENCORE School for Strings, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Sphinx Organization and quickly became wonderful friends and natural collaborators. Unbeknownst to each other, we stumbled upon our respective yoga practices at exactly the same time in two different cities! Over the past decade, the benefits that we've both experienced as a result of a regular yoga practice have been innumerable, from improved muscular control in our violin playing to an increase in self-discipline to a greater sense of peace with the world around us. Both active teachers within our musical careers, we've often found ourselves advising students to explore principles learned in yoga as much as those from our own musical studies. The truth is, the two fields are inextricably linked, and out of this realization the idea for Intermission was born.
And finally, a little fun fact: we both began playing the violin as a result of watching the very same episode of Sesame Street in 1988!