The Ultimate Accompaniment: The String Queens and Gregory Porter at DC JazzFest
By August 28, 2023 0 365•
The 19th annual DC Jazz Festival is coming to town August 30 through this Labor Day weekend with a hot lineup of musicians including local esteemed trio, The String Queens (TSQ), who’ll be opening for Gregory Porter at The Anthem on September 1. Kendall Isadore, Dawn Johnson, and Élise Sharp make up TSQ and will combine their talents in violin, viola, and cello to captivate listeners with their unique and powerful sound.
Between the three women are dozens of awards and recognitions for their musical and educational accomplishments. Isadore performs everything from gospel to pop hits and has performed with recognized artists like Josh Groban and Fantasia. Isadore is also classically trained in piano and voice. Johnson graduated from The Juilliard School in New York City and has received many honors including the Peter Mennin Award in Music. Johnson was also a quarter finalist for the Grammy Music Educator award. Sharp is a DC Youth Orchestra Program prodigy and trained under the great Mstislav Rostropovich. She has also played alongside some of the greatest vocalists of all time including Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.
Not only are The String Queens accomplished performers, but they’re also active community members working in both music education and administration across the D.C. metro area. Isadore founded youth music programs in two KIPP DC locations and has taught and coached strings for many years. Johnson served as an educator for The Killington Music Festival in Vermont and the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Sharp taught at the DC Youth Orchestra Program for 20 years and is currently a music program director at a local charter school. In 2022, TSQ was awarded the “Jazz Education Award” by DC JazzFest for remarkable service to the community.
Together, The String Queens have a special chemistry that creates a “soulful and authentic” sound showcased at the “We Are One” concert at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration and The Wimbledon Championships that summer. TSQ recently released their latest album, RISE, featuring a composition of familiar songs “rooted in hope, joy, peace, and love.” Audiences can expect a feel-good, breathtaking show with a variety of sounds and beats.
TSQ will precede a performance by Gregory Porter, two-time Grammy award-winning jazz artist compared to the likes of Nat King Cole and Stevie Wonder.
The Georgetowner spoke with Sunny Sumter, President, and CEO of the DC Jazz Festival. “The soulful orchestral sounds of The Strings Queens are the perfect opener to Gregory Porter for DC JazzFest at The Anthem,” said Sumter. “We love to shine the spotlight on D.C’.s own and they’re a fan favorite.”
The DC Jazz Festival will be August 30 through September 3. Be sure to check out www.dcjazzfest.org for tickets and additional information.