Tona Brown, a renowned American violinist and mezzo-soprano, has left an indelible mark on the international stage as the first transgender woman to grace the prestigious Carnegie Hall. Beyond this groundbreaking achievement, she holds the distinction of being the inaugural African American transgender woman to perform for a sitting American president.

In 2006, Brown embarked on a transformative journey as a featured artist in the “Tranny Road Show,” a multimedia tour group spotlighting transgender talents that traversed from Florida to Canada. Her vocal prowess caught the attention of the White House, leading to her selection to perform the National Anthem for former President Barack Obama at the 2014 LGBTQ Leadership Gala Dinner in New York City—an honor that solidified her status as the first transgender artist to receive such recognition.

Tona Brown’s musical journey extends to various platforms, including the 2011 Out Music Awards and a remarkable performance at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in 2014. Her involvement in the full-length documentary film, “For Which We Stand” (2015), further showcases her commitment to LGBTQ and straight artists.

Notably, Brown’s talents shine on screen as well, with her recorded opera performance for Shenandoah University’s 2021 production of “Suor Angelica,” where she portrayed the role of La Zia Principessa. Additionally, she took on the lead transgender role as Hannah After in Laura Kaminsky’s opera “As One,” performed with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra in the fall of 2021 under the direction of Orlando Cela.

As an advocate for transgender issues and the arts, Tona Brown is a sought-after speaker, captivating audiences with her insights primarily on the east coast. Her commitment to breaking barriers extends to her online TV series, “Conversations with Tona Brown,” where she addresses trans issues and shares her experiences. Beyond her performances and advocacy, Brown generously imparts her knowledge through masterclasses on Transgender Voices for the Virginia National Association of Teachers of Singing, and she provides private lessons through her company, Aida Studios.

Offering words of encouragement to transgender youth, Brown emphasizes the importance of self-worth, urging them not to be deterred by others’ doubts. She stands as a powerful inspiration, proving that with determination and resilience, one can achieve their dreams despite societal obstacles related to identity. Tona Brown’s multifaceted contributions to music, advocacy, and education showcase her as a trailblazer and symbol of triumph over adversity.

Having known Tona for several years, I can say that Tona is a consummate professional. She is both an outstanding violin player and an accomplished vocal soloist. You can hear her passion in her performances and would never be disappointed in her performances. 

She has not neglected the business aspects of the arts, and has brought the drive that she brings to her music to understanding and developing her skills on the business side as well. 

She is a great mentor and role model for the next generation.


Online and In-Person DEI Training, Lessons, and Workshops.

Tona Brown, a captivating speaker and dedicated DEI trainer, is renowned concert violist. As a masterclass instructor through Aida Studios, she provides personalized lessons and mentorship, contributing to a more inclusive artistic community.