Dr. Elly Toyoda, a native of Osaka, Japan, has performed in major festivals in Asia, Europe, and North America. She holds her Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Marilyn McDonald on both modern and baroque violin, was elected membership to the National Music Honor Society for her academic and artistic achievements, and studied for a semester in Vienna, Austria, supported by the Thomastik-Infeld City of Music Scholarship and the Fine Arts Scholarship. She earned her Master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Syoko Aki, served as concertmistress of the orchestra, was a finalist of their concerto competition, and received the school’s Alumni Prize. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University, where she studied with Yura Lee, wrote her doctoral thesis Musical Paradoxes in the Violin Works of Olivier Messiaen, and graduated with the Irene Alm Memorial Prize and the Music Department Award, the school’s highest honors, in recognition of excellence in performance and scholarly research.
An avid supporter of contemporary music, Dr. Toyoda was awarded the Prix de Musique Contemporaine by the Fontainebleau Schools Association, has appeared on programs at the National Sawdust, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Elb Philharmonie in Germany, and has premiered numerous works through the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, and Talis Festival. She has been performing with Eighth Blackbird, the 4-time Grammy award-winning contemporary music ensemble, including a performance on the Gettysburg College campus in February 2020 and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, which was reviewed positively by the Washington Post. She will be featured in Martin Bresnick’s CD to be released by Cantaloupe Records, a label created by the Bang on a Can organization.
Her work in new music is supported by her extensive experience performing baroque, classical, and romantic music in venues and festivals worldwide. She has been a featured soloist in a program of baroque concertos performed by Rutgers faculty, and has performed standard repertory through solo and chamber recitals at the Château Fontainebleau in France, the Oratorio dei Disciplinanti in Italy, and the Symphony Hall and the Ishikawa Ongakudo in Japan, among others. Other public appearances include WFMT radio and WGBY television. She was a semi-finalist of the 2017 Gershwin International Music Competition, and a finalist of the 2018 Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.
Dr. Toyoda currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College, and as a Part-Time Lecturer teaching 20th and 21st-century Performance Practice at Rutgers University. She has previously served as a violin and viola faculty member at SpeakMusic Conservatory and Lindeblad School of Music, a secondary violin instructor at Oberlin and Yale, a tutor for Music Theory and Aural Skills, and a guest artist for teaching masterclasses at the University of Oklahoma and at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College.