Sonya N. Hayes is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She began playing the violin at the age of three. She attended Master Classes presented by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the University of Tennessee and Suzuki Summer Camps at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Wisconsin. When Sonya was twelve she auditioned at Indiana University and was accepted to study with Josef Gingold, founder of the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Her early studies were also with such renowned violinists as Lawrence Shapiro, Ricardo Cyncynates , and Robert Gerle. At age seventeen, after an impromptu performance for the Board of Directors of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Sonya was awarded a full four-year scholarship for her under graduate university studies. While seeking a Master’s degree in violin performance from Catholic University, she studied with Robert Gerle.
Sonya Hayes made her solo debut with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. Since, she has performed as guest soloist with orchestras such as National Symphony Orchestra (Young People’s Concert Series), the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Discovery Concert Series) the Prince George’s Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis Philharmonic. Ms. Hayes performs solo and chamber music recitals in numerous venues throughout the country, including the University of Indianapolis, Pope Paul II Cultural Center, Smithsonian Institute, French Embassy, Norwegian Embassy, and the Brazilian Arts and Cultural Institute. She teaches violin in Washington, D.C. and frequently presents Master Classes where she performs.
Frequently called upon to perform chamber music and solo recitals, Sonya has performed at wealth of venues. She has performed with such musical notables as James Taylor, Diana Krall, Will Downing, Manhattan Transfer, Blackstreet, Shirley Ceasar, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turintine, Boys to Men, Sir Elton John, and Regina Carter. Sonya performed on The Prince of Egypt Disney Movie Sound track with Boys to Men and on Shirley Ceasar’s Christmas CD. Most recently, she was invited to be Concertmaster for The Montovani Orchestra’s for 2011 tour of China.