Violin Rocker – from The Metropolitan Opera to CBGB's in a day.

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A week after the opera season closed with a performance of Tosca at the Lincoln Centre, Met violinist Katherine Fong, stood on the main stage of the soon to close venerable CBGB's with rock band Audio Fiction. After that she ended up in the country's most famous gossip column - The New York Post's Page Six. That was just her first "gig."

When one thinks of classical music, one conjures up an audience sitting quietly immersed in symphonic works, chamber music, opera, and ballet. However, in the last several years, artists from Metallica to Coldplay have been using strings in their music to enhance their rock sound. Most recently violinists, such as Miri Ben-Ari (hip-hop), Andrew Bird and Sean Mackin (Yellowcard) , no longer the background track on an album, have been taking center stage with rock acts.

However, Metropolitan Opera violinist Katherine Fong’s path was quite different. A week after the opera season closing night of Tosca at the Met, she stood on the main stage at the soon to close venerable CBGB's with rock band Audio Fiction and ended up in the New York Post's Page Six gossip column. That was just her first "gig."

Gone is the conservative black evening attire, only to be replaced on stage with short skirts, fishnet stockings and pigtails in her hair.

Violinist Ms. Fong recently joined female fronted New York rock act Audio Fiction. Having never played in a rock band before, she took to her new role seamlessly. Ms. Fong, who graduated from The Juilliard School with a master’s degree, began playing violin at age 3 and had trained solely in the classical world focusing on solo repertoire for violin and chamber music. She won her position at The Metropolitan Opera at the young age of 24.

"Finding Katherine was a stroke of luck,” says Audio Fiction's drummer, Mark O'Toole. "We had been considering finding another guitarist to fill out our sound a bit more, but then we happened upon Katherine on a night out. I asked her what sort of music she liked and was amazed that she wasn't really all that familiar with rock acts," which was not all that surprising given her classically trained background.

"They seemed shocked and a little disappointed that I didn't know all their favorite bands," says Ms. Fong. "But I really was looking to do something completely different musically and I liked their sound. I asked to come to a rehearsal anyway." That performance blew the band away. The rest is history.

Ms. Fong has an incredible innate sense for melody and rock and has now become an integral part of the band, while also singing backup on parts where she doesn't play. Added Mr. O'Toole, "You can really tell the difference with her violin playing. The audience goes wild after she does her solos. She really stands out."

While still performing at the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Fong plays and records with the band on her off days and nights.

Audio Fiction

Since their debut in early 2003, the band has been making a name for itself throughout New York City and the nation, putting on dozens of energetic live shows, and releasing its first EP, Songs in the Key of Orange Alert, to wide national acclaim. Reviewers, fans and people who know good music describe Audio Fiction's sound as throw-back power-pop-rock-punk, a la the Pretenders, Blondie or Garbage, with catchy riffs and deceptively serious lyrics.

In his rare moments not playing drums, their drummer, has become fodder for the New York gossip columns, including The NY Post's "Page Six" and The Daily News' "Rush & Molloy," getting snagged for everything from his appearance on HBO's New York "Taxicab Confessions," to a run-in with The Strokes and Drew Barrymore. All this press has garnered the band a bit of notoriety, grassroots interest, and headline gigs at top venues. The band is back in the studio working on a material for a new record.

The band plays The Lion’s Den 8pm, August 31st and Arlene’s Grocery, NYC Sept 21st (the week the Met Opera season begins).

They make special guest appearances for A Leg to Stand On's Rocktober Fest at BB King’s Blues Club Oct 21st and the M.E.A.N.Y Festival at The Knitting Factory Oct 13th both in New York City.

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