A violist with the Kontras Quartet, Ai Melby has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as Principal Violist. She has traveled the world to appear at music festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival; the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, where she worked with the Tokyo String Quartet; and the Pacific Music Festival, where she performed with members of the Vienna Philharmonic. Ishida was born in Tokyo to two musicians of the New Japan Philharmonic. In Japan, she studied viola at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Her viola studies continued at Northern Illinois University, where she won the concerto competition and performed Bartok’s Viola Concerto. Her teachers include Richard Young, Li-Kuo Chang, Yukiko Ogura and the Vermeer Quartet. Recent performances include master classes with Nobuko Imai and Yo-Yo Ma, and a show at Chicago’s Green Mill following studies with jazz master David Bloom.