A Unique Virtuoso Viola Violinist
Composing * Film Scoring * Arranging * Healing * Musical Collaborations
Tony has devoted his life to music and to become a master of sound. Played from the heart rather than written, spontaneity is where Tony is at his best.
Tony Selvage began his musical career at age three, inspired by his singer/actress mother, Ennid Zamboni, to learn the violin. His father, Morris Coffin Selvage, was a successful trumpet player. Music is in his genes.
He attended the Cornish School of Music at the age of 10 from 1950-1955 and studied with Frank Beezhold, concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He continued practicing until his sophomore year in high school when he moved to Florida with his family and could not find a suitable place to continue his studies.
After several years in the Navy during the Vietnam War and working in various jobs following, Tony returned to the violin at the age of 30 when his oldest of four daughters, Keirstin, started strumming a guitar with a pencil and singing. She was just 1½ years-old in Laurel Canyon across the street from Bettie Davis’ house. She sang in Tony’s original band, BA KA DA, until the age of 7 and inspired him to devote his life to music, as his parents did before him.
Tony began to audit classes at the California Institute of the Arts and performed their first Environmental Concert. He got the chance to play for Quincy Jones at MoTown Records and played at numerous at Hollywood parties while learning massage and chiropractic techniques. He also played for the very first Topanga Days as well as the Palisades Symphony Orchestra. He later performed with the Topanga Symphony Orchestra, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum and on the Americana Show with Pete Seeger in 1976.
Tony quickly made friends with many “greats” in the music industry, playing spontaneous jams during the musical golden years of Los Angeles, and even started his own band, BA KA DA ( BA = Outer soul spirit universe, KA = Inner soul, DA = NOW/ NAO = vibrations of now, death, life, a Chinese Ideogram).
Since then, Tony has performed solo all over the world and with a wide array of top performers, including six-time Grammy Award winner, Keoki Kahumoku, and is recipient of numerous music awards and honors. He has also scored numerous films and TV shows, including Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Slow Morning Rain (1978), a film by William Moritz, The Mancini Generation, The Midnight Special, and received a standing ovation and a score of “10” from Steve Martin on The Gong Show.
Tony is capable of touching souls through a broad variety of music, transcending language and culture. His artistry has allowed him to work with many masters in the music industry like Bob Dylan, Mick Fleetwood and Tom Petty, Ella Fitzgerald, Emmy Lou Harris and Taj Mahal, among many others.
Music is more than just sounds for Tony. It is a vibrational resource that can be used for healing. His intuition and insight led him to understand that just as vibrating strings produce the sound of a violin, sound can access the natural vibrations inside us to calm or excite, harm or heal.
Tony’s professional focus engages the complexities of music theory, neuroscience, the body’s immune system and the deepest philosophical and metaphysical issues of who we are. He discovered that people could walk in tired or ill and leave refreshed and hopeful.
His style became so unique that he was sought by politicians for brain-waving sessions, by businessmen to relieve pressure and stimulate productive problem solving, by musicians for relaxation and creative channeling, and by doctors to augment healing. His music is currently being used in research for reducing stress and for healing a variety of medical disorders from insomnia to asthma.
Tony says, “I just let go and tune deeply into what the person needs. To use a musical term, I resonate with their deepest part. Then I just let go with what ever comes through me.” He categorizes his solo genre as “Cosmic Classical Jazz:” COSMIC – Because it comes from God; CLASSICAL – Training; JAZZ – Improvisation.
Tony’s music has long been used nationally and internationally as a conduit for finding one’s own inner light. Endorsed and used as a research tool at the National Institute for Mental Health since 1986, Tony’s music is used for all types of healing and well respected in the metaphysical arena. At St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, Dr. Darren Kowalski uses Tony’s music during surgery. Tony recently donated his album, Harmonic Dreamtime, to the World Peace Organization for helping our veterans sleep and deal with the stress of war they bring home.
In 1981, Tony played at the unveiling of a statue of John Lennon. Ironically, words written by Lennon could have mirrored the saving, magical quality of Tony’s music: “Turn off your mind and float downstream. It is not dying. It is not dying. That you may see the meaning from within. It is shining. It is shining.”
He has now become a notable musical innovator with his electric violin viola. His lifelong journey has evolved into a rare gift for all who experience his music. Tony has been a pioneer of New Age Music while living in Topanga Canyon – Los Angeles, California during the late 1960s and continues to push the limits of musical genres to this day, playing with a variety of bands, from rap singers and reggae musicians, to electronica DJs and new age sounds, to classic blues and jazz groups.
At his core, Tony serves as a channel that uncovers sounds that can help the human mind, body, and soul and find health, harmony and actualization. Upon hearing his unique playing, no one is left untouched.