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Katharine Nelson is a classically trained violinist who is passionate about performing and teaching. She will add poetry to the air through her music at your next special event. As a teacher, she provides violin or viola lessons to help students improve musicianship and produce a beautiful tone.


Katharine (Kate) Nelson, is an undergraduate student majoring in Violin Performance at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studies with Simin Ganatra, violinist of the world-renowned Pacifica Quartet. She has performed with Indiana University’s Concert Orchestra and Conductor’s Orchestra.

For three years prior to Indiana University, Kate studied with Almita Vamos and Davis King at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy as a Scholarship Fellow.

Kate began playing the violin at age 6 through a local Suzuki program, Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings, with teacher Suzanne Brookes Rickman. In 2020 she was awarded Honorable Mention at the DuPage Symphony Orchestra Young Artist competition. She performed with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) from 2015-2018. In 2018 she was awarded Honorable Mention at the CYSO Concerto Competition. In 2016 Kate was invited to perform for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in their annual “Rising Stars” concert and returned to their stage to perform again in 2020 and 2021. As a pre-collegiate musician, Kate performed regularly at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL and Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, IL with the Academy string orchestra, chamber groups, and as a solo artist. She continues to perform at various cathedrals, churches, schools, and charitable events. In January 2020 she organized a classical music concert that raised $3,154 for the regional homeless shelter, PADS. She has a diverse repertoire and has performed numerous times as a soloist at venues such as the United Center in Chicago, IL and Notre Dame University’s Joyce Center in South Bend, IN as well as with bands at summertime festivals. 

In 2019 Kate’s quartet was a quarter-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In 2021 her quartet, Carmen, won second place at the Young Rembrandt’s Chamber Music Competition, was a finalist at the St. Paul Chamber Music Competition, and was a quarter-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Her quartet was also featured on Chicago’s classical music radio station WFMT on their Introductions program in 2021.

Kate began teaching beginner and intermediate violin student lessons for the Sounds of Illinois Community Music Center in 2020. She has also been a guest performer and guest teacher at schools in Illinois School Districts #161 and #153.

Kate has enjoyed summer music institutes at Bowdoin International Music Festival, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and the Suzuki Institute in Beaver Creek, Colorado. She has taken master classes with YoYo Ma, Jorja Fleezanis, Lindsey Deutsch, Stephanie Arado, Nurit Pacht, Vadim Gluzman, Mikhail Kopelman, Lina Bahn, and both the Cavani and Verona String Quartets. Kate is passionate about connecting with new listeners and students and to that end, is building an active presence on Instagram and Facebook accounts @knviolinist.

Special Events

Kate rocked me at my daughter’s wedding when she began to play A Thousand Years as the procession started. Kate’s playing is so emotive that it always makes me catch my breath and I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes as she played. She is a stunning performer who will make any event unforgettable.

~Julie Schmidt, Mother of the Bride

What kind of events are appropriate for a violinist?

Violinists can be a great addition to nearly any event. Kate’s classical style makes her a great addition to formal occasions, weddings, proposals, and funerals. Due to her ability to play a wide variety of styles and genres, violin music is also perfect for a variety of community events, fundraisers, or even birthday parties.

How much does it cost to hire a violinist?

On average, Kate charges $175 per hour, which includes one on-site rehearsal prior to the event. Prices can vary depending on your location, travel distance, and the songs that you’re requesting to be performed.

Can I request specific songs or pieces to be performed?

Absolutely! In addition to Kate’s list of classical repertoire, she has experience playing a wide variety of music from Irish to pop. With enough notice, she can learn new songs for your event. However, depending on the song, it may result in an additional charge for the time spent learning the new piece(s).

What styles of music can Kate perform?

Kate is classically trained and well-versed in a variety of classical pieces. However, this is not the only style of music that she performs! She can also perform versions of pop, country, and even Irish jigs. Prior to booking, be sure to let the Kate know what kind of sound you’re looking for.

How long is a typical performance?

A typical performance “set” is 30-45 minutes. If your event is several hours long, you will want to discuss the length of the performance as well as the break times in-between sets.

What equipment does Kate need?

Kate requires a seat, music stand, sheet music, and her instrument. Typically, the performance is acoustic so electrical power is not a concern unless the venue is large enough to require mics. Sound equipment and control is not included in her pricing and may require additional professional assistance. Please ensure the day goes smoothly by asking Kate what she will need you to provide.


Kate has been a valuable member of our teaching team. Her approach with students puts them at ease, and helps them to become strong fundamental players.

~ Rob Calhoon, Artistic Director, Sounds of Illinois Community Music Center

What is Kate's approach?

Students will receive quality instruction in a positive learning environment. Kate offers violin and viola lessons to students ages 5 through adult. Music lasts a lifetime, so why set limits?

During lessons, students will learn healthy techniques based on their natural talents and best practices. Musical expression of varied styles is encouraged and explored as students progress in lessons. It is also very important that students become musically literate, which is why Kate takes time during lessons to teach basic music theory.

Kate will help you master bowing and finger techniques needed to excel at both the violin and viola!

How much do lessons cost?

Kate offers 30 and 60-minute lessons. 30-minute lessons cost $20 and 60-minute lessons cost $40. Prices are based on in-studio or Zoom lessons, though travel can be arranged for an additional charge. The cost of books and music is not included in the lesson fee.

When is my lesson payment due and how do I pay?

For your convenience, you may pay with cash, check, or Zelle. Payment is due at the time of the lesson.

If a payment is missed, future lessons will not be given until the past payment is made.

As a parent/guardian do I need to attend my child's lesson?

Kate encourages you to attend all lessons. However, you may leave during the lesson, but she asks that you please be sure to return on time.

What if I need to reschedule or cancel my lesson?

Please email Kate ( to notify her at least 24 hours in advance if you need to re-schedule or miss a lesson. Each student can reschedule/cancel one lesson per 3-month period. Additional cancellations could result in the termination of future lessons.


Do not let her youth and sweet demeanor fool you. Kate Nelson possesses the rare combination of unparalleled focus plus pure talent, and the result is experience well beyond her years. Her performance at my wedding was the buzz of the evening and I would rehire her in a heartbeat.

~Anneke Knot, Bride

Classical Solo Repertoire
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian – Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006.1
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian – Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
    • I. Adagio 
    • II. Fuga 
  • Barber, Samuel – Violin Concerto 
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van – Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 
  • Bruch, Max – Violin Concerto no. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 
  • De Bériot, Charles-Auguste – Scène de Ballet, Op. 100 
  • Kreisler, Fritz – Praeludium and Allegro “in the style of Pugnani”
  • Kreisler, Fritz – Tambourin Chinois  
  • Lalo Symphonie Espagnole
  • Massenet, Jules – Thais Meditation 
  • Mendelssohn, Felix – Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 
  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus – Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216 
  • Paganini, Niccolò – Caprice No. 13, 14, 16, 20 
  • Schubert, Franz – Sonatina Op. 137, No. 1, D. 384 
  • Wieniawski, Henryk – Polonaise de Concert No. 1 in D Major, Op. 4 
  • Wieniawski, Henryk – Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22

**Additional music styles and titles may be available upon request!**


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Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor: I. Allegro molto appassionato

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Mendelssohn String Quartet in D Major Op. 44, No. 1: IV. Presto con brio

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Albeniz/Kreisler Tango


    © KN Violinist