Fiddleheads' Rhiannon Nachbaur Wins Okanagan Classical Musician Award
Jump to Press Release - Bio - MP3 Sample
Rhiannon won the award for "Classical Artist of the Year" at the 2006 Okanagan Music Awards held in Vernon, British Columbia on September 26, 2006. Pictured with Salmon Arm's Greg Sczebel, winner in the Gospel Artist category.
October 1, 2006
Violinist and fiddler Rhiannon Nachbaur of Salmon Arm has something musical to celebrate. The 29-year-old owner of Fiddleheads Violin Studio has just taken home a 2006 Okanagan Musician Award for “Classical Artist of the Year.”
Last summer Nachbaur was reading a press release with the complete list of nominees in twenty-four music categories and was completely shocked to see her name listed in the classical category. The nominees were selected by a reader's poll in a spring issue of the Okanagan Musician Magazine, a publication which Nachbaur is a regular contributing writer.
Other classical nominess included guitarist Manfred, soprano Alexandra Babbel and violinist Melissa Wilmot. Each nominee was asked to submit a bio, photo and MP3 file for the judges' panel to review. The panel was made up of over a dozen Okanagan and area radio station and media professionals who carefully reviewed each of the 109 submissions.
At the awards show on September 26 Nachbaur's name was called as winner and she almost did a double take. “My husband was beside me and he yelled 'you won!' and I found myself wandering up to the stage,” she said. “It was surreal, like a dream. They were playing my music on the speakers and I thought how weird it was to be on stage and hear my music and yet I wasn't even playing!”
Nachbaur had no prepared speech but thanked the awards show for the opportunity and her husband for being there with her. Nachbaur also said how honoured she was to be nominated with such high-calibre musicians who she has enourmous respect for. She gave special thanks to the community of Salmon Arm for their ongoing support of her violin school and shop and the Shuswap Violin Society, the non-profit music-focused group she started in 2003.
Salmon Arm musicians did very well in the awards. Other local winners include Gospel Artist/Group of the Year Greg Sczebel, Blues Artist/Group of the Year Salmon Armenians. Blu Hopkins and Silver Creek was nominated in the Bluegrass Artist/Group of the Year category.
Below is the information Rhiannon submitted to the final review committee for their hopeful acceptance and approval.
Rhiannon Nachbaur is not your typical classical musician. A child of classical music/ heavy metal hippies in the late '70's, Rhiannon teethed on a hearty mix of Beethoven and Led Zeppelin and has grown up happily nestled between two vastly different music worlds ever since.
Self-taught on violin and viola since age 12 in her native California, Rhiannon was an natural performer who played in numerous youth orchestras, sometimes as concertmaster, and racked up festival certificates and music awards including the 1995 Bank of America Achievement Award in the Field of Music.
The violin, classical in nature, had kept her playing the classics but Rhiannon always wished to explore her "rock" roots. In college she strayed from the typical musician's conservatory and became the first violinist to be accepted at Nelson's Selkirk College Professional Music Program. She studied jazz and contemporary music as well as MIDI, composition and film scoring before earning a performance diploma with honours and proving to herself that violin had a place in contemporary music after all.
Rhiannon, age 29, does everything with gusto. Her business, Fiddleheads Violin Studio, has earned several BC business awards for Service Excellence, Creativity in Business and Young Entrepreneurship and has a three year waiting list for lessons.
Further living and breathing violin, Rhiannon started up the non-profit Shuswap Violin Society which provides workshops, scholarships, coffeehouses and an instrument lending bank and who's membership includes fiddling icon Natalie MacMaster and classical virtuoso Susanne Hou.
A zealous classical promoter, Rhiannon has also acted as festival and workshop coordinator, concert emcee, classical radio show host on Kootenay Co-Op Radio, orchestral arranger for School District #83 and as a classical music columnist with BC Musician and Australia's Music Teacher Magazines. This on top of being a wife and mother of a 6-year old son.
Rhiannon hosts sold-out classical house concerts in Salmon Arm every six to twelve months with pianists Anna Hostman (residence composer for the Victoria Symphony) and Anita Liebich. She's also played first violin with various BC orchestras including the Kamloops Symphony and Dawson Creek Opera, where she was assistant Concertmaster in 1999. And though Rhiannon still plays classical by day, she has moonlit as a fiddler with jazz, country, disco, celtic, rock and world beat bands and wows audiences with her unconventional 5-string electric violin with effects.
Her aptitude for improvisation and arranging make this classical violinist a high demand session player who does more than just play by the notes, but writes solos and harmonies on the fly. Her melodic classical-style improvisation has been featured on several BC albums, live at the 2005 Scorpion Awards with guitarist Les Copeland, and countless times nationally on CBC Radio in 2004 on a spoken word collaboration with James Murray and his touching Christmas tribute to his dog,"Duffy."
It's easy to see how Rhiannon's classical playing has been influenced by her rock background as she is not the conventional diva violinist. She has developed her own intense classical-fiddle-gypsy fusion, a la "Classical with a Twist," which clearly demonstrates her musical versatility and command of style. Her choices of mild modern repertoire in concert, say anything from Tangos to Ragtimes, and unique renditions of the classics challenge the classical listener to hear something different in the old standards.
In the new "been there, done that" classical music scene, Rhiannon's passion for intense music along with her innovative interpretation and boundless energy on stage make her riveting performances a welcome breath of fresh air. www.rhiannon.ca
Listen to her MP3 that was submitted to the judging committee after her nomination.
1. Canon in D minor by Johann Pachelbel (excerpt). From Caroline MacKay's "Tidings of Light" (2002). Rhiannon's part was recorded in only two takes, one for each violin track.
2. Sonatina in G, Op. 100, 1st Mvt by Antonín Dvořák (excerpt). Featuring Anita Liebich, piano. Recorded live in concert (2006).
3. El Choclo, Argentinan Tango by Angel Villoldo (excerpt). Featuring Anita Liebich, piano. Recorded live in house concert, (2006).
4. Who is This, Celtic excerpt from Bill Olsen's "Take Me There" (2003). Astonishingly quick-paced 5-string electric violin part was learned and recorded in under an hour.