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25 year-old American jazz violinist Nora Francesca Germain has been playing the violin for over 20 years and performing professionally for the last decade. She studied at Idyllwild Arts Academy, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. She currently lives in Los Angeles and performs regularly as a leader both in the United States and Europe. She has also performed with many of the world's greatest musical talents including John Altman, Alison Burns, Jacob Collier, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Evan Christopher, Marshall Hawkins, Casey Abrams, Sam Smith, Tommy Emmanuel CGP, John Etheridge, Martin Taylor MBE and Zane Carney. In addition to playing on frequent recording sessions for film and television and for musical artists in just about any genre, she has also released five of her own albums as well as an inspirational book, and is quickly becoming one of today's most loved talents in jazz. She has volunteered performances for numerous charities in the United States and abroad, has performed for the Eckhart Tolle Foundation at the request of Eckhart himself, and from 2014-2016 performed on a weekly basis at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.
25 year-old 1/4 Catalan, 3/4 American violinist Nora Francesca Germain is an author, jazz musician, bandleader and recording artist. She was the first ever violinist to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the renowned USC Thornton School of Music. An alumna of Idyllwild Arts Academy, the renowned boarding arts high school in southern California, Germain was given the "Inspirational Jazz Student" Award at the age of 17 by her mentor and fellow collaborator Marshall Hawkins, former bassist for Miles Davis and Shirley Horn. She was also the first jazz violin graduate of Idyllwild Arts Academy. Now often called an irreplaceable talent, old soul, bright star or inspirational friend, Germain is one of the most diverse young violinists in the world. She is beyond category. Having played the violin for over 21 years, she has performed alongside a wide variety of musicians and entertainers in every generation alive today. In 2015 she was named a "Rising Star of Jazz Violin" by Downbeat Magazine and has often received encouragement and praise not only from violinists but also from distinguished musicians like Morris Hayes, Prince's longtime Musical Director, Clayton Cameron, drummer for Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett, vocalist Alison Burns, and pianist Jon Batiste, band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Nora was introduced to music by her violinist parents and cellist grandmother who were all members of the Madison Symphony. Her maternal grandmother was also a musician -- a pianist and singer from Barcelona, Spain, and Nora's two grandfathers were both intellectuals and academics who pursued careers in the sciences and teaching. Her mother later became a violin teacher and co-founded the Suzuki Strings of Madison classical violin school in the early 1990s, Nora being among the first class of students. Her father later became a violin luthier and restorer. At age 10, she was already performing and improvising with bands and venturing outside of her classical training. During the 1990s and early 2000s, she performed a year-round calendar of children's violin showcases and concerts with Suzuki Strings of Madison and often participated in violin masterclasses led by among others, violinists Mark O'Connor and Hilary Hahn.
In recent years she has been seen at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards playing with Sam Smith and as featured soloist with Marshall Hawkins' Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra. While studying at USC, she accompanied artists including Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Frey of The Eagles, Barry Manilow and Arturo Sandoval. She has also performed in New York, London, Los Angeles and elsewhere with virtuoso jazz artists Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Jacob Collier, Evan Christopher, Casey Abrams and John Altman. She has also appeared and recorded alongside several of the world's greatest guitar players including Martin Taylor MBE, John Etheridge (both former guitarists with Stephane Grappelli), Tommy Emmanuel CGP, longtime Guitar Craft experts Nigel Gavin and Steve Ball, and King Crimson band member Trey Gunn. In 2014 she toured the United States as a soloist with Indian pop musician and film composer DSP, and she has also recorded as a soloist with a number of singers and solo artists including Sandi Thom, JMSN and Alan Paul of The Manhattan Transfer. She has been featured as a guest and co-host on Scott Cowie's Talk Music Podcast as well as ICMP's The Musical Life podcast and The Creative Life podcast with James Taylor. She also performed in London at Pizza Express in Soho under her own name in 2015 and was chosen by LivAmp, one of the global leaders in live music streaming, to be the first artist ever to live stream a concert from the venue. In 2016 she was asked to perform for the Eckhart Tolle Foundation whose other presenters included Michael Bernard Beckwith, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle. Also in 2016, she was featured in a music video with "Postmodern Jukebox" performing the theme from Family Guy.
In addition to performing, Germain has also worked on numerous independent films, TV movies and music videos both on camera and in the recording studio. Those include movies for Hallmark Channel, episodes of Drunk History, Glee, music videos for JMSN and KNOWER, and other projects. In 2016 alone she played on over 50 recordings. By age 25, she produced and released five of her own jazz albums as well as an inspirational book, "Go For It ...Surviving the Challenges of Becoming an Artist." Currently focused both in jazz as well as writing original songs reminiscent of the disco and Motown eras, she is set to release a sixth album featuring primarily original material in 2017.
For three years she performed taking requests on a weekly basis for patients and families at Children's Hospital Los Angeles under the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artist Program. Germain is an advocate for health, arts, science, and activism in the environmental, social and political realms. In addition to her fascinations with cosmology, evolution, astrophysics and other science topics, she has also studied piano, dance, emergency medicine, oceanography, environmental science, the Spanish language and Buddhism. She is also passionate about animal and human rights and has performed for several charities in the United States and abroad. Guitarist Martin Taylor described Germain as having a "very wise head on very young shoulders." Some may be surprised to see a young woman her age walk onto a bandstand with a violin, but that all changes the moment that she begins to play. It's no wonder that in an often-made comparison between Nora Germain and Stephane Grappelli, All About Jazz declared, "Jazz violin is alive and well."