Music Study: THE VIOLYMPICS (Nathan Cole)

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by Connor McCormick on May 25, 2021

in Music


Nathan Cole, our very own First Associate Concertmaster for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will launch the second installment of The Violympics on June 14, 2021. A series of 6 two-week training events, The Violympics give violinists of all levels and experiences the tools to advance their craft like never before. Visit to learn more and join the virtual Violympic Village, June 14 – Sept. 5, 2021. Registration open June 1 – 9; tuition is $797.

The Violympians will be tasked with learning 6 challenge pieces during each two-week training event, and will perform each work for special guest violinists Noah Bendix-Balgley, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Jennifer Koh, Kerson Leong and Gil Shaham. Nathan has partnered with his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, and former Chair of Composition David Ludwig, to co-commission five new works by Curtis compositions students. The sixth challenge piece will be a work that Ludwig, now Dean and Director of Juilliard’s Music Division, composed for Jennifer Koh in 2016.

Each of the special guest violinists will appear with Nathan during a special Zoom session to coach the Violympians and help them prepare for the performance event. The Curtis composition students will select the top 10 performances from each event, and the special guest violinist will choose the winner, who will win a trip to Philadelphia to spend two days with Nathan Cole at the Curtis Institute of Music. The winner will get a lesson from Cole, and will observe lesions, classes, rehearsals and performances at Curtis.

The inaugural Violympics was launched in June 2020, and served over 400 students from 30 countries and 43 U.S. states. Guided by Nathan’s mentorship, participants explored crucial fundamentals in a fun format while building an online global community of musicians.

The Violympics is an extension of an online teaching platform that began over a decade ago, when Nathan started posting instructional videos on YouTube. Expecting to attract maybe 25-50 people, he instead quickly had an online student base in the thousands. He realized there were not many solutions for advanced training online, so he refined his offerings over the years to focus on this niche.

About Nathan Cole

Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has appeared as guest concertmaster with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Ottawa, Seattle, and Oregon. He was previously a member of the Chicago Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A native of Lexington, KY, he made his debut with the Louisville Orchestra at the age of ten while studying with Donna Wiehe. After eight years working with Daniel Mason, Cole enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition to his studies there with Pamela Frank, Felix Galimir, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo, Cole formed the Grancino String Quartet, debuting in New York’s Weill Hall. Several summers at Marlboro enriched his love of chamber music. While in Chicago, Nathan taught at Roosevelt University and coached the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently on the faculty at the Colburn School, with classes at the Colburn Conservatory and USC. His articles and photographs have appeared in Strings, Symphony, and Chamber Music magazines.

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