Nora Francesca Germain
Jazz violinist Nora Francesca Germain is the first ever violinist to graduate with a BA in Jazz Studies at the renowned USC Thornton School of Music. An alumna of the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy High School in southern California, Germain was awarded the "Inspirational Jazz Student" Award in 2009 by her longtime 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. Her parents and grandmother were all strings players (two were violinists, one a cellist) in the Madison Symphony. Introduced to the violin at age 2, Germain was raised in Madison, Wisconsin as a classical violinist. At age 10, she was already sitting in with professional bands and venturing outside of her classical training.
Now often called a huge talent, old soul, bright star of inspirational friend, Germain is one of the most diverse violinists on the scene. She has performed as a featured soloist with the Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra, whose guests have included Gilbert Castellanos, Evan Christopher, and Richie Cole. She has also collaborated with Alan Paul of The Manhattan Transfer, American Idol Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams, and 222 Records artist Rozzi Crane.
Amidst working as a marketing intern for EMI, Virgin, Capitol and Blue Note record companies, she studied jazz at The New School in New York City from 2009-2011. From that time, she appeared on numerous occasions in New York and L.A. with mentor and friend, vanguard pianist Jonathan Batiste and his band, Stay Human.
In addition to her live performances, Germain enjoys working on films and has worked on half of a dozen Hallmark Channel movies on camera and in the recording studio. She also enjoys producing her own recordings and released a trio E.P. called “Let It Rip!” in 2013 and another E.P. called "Generation Gap" in 2014. For fun, she performs in The USC Thornton Gala Orchestra and accompanied Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Frey of The Eagles and Barry Manilow. Today, she is a regular on the L.A. and San Diego music scenes, receiving praise from San Diego Reader who described Germain's playing as "a glorious onslaught of pure swing."
She also performs for the patients and their families and friends at Children's Hospital Los Angeles under the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artist Program, taking requests in every genre. Dedicated to learning and exploration, Germain is an advocate for culture, health, arts, and sciences. She has studied many subjects including dance, emergency medicine, ocean and earth sciences, the Spanish language (her grandmother is from Barcelona, Spain) and Buddhism.
Music, however, is Germain's first love, and her appreciation of jazz and American culture is at the forefront of her style. She values integrity and prefers "nothing too artificial," she says with a smile. In an often-made comparison between Nora Germain and Stephane Grappelli, All About Jazz said, "Jazz violin is alive and well."