The Diamond Strings Quartet
Nicole Walton is a classical violinist from Salt Lake City, UT where she began her violin studies at the age of four. Her natural musical talent enabled her to study with some of the finest teachers in the valley, as well as having the rare opportunity of being accepted to and attending Interlochen Arts Academy, one of the elite fine arts high schools in the country. She has received multiple scholarships throughout her high school and university education.
She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Utah Valley University in 2017 with bachelor degrees in violin performance and commercial music. While at UVU Nicole studied violin performance with Dr. Donna Fairbanks. While there she was also a member of Utah Valley University's Honors Quartet. They were frequently sought after to provide music for many VIP and exclusive UVU functions. Additional teachers of hers includes Rebecca McFaul (Fry Street Quartet and faculty at Utah State University), Leonard Brause, Paul Sommers, Julia Bushkova, Jack Ashton, and Debbie Moench. Nicole has also held many key seats in orchestras including Concertmistress, Assistant Concertmaster, and Principal Second. She has played in many of the best youth orchestras including the World Youth Symphony Orchestra where she had the opportunity to play with world renowned artists such as Andres Watts. In 2015 Nicole was invited to perform in the string section for Christian Howes' concert at the national ASTA convention. She is currently a member of both the Utah Valley Symphony and the Diamond Strings Quartet.
She currently resides in Orem, UT with her husband and three children.
Linda began studying violin at the age of 4. Her love of music continued and led her to Utah State University, where she majored in violin performance, studying under Rebecca McFaul (Fry Street Quartet). Throughout her career, she has played in many quartets and has played with the Utah Youth Symphony, Utah State University and has played with the Utah Opera Festival. She was invited to study and play in a quartet with Pergine Spettacolo Aperto, located in Italy. Currently, Linda is the second violinist of the Diamond Strings Quartet, a member of the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, as well as a wife and mother to two children.
Staci Armstrong has enjoyed playing the viola since the age of eight, where she began in her elementary school program in northern Utah. Her principal teachers Roberta Zalkind, Brian Finlayson, Brant Bayless, and Russell Fallstad.
She graduated cum laude at Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in viola performance. She continued her studies abroad at the Kärntnerlandeskonservatorium in Klagenfurt, Austria. Most recently, she received her Masters in Music and graduated with honors from the University of Utah. She has worked with performing artists and teachers including Karen Tuttle, Kim Kashkashian, Pinchas Zukerman, Martha Strongin Katz, Karen Richter, Jeffrey Irvine, Roland Vamos and Yizhak Schotten, as well as members of the Emerson, Pacifica, Brentano, Ying, and Cavani String Quartets.
Ms. Armstrong has enjoyed success as both a chamber and orchestral musician. During her schooling, she sat principal violist for the Utah State University Symphony Orchestra and Akadamie Orchestra in Austria. She has also played with the Utah Festival Opera Company, American Festival Chorus & Orchestra and The Orchestra at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She was awarded the viola position in the University of Utah Graduate String Quartet during her time there. She has performed with various string quartets in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, New York, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. Her repertoire includes string quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bartok, Ravel, Debussy, Dvorak, and Brahms.
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Staci currently works in marketing & graphic design, freelances in music, and teaches a small studio of gifted students. She plays on an Otto Erdez viola (1969). In her spare time, she prefers to play video games, binge watch TV series, and take naps. She resides in West Jordan, Utah with her husband, son, two rescue dogs, and adopted cat.
Tamra Baca is a cellist from Salt Lake City, UT. She began the cello at the age of 12. Her passion for music led her to Utah State Univeristy where she studied under Anne Francis of the Fry Street Quartet in addition to quartet studies under the purview of all members of the Fry Street Quartet. She also played in the Musica Viva chamber music group. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Music with an emphasis in performance.
After a short break, Tamra resumed her music studies at the University of Utah with Amy Leung and John Eckstein. While at the U, she performed as the cellist for the Graduate String Quartet and held the principal seat in the Utah Philharmonia. In 2010, she graduated with a Master's Degree in Music with an emphasis in performance.
Always having had an affinity for chamber music, she participated in several chamber music camps and festivals to include Apple Hill, Dakota Chamber Music, and the Aspen Music Festival where she studied with teachers Richard Aaron and Alan Harris.
Currently, Tamra is the cellist of the Diamond Strings Quartet, a member of the Salt Lake Symphony, and teaches private cello lessons. She has been teaching private cello lessons for 12 years to adults and children of all ages.