The Diamond Strings Quartet

The Diamond Strings Quartet Picture

Natalie Parkin Megan Nielsen Jillene Smith Tamra Baca

Natalie Parkin

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Natalie Parkin is a violin performance major studying at the University of Utah. She has studied under the direction of Becky Fullmer, Leslie Henrie, violin and viola professor at SLCC, and is currently studding with Dr. Hasse Borup, head of the string and chamber music department at the University of Utah. Natalie has performed with many orchestras around Utah Valley including the Utah Youth Philharmonia directed by Barbara Scowcroft, The Young Artist Chamber players directed by Jack Ashton, SLCCs Honors Orchestra directed by Leslie Henrie and is currently a member of the Utah Philharmonia with director Dr. Robert Baldwin.

In 2016, Natalie was offered the opportunity to study violin chamber and solo performance in Germany as part of the International Saarburg Music Festival. She has been an active participant of the University of Utah's Summer Chamber Workshop since 2015. Natalie is the first violinist in the local Utah Diamond Strings Quartet, has a growing violin studio and performs solo for public events all over the Utah Valley.

Outside of music, Natalie can be found in the mountains running, jet skiing, hiking, four wheeling and exploring the great outdoors. She writes and arranges music in her spare time and loves spending time with her friends and family.

Megan Nielsen

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Megan has an impressive background in violin studies and performance. Youth recognitions included: SCMS Honors String Orchestra, SCHS Concert Mistress, All-County & All-State Orchestra, and Regional Music Sterling Scholar Runner-Up (twice performing as a Soloist with the SW Symphony Orchestra, at age 14 and 16). Subsequently, she performed as a member of the DSU (Dixie State University) Orchestra, followed by further distinction as the Concert Mistress of the UVU (Utah Valley University) Symphony Orchestra. [Megan was mentored principally by her Grandfather, the late Dr. Percy Kalt (recognized both nationally and internationally for his violin artistry and teaching expertise.] She has also been active in noted String Quartets, including: Founder, Ambrosia String Quartet; Member, Snow Canyon String Quartet; and currently performs as 2nd violinist with the Diamond Strings Quartet. Besides a wide array of public and private recitals and gratuitous performances, Megan also remains active as an accompanist and violin instructor. Her love of the violin, her artistry, and her exemplary character, and her musical gifts are all reflected in the music that she willingly shares.

Jillene Smith

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Jillene Smith majored in Music at Dixie State University of St. George, Utah, where she studied viola primarily under the direction of Dr. Paul Abegg. She has been the Principal and first stand violist in the Dixie State University Symphony Orchestra, as well as first stand violist in the Southwest Symphony Orchestra. She has performed internationally in parts of the east coast of China with Raging Red, private recitals in Bremen Germany, and performs regularly in local churches and community residences. Jillene has worked with youth musicians as a supervisor and counselor at Dixie State's annual Castle Rock Music Camp for the camp's first two seasons. She currently is a viola and violin teacher, Founder and Violist of Salt Lake City's Diamond Strings Quartet, Violist with the Salt Lake Symphony, and best of all, a wife and a mother.

Tamra Baca

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Tamra studied cello at Utah State University and the University of Utah ultimately earning a bachelor's and master's degree in music, emphasis in performance. Notable teachers include Anne Francis, Amy Leung, and John Eckstein.

Always having had a strong interest in 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.

Tamra is curently a member of the Salt Lake Symphony as well as the Diamond Strings Quartet. She has been teaching private cello lessons for 10 years to both adults and children.