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Nina Mendelson Violin / Viola Studio

Agawam, MA 01001 (map)


Lessons Offered

Viola, Violin, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home


About Me

I received the undergraduate and masters degrees from the National Conservatory of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria in viola and violin performance and pedagogy. I traveled around the world as principal violist of the Bulgarian National Symphony and principal violist of Amazonas Philharmonic in Brazil, recorded extensively and was winner of numerous national competitions and awards. I am presently contract musician for Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera, Santa Cruz County Symphony and Tulare County Symphony and freelance throughout California and Nevada.

I speak four languages including English, Portuguese, Russian and Bulgarian. My husband Michael is trombonist and Music Director of Pete Knight High School. We have three children.

My Musical Education Background

Nina holds MM and BA degrees in viola performance and pedagogy from the Bulgarian National Academy of Music in Sofia, capital of her native Bulgaria. While still a student and shortly thereafter she won competitions including; 1st Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1990; 1st Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1984; 1st Place, “Kiustendil” National Competition, 1983; 3rd Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1986; Special Prize for Interpretation of Bulgarian Music, National Competition of the City of Bourgas , 1985 and Special Prize for Interpretation of Russian Music, National Competition of the City of Bourgas , 1986. She has performed in a number of symphony orchestras most notably the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria, where she was Principal Viola from 1993 to1997 and section viola from 1989 to 1992; Chamber Orchestra “Orchestral” of Sofia as Principal Viola, 1989 to 1997; National Radio Orchestra of Bulgaria and National Opera Orchestra of Bulgaria.

Since arriving in the United States in 2005 Nina has become a permanent member of the Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera Orchestra, Santa Cruz County Symphony, Reno Chamber Orchestra and Tulare County Symphony and appears with Modesto Symphony, Reno Philharmonic, Monterey Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, California Symphony, and the Mountain Play Orchestra.

Prior to this she was Principal Viola of the Amazonas Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra of the Amazonas at Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, Amazonas. Nina has toured extensively throughout the world, as member of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Orchestra, under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov and Gianluigi Gelmetti for the International Conducting Course in Siena, Italy, 1990 – 1997 and again in 2007 and 2008; at Festival Apollonia for Orchestras and Chamber Music, Sozopol, Bulgaria in 1994 and 1996; with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria on tours in 1990, 1992 and 1993 to the United States including performances in New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles; in Spain, England, Germany, France, Holland, Turkey, Japan (Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka); South Korea; Taiwan; Singapore. She was audition winner and the only Bulgarian musician to participate in tours of the World Symphony Orchestra: to European Capitals and the United States, participating in tours to Germany (1990); Argentina (1989); Uruguay; Hungary (1988) and Czechoslovakia (1987). Appearances as soloist with orchestra and in recital include Amazonas Philharmonic J.S. Bach "Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for two violas and orchestra (2002 season); Mozart “Sinfonica Concertante for Violin and Viola, with violinist Alexandra Tcherkezova (2000 season) and Stamitz “Sinfonica Concertante for Violin and Viola” (1998 season).

Nina has recorded much of the standard repertory for symphony orchestra as Principal Viola of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Sofia. She was Assistant Director of Music at University High School, one of Californias highest rated charter school: string coach for El Camino Youth Orchestra (Palo Alto, CA); Professor of Viola at University of the Amazonas and the Claudio Santoro Conservatory of Music in Brazil.

Genres and Subjects Taught

Nina students learn every kind of music with her, but they are able to do this because of the solid technical foundation they receive opening avenues from classical to jazz to fiddling and even pop musical styles. She integrates Suzuki with European classical training, solos and improvisation.

Lesson Rates

$60 / hour
$50 / 45 minutes
$35/ 30 minutes

$5 extra travel per lesson to teach at student's location.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

Age 5 and up.

My Certifications and Awards

While still a student and shortly thereafter she won competitions including; 1st Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1990; 1st Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1984; 1st Place, “Kiustendil” National Competition, 1983; 3rd Place, “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competition, 1986; Special Prize for Interpretation of Bulgarian Music, National Competition of the City of Bourgas , 1985 and Special Prize for Interpretation of Russian Music, National Competition of the City of Bourgas , 1986.

My Musical Influences

My father and mother are my heroes and biggest influence! They played viola side by side for 40 years in the Bourgas Symphony and Opera. I have had the honor and pleasure of playing with some of the greatest string players of our time including Joshua Bell, Midori, Pinchas Zukerman, Hillary Hahn and artists such as Placido Domingo, James Galway, Judy Collins, Natalie Cole, Andrea Bocelli and Cirque de Soleil. In Brazil I played with many great names of MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and Samba.


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