Rachel Nesvig

About Rachel

Rachel playing a white glass violin

Inspired by her Norwegian roots, Rachel has built a career around her love of music, performance, teaching, and Scandinavian tradition. She earned her BA in Music and Norwegian from St. Olaf College in 2007, followed by a master’s degree in Violin Performance and K-12 Teaching Certificate from Central Washington University in 2011. Rachel completed additional studies in classical violin at the Music Conservatory of the University of Stavanger, Norway, also using the opportunity to polish her Norwegian language skills. Although violin is her main jam, Rachel is an avid Hardanger Fiddler (the national folk instrument of Norway), an aspiring violist, an enthusiastic conductor, and a novice improv actor!

Rachel’s love of playing music includes her dedication to teaching. She absolutely loves coaching summer camps such as the Seattle Rock Orchestra Summer Intensive, Icicle Creek Summer Symphony, and Pipestone Music Camp. Always inspired to wear many different hats, she also conducts the West Seattle Community Orchestras’ Debut Symphony. The group is a fun, full orchestra that consists of players of all ages who have 2-4 years of experience playing their instruments.

One of Rachel’s other passions is making videos for Pizzicato Peeps with her friend and colleague, Begin Nora. These tutorial videos are meant to make learning fun and accessible to all levels and ages. Check them out here!

In her time not creating music, Rachel coordinates gigs as the booking manager for Oahu Strings. Apart from freelancing in Seattle, traveling is one of Rachel's favorite activities. She hopes to continue to play all types of music for audiences around the world.


Rachel holding her violin while wearing red shoes

Rachel is an active freelance violinist and teacher in the Seattle area. Currently, she plays with 5th Ave Theatre, Symphony Tacoma, Seattle Rock Orchestra, NOCCO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and several other local ensembles. She regularly subs with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Auburn Symphony. Rachel’s chamber music credits include her work with Arcobaleno Strings and Puget Sound Strings . She also performs internationally, playing classical, pop, and folk music in places like Norway, China, South Korea, and Kenya.

An active recording artist, Rachel plays for Seattle Live Entertainment, LLC and Seattle Music Inc., in addition to recording tracks for local bands, composers, international movies, and video games. She has collaborated through performance or studio work with artists such as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, D.R.A.M., The Who, Sigur Rós, Laufey, Kesha, Andrew Joslyn, Father John Misty, Magik*Magik Orchestra, Sir Mix A Lot, Big Star, Victoria Contreras, Evanescence, Chaos and the Cosmos, The Rumba Kings, Sera Cahoone, Naomi Judd, Chris Botti, and Cirque Musique.

Hardanger Fiddle

Rachel playing hardanger fiddle

Rachel spent 5 years of her childhood living in Stavanger, Norway. She grew up listening to Norwegian folk music and was incredibly excited to start playing the Hardanger Fiddle at age 16 in Tacoma, WA. She continued on to become the first student at St. Olaf College to receive Distinction in Hardanger Fiddle in 2007. She taught the beginning Hardanger Fiddle course at the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America’s Annual Workshop in 2009. She has studied fiddle both in the US and in Norway with various teachers including Andrea Een, Karin Code, Dag Hovde, and Karin Solgård.

One of Rachel’s current projects is curating her YouTube Channel, which is dedicated solely to Hardanger Fiddle! She also has recorded Hardanger Fiddle for video games, including Minecraft Norse Mythology by Gareth Coker, Pode by Austin Wintory and Rend by Neal Acree. Composing new fiddle pieces while fusing new and old traditions with Hardanger Fiddle continues to be one of Rachel’s passions.


Rachel also loves playing her viola, named Mabel, made by her brother in-law, luthier Matthew Noykos of Grand Rapids Violins. She enjoys playing all types of music, whether jamming with a folk band, playing back-up strings for a pop band, playing classical string quartets, or laying down tracks for a hip hop group.

Although much of Rachel’s time involves creating music, she also loves to walk and hike outdoors, travel to places exotic and familiar, play games, jump on trampolines, hang out with friends, dance, practice her improv acting skills, drink local IPAs/wine, attend concerts/shows/plays/dance productions, and collaborate with other human beings.