Meet Nashville’s finest musicians.  We have traveled the world over and back again creating live music with the world’s best artists, and we have contributed to recordings in all genres of music, from rock to pop, black gospel to southern gospel, country to classical.  From single song demos to complete film scores, we are here to make your project the best it can be.  If you’re not sure exactly what instrumentation you are looking for, contact and we will match you with the best possible musicians for your project.  Every artist on this site is a professional musician who brings quality, artistry and excellence to every recording.


Violinist David Angell is a central figure in the musical pulse of Nashville’s recording industry. David has made a lifelong commitment to bettering the world through music.
Gifted with a diversity of talent, and surrounded by a rich and deep consortium of musical colleagues, David is involved with many of the most significant releases of our day.

A member of the internationally renowned Love Sponge Strings, David Angell can frequently be heard on recent releases by Ben Folds, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, James Morrison, Bob Seeger, 3 Doors Down, Dolly Parton, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Sevendust, Marc Broussard, Brad Paisley, Jonny Lang, Gary Alan, Red, Patty Griffin, Faith Hill, Will Young, and many others. Angell has also been a member of the Nashville String Machine for over twenty years.

As a solo violin recording artist, David Angell has been featured recently in projects as such Discovery House’s Classical Praise collection, and in O Then I’ll Think Of Thee, an original collection of Antebellum chamber music. He is currently working on a project of love songs from the 70’s and 80’s.

David began his musical life in the 1960’s, in the Detroit area. Raised in the home of a Philosophy professor, he was exposed to and encouraged to enjoy a wide range of musical styles. His formal classical training includes degrees from Indiana University and the Yale School of Music. While at Yale, he taught violin, and lectured in graduate music theory classes.

In addition to his performance credits, Angell has extensive contracting experience – securing the musical services of string quartets, string sections, and full orchestral groups for the Nashville recording industry. In his 25 years of making records and playing concerts, he has compiled an all-star portfolio of Nashville musicians whom he is pleased to call upon to collaborate.



Monisa Angell is a violist whose career embraces many styles of music. From recording with new artists to live performance in venues such as the world-famous Ryman Auditorium, Monisa has been a primary contributor to Nashville’s music community since 1991.

Monisa’s rich and diverse musical background includes recording and performing with a wide array of artists such as Trey Anastasio, Garth Brooks, James Morrison, Brian Wilson, and many others. She holds music performance degrees from Eastman School of Music and Rice University, and has held positions as a member of the St. Louis Symphony, Principal Violist in the Nashville Symphony and Assistant Principal in the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Jazz, pop, country and classical music all have a role in her professional life.

Monisa Angell has a deep love of chamber music, and has served as founder and performer of several chamber series in the greater Nashville area. Additionally, she contracts live orchestras and small ensembles for churches and in other various settings. As a seasoned professional, Monisa has a keen sense of partnership in music projects, possessing the ability to tailor the specific needs of a project to the proper personnel.

Her latest project, ViolaSound is an online gathering place for violists and a source for new works and recordings for the viola, including Monisa Angell’s own transcriptions.


David Davidson Photo & bio coming soon…

conni_ellisor_violin_nashville_studio_orchestraConni Ellisor is a Juilliard-trained violinist whose vast experience ensures high quality performance across all genres. Having begun recording professionally at age 17, she’s been a top-call player in the Nashville studios since the early 1980’s. Ellisor’s thousands of recording credits include artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Neil Young, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, and Matchbox Twenty.

Conni’s classical credentials are equally impressive and include formal training at Juilliard, early success in the classical world as a member of the Denver Symphony, concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic, first violin in the Athena Quartet (now the Colorado Quartet), and eventually assistant concertmaster and soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.

Also of note is her career as a contemporary jazz recording artist. Her “Night at the Museum” album, one of four solo albums she’s released, climbed to #13 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative chart. Her studio albums and live performances have both garnered consistent critical praise. “While the pieces all have a contemporary, accessible feel, the consistent classical nuances help maintain the warmth and humanity that make this such a special collection of music,” wrote a critic for the Exclusive Adult Music Review. Venerable Nashville music critic Robert Oermann encouraged readers to attend an upcoming concert, commenting that “Conni and her all-star group combine classical training with contemporary melodies. Her performances are soundtracks for mental movies that transport the listener to parts unknown.”


juilia_emahiser_nashville_studio_orchestraCellist Julia Bartles Emahiser, distinguished for her “radiant spirit and beautiful playing (David Amram – Composer- in- Residence, New York Philharmonic)” is “an exceptionally gifted cellist and musician (Leighton Conkling – Professor of Cello, Ohio University).” “A very gifted and talented musician (Lawrence Harvin – Artistic Director, Peter the Great International Conducting Masterclass),” Emahiser is an active soloist and chamber musician. Current and past collaborations include the Bartles/Brecht Duo, Rutherford String Quartet (TN), Nashville Chamber Players, and the Cascade String Quartet (MT). An advocate of new music, Emahiser has performed the solo cello works of David Amram and Alfred H. Bartles (1998-1999 Tennessee Composer of the Year). As an educator Ms. Emahiser has served on the faculties of the Schloss Weikersheim Music Festival, Weikersheim, Germany, Tennessee Governor’s School of the Arts, Middle Tennessee State University, and the Red Lodge Music Festival. Having studied with Fritz Magg, Leighton Conkling, John Sant’Ambrogio and Michael Haber Julia Emahiser holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University and a Master of Music from Ohio University and has done doctoral studies at the University of Memphis. Performing on a Johan Oeberg (ca. 1760) Emahiser is a member of the Nashville String Machine, has served as Principal Cellist in the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra (MT) and the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra. She has been a member of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (TN) and the Akron Symphony Orchestra (OH). Currently she performs and records with Orchestra Nashville (formerly Nashville Chamber Orchestra) and is first call for the TPAC Broadway series.


Grammy nominated musician and producer Jack Jezzro has been one of Nashville’s most versatile performers for nearly 30 years. As a bassist, he was a full time member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra from 1981-1991. He has also been a member of The Nashville String Machine , playing on thousands of recording sessions including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Matchbox 20, Wynonna, Rascal Flatts, Neil Diamond and The Beach Boys. He also has over 20 albums as a recording artist on the guitar to his credit, including the critically acclaimed “Jazz Elegance” and “Brazilian Nights” recordings along with the grammy nominated “A Days Journey” album. His productions number nearly 200 albums, including best-selling jazz pianist Beegie Adair, Tenor Sax ace Denis Solee, Bassist/Vocalist Jim Ferguson and most recently, new singing sensation Jaimee Paul.


anthony_lamarchina_nashville_studio_orchestraAnthony LaMarchina is well known to Nashville Symphony audiences. He has served as principal cellist in the orchestra since 1990 and has performed as soloist on many occasions. During his career, Anthony has performed at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall with the Atlanta Symphony and at Carnegie Hall with The Nashville Symphony. He has performed with the Honolulu Philharmonic, the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Pasadena Symphony. He also toured Japan in 1992. Anthony has been a prominent studio musician in Nashville since 1986. His discography credits are wide-ranging – from classical and pop to country and gospel – and include such performers as Jewel, Garth Brooks, Indigo Girls, Olivia Newton-John, LeAnn Rimes and others. His solo recordings include “Holiday Spice” and Interlude of Passion, featuring the music of Ennio Morricone. Anthony has served as assistant professor of cello at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He received his degree from U.C.L.A. and continued his studies with Ronald Leonard and Christine Waleska, and was the last pupil of the great Ennio Bolognini. Anthony currently performs on a magnificent Matteo Goffriller cello, circa 1700. He is an accomplished martial arts teacher and holds a fourth degree black belt in Shorin Ryu karate.



Cellist Keith Nicholas is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Master of Music degree from Florida State University. He joined the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and currently teaches cello as adjunct faculty member of Belmont University and Austin Peay State University. An active studio and chamber musician, Keith performs regularly with the Nashville String Machine, Belmont Camerata Musicale, and the Gateway Chamber Ensemble. He has participated in the summer music festivals of Morges Switzerland and Kneisel Hall. Previously, Keith was the principal cellist in the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, where he was also a member of the resident string quartet.



Carole Neuen-Rabinowitz, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, came to Nashville in 1995. Although a classically trained Cellist with extensive orchestral and performance experience, she has happily been a full time studio musician since she arrived in town. She is currently Principal Cellist for the Nashville String Machine, and has the pleasure as well of working independently with many of the incredibly talented studio musicians, producers, and contractors in the Nashville area.

Her experience encompasses over 2,000 recordings from full orchestra to solo cello for artists such as; Alan Jackson, Alison Kraus, Amy Grant, Barry Manilow, Big and Rich, Bob Seger, Bon Jovi, Busch Gardens, Brad Paisley, Brooks and Dunn, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Celebrity Cruise lines, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Gordon Mote, Jars of Clay, John Mayer, K.D. Lang, Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Kid Rock, LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride, Marty Stewart, Matchbox 20, Megadeath, Michael McDonald, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Nicole C Mullin, Rascal Flatts, Reba McIntyre, Sara Evans, Shania Twain, Smokie Norful, Tanya Tucker, Tim McGraw, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill,  Yolanda Adams, and Wynonna, just to name a few. She is also a regular performer on the CMA awards show, various artist TV specials and DVD releases, and has participated in recordings featured in movies such as Bridget Jones Diary, Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, ConAir, Hoodwinked, and Fireproof.

Since 2000, she has been an active composer/arranger for Latham Music/Lorenz Publishing, where she currently has over a dozen published works. Carole also continues to perform in many different venues in the Nashville area, and has recently founded the Chamber Society of Nashville, which promotes Nashville musicians and composers through live classical performances.

Website Links:

Pamela Sixfin Photo & bio coming soon…

Alan Umstead Photo & bio coming soon…


Kristin Wilkinson has composed, orchestrated and conducted music for film scores, symphonic works, TV shows and numerous record productions.


1. All the Pretty Horses – BillyBob Thornton – December 2000 (Golden Globe Nominee : best score)

2. An Unfinished Life – Lasse Halstrom-director, Miramax – winter 2005

3. Hoodwinked – Orchestrating. Release date-winter 2005 (#1 box office)

4. The Great Debaters – “Two Wings”, “Up Above My Head”. End title credits. Winter 2007

5. Prancer Returns – USA Films – November 2001 (Best Score Premier Video Awards)

6. Odysseus In America – Orchestrator – Coming in 2009


Top 100 for 2007/2008

• 3 Doors Down
• Sugarland
• Gary Allan
• Sugarland
• Brad Paisley
• Lady Antebellum

Other 2007/2008

• Kenny Chesney
• Kellie Pickler / Taylor Swift
• Kellie Pickler
• Darius Rucker
• Alan Jackson
• Faith Hill
• Dierks Bentley
• Brooks & Dunn
• Stevie Nicks
• Dolly Parton
• Marina McBride
• Reba McEntire
• Point of Grace
• Phil Vassar
• Keith Urban
• Trace Adkins
• Trisha Yearwood


Commision: “The Last Stand”. Premier April 2008 with Native American artist Bill Miller

*Prior years hit records, orchestral commisions and TV shows availble upon request.

“Whether I am playing viola or country fiddle, arranging strings on a country song or composing a film score, my goal is to impart the message of a song or picture through my music.” -Kristin Wilkinson



Karen Winkelmann, founder of First String, is a recognized musician whose broad range of experience has exposed her to a diversity of styles. Karen has played on hundreds of recordings, ranging from Faith Hill and Matchbox 20 to classical, and everything in between. In addition to her studio work, Karen was a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for 6 years and is currently Principal Second Violin of Orchestra Nashville (formerly the Nashville Chamber Orchestra), which specializes not only in the traditional canon of Classical music, but also in commissioning works that cross musical boundaries. With Orchestra Nashville, Karen has made recordings for Naxos, Angel, Alabaster and Warner Bros, and has performed over 30 world premieres, working with such artists as the Turtle Island String Quartet, John Jorgenson & most recently, Trey Anastasio of the band Phish.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Karen grew up in London steeped in the Classical and Early Music traditions, both as a violinist and as a recorder player. While still in England she had several pieces written for her and performed as a soloist twice in The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre as well as in the Royal Albert Hall.

Moving to Nashville exposed Karen to a whole new sound world and approach to music, and it is the combination of the two worlds that inform her perspective. First String was born out of Karen’s unique outlook and her ability to bring a specialized approach to every project.

Karen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music and Linguistics and Masters Degree in Music from Indiana University.