Nelson String Quartet
The Nelson String Quartet is one of the most sought-after ensembles in North Carolina for wedding ceremony music, corporate events, and parties. The group performs both classical music as well as original arrangements of popular non-classical songs, bringing a level of artistry and professionalism that your guests are sure to notice.
Meet our musicians
Violinist Tasi Matthews, originally from Charlotte, NC, has been active as a chamber, orchestral, and freelance musician in the Triangle area since 1997. She is currently the Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle and also plays frequently as a pit musician for the Broadway Series at the Durham Performing Arts Center. In the past, she has performed with the Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh Symphonies. She served as the concertmaster of the Raleigh Symphony for 15 years. Other groups she has performed with include the Chapel Hill Chamber Orchestra, Oleander Chamber Orchestra, Opera Company of NC and Capital Opera. In addition to classical music, Tasi has had the opportunity to perform with some well-known artists including Josh Groban, Clay Aiken, Mary J. Blige, Harry Connick Jr., Mannheim Steamroller and the Tran Siberian Orchestra.
From 1997-2003, Tasi served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and now teaches violin lessons for all ages at her private studio in Apex. She began her musical studies at the age of four with Mary Jane Kirkendol and continued her musical education at UNC, earning her Bachelor of Music degree while studying with Richard Luby. She also earned her Masters of Music from the NC School of the Arts in Winston Salem, where she studied with Kevin Lawrence. In addition to teaching and performing, Tasi enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason, and their three children.
Violinist, Sarah Griffin, began her studies at age 3. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory in both Latin and Violin Performance, where she was Phi Beta Kappa and studied with Gregory Fulkerson. She also holds a Master in Music degree in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory, studying with Masuko Ushioda and the Borromeo Quartet, as well as an AM in Musicology from Duke University. She has been a Tanglewood Fellow, participated in the 2005 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and attended the National Repertory Orchestra and Eastern Music Festivals.
Since returning to North Carolina in 2007, Sarah performs regularly with Triangle groups such as the North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, of which she has been Assistant Concertmaster and currently serves as Principal Second Violin. She was also a founding member of the Duke New Music Ensemble, [dnme], during her studies at Duke. Her varied musical career has led to playing with groups from the Wet Ink Ensemble, yMusic, and Pulsoptional, to the John Brown Big Band, Piffaro, and the Mallarmé Chamber Players.
Simon Ertz is principal viola of the Winston Salem Symphony, is member of the Greensboro Symphony, and plays as a regularly with the Charlotte Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and the Sarasota Opera Orchestra.
Simon was the violist with the Degas Quartet from 2002 until 2012; before that he was pursuing a doctoral degree in viola performance at Michigan State University where he was also a teaching assistant. A native of Scotland, Simon studied viola at the Royal Northern College of Music where, as a member of several chamber music groups, won several prizes including the Terrence Weil and Leonard Hirsch competitions, and was awarded the Thomas Barret memorial prize for viola. After working with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Northern Chamber, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in the UK, Simon moved to Michigan to continue his education, where he completed his Master’s degree at Michigan State University.
Emily Austin Smith
Cellist Emily Austin Smith maintains a highly active performing career in Durham, North Carolina, working regularly with the Durham Symphony, the Fayetteville Symphony, the Duke New Music Ensemble, the North Carolina Symphony, and is the Executive Director of WireTap New Music.
Emily performed at the Texas Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Encore School for Strings, Indiana University Summer String Academy, Kansas City String Quartet Program, and the Heartland Chamber Music Academy, where she appeared as a soloist with the chamber orchestra at the age of 14. While studying in Baltimore, Emily performed with the Occasional Symphony, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the Peabody Camerata, and was involved with Classical Revolution Baltimore and Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids program.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Emily is a graudate ofthe Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance and English, as well as a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance and Pedagogy. She studied with renowned cellist Alan Stepansky, former Associate Principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. During her time at the Peabody,, Emily was the recipient of the B&O Women’s Club Award in Performance and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society.