Natalie Gaynor joined the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestras in March 2017 as Principal Second Violin. Natalie performs frequently with the Houston Symphony and has also played with the San Diego Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and New World Symphony. She's a member of the first violin section at Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, collaborating with living composers to perform world premieres and new classical works. She has earned fellowships to music festivals throughout the world including the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Sarasota Music Festival. During her master’s degree at Rice University, she served as concertmaster of the Shepherd School Opera and Chamber orchestras. As a member of the Maroon Belles String Quartet, she has been invited multiple summers to participate in the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, engaging in community outreach and educational performances as well as collaborating with musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and the Metropolitan Opera. Natalie performs in a wide variety of settings throughout the Houston area including COVID-friendly neighborhood/porch concerts, solo and collaborative recitals, weddings and special events, Harmony in the Air at Houston Hobby Airport, and recording studio projects. Born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Natalie began her violin studies at age six, and piano lessons a year later. She began her undergraduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music and transferred to Rice University to follow her teacher, renowned violin pedagogue Paul Kantor. Natalie earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and also completed a Minor in Business at the Jones Graduate School of Business.