Las Vegas resident Nina DiGregorio will never forget what she thought at 13, when she watched a Woodstock documentary and saw Jimi Hendrix jamming the national anthem on electric guitar.
“It put a spark in my head, ‘I’ve got to play my violin like this,’” recalls DiGregorio, a classically trained violinist and Yamaha string artist.
DiGregorio didn’t just learn to duplicate the distortion-dripping solo on her electric violin.
She also conceived an idea for her own entertainment business.
Today, DiGregorio has gone on to launch Bella Electric Strings, a collective of all-female electric violinists to perform sizzling arrangements of classic rock across the U.S.
With the group performing a high-octane blend of rock and choreography in two shows at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz on September 15, she is proud of her accomplishments both as a musician and a businesswoman.
“This is the first production of its kind, where violinists front the show with this kind of music,” she says. “If people go in thinking they’re going to hear Beethoven, they’ll leave having heard Black Sabbath.”
Created in Las Vegas
DiGregorio first launched Bella Electric Strings with a small group of Las Vegas electric violinists.
She saw potential with this group of highly trained artists, who often performed on the Strip with visiting headliners and Vegas favorites like Brody Dolyniuk.
Initially, Bella Electric Strings mostly performed at corporate events – until this led to something bigger.
“Someone saw us at an event who owned a theater. They wanted to know if we had a 90-minute stage show,” she recalls. “Of course I said ‘yes.’ Then I thought, ‘Oh crap, now I have to write a show.’”
The production — once she created it — was an instant hit, selling out immediately.
She buckled down on designing a full-fledged business: An all-female collective of electric violinists performing classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, infused with energetic choreography and multi-media.
“Traditionally when you think or rock music, you think of guitar players, not violinists – and you think of men, not women,” she says. “We set out to shatter that mold.”
A Nationwide Success
DiGregorio has succeeded, with over 30 female musicians now part of the Bella Electric Strings collective that perform in cities throughout the U.S., even featured at Coachella.
Bella Electric Strings consumes her life, DiGregorio admits.
She manages the entire brand herself, including marketing, penning arrangements, booking shows and organizing the tour schedule.
“From the time my eyes open at 7 in the morning to when they close at 1 a.m., it’s constant, non-stop work,” she admits with a laugh.
Performing with Music Legends
It’s DiGregorio’s work ethic and taste for rock led her to a dazzling career.
She initially moved to Las Vegas to perform with Wayne Newton, and has also taken the stage with stars like Michael Bublé, The Killers and Deep Purple. She even performed as the solo violinist for Toni Braxton for years.
“One of the greatest lessons I learned was backing up Deep Purple, and that’s to wear noise-canceling earphones if you want to play in a rock band,” she says.
She now channels her vast entertainment background into Bella Electric Strings.
“I guarantee audiences will leave thinking they got their money’s worth,” she says.
See the Show
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