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Herb Alpert Music Center

Neli Nikolaeva

Neli NikolaevaDr. Neli Nikolaeva began violin studies at age of five inspired by the nomadic gypsy performances in the street cafes of her native Bulgaria and most of all by her passionate father, a self-taught violinist/math professor. She left home to attend Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California on music scholarship and continued her music studies at University of Southern California. In 2010, she earned her DMA from USC. Among her teachers were Concertmaster of LA Chamber, Margaret Batjer, Concertmaster of LA Phil, Martin Chalifour and Co-Concertmaster Alexander Treger as well as the renowned pedagogue Robert Lipsett. During a year abroad, Neli also studied with eminent teachers in Florence, Italy and in Munich, Germany.

Dr. Nikolaeva’s diverse career as a violinist included numerous of appearances as a soloist, chamber musician and an early music specialist across the US and Europe. As a young violinist, she won a number of national as well as an international young artist competition, which provided her with many opportunities to appear as a soloist with orchestras performing concertos by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Vieuxtemps and Bruch among others. An abiding interest in chamber music has led her to successful collaborations with artists from groups such as Trio Solisti and the Lark, Audubon and Cassatt String Quartet. Dr. Nikolaeva began her studies of baroque violin with master pedagogue Elizabeth Blumenstock and since she has had the opportunity to collaborate with established period players such as Richard Egarr, Stephen Stubbs, Julie Andrijeski, Adam Gilbert and Harry Bicket. She also performs with Musica Angelica (Los Angeles), Bach Collegium of San Diego and the Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera.

In recent years, her interest in performing outside of the realm of classical music has offered her opportunities to explore many styles of music. She has performed for the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the Country Music Awards, American Music Awards and the Coachella festival. Artists she has performed and/or recorded which include Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Rod Steward, Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga, One Direction, Christina Aguilera, Usher and Marco Antonio Solis. As a Hollywood studio musician, Neli regularly records on TV series and films such as Contagion, Ride Along, Ride Along 2, Blackfish, House of Cards and Penny Dreadful. Dr. Nikolaeva has recorded solos for TV series and films such as The Walking Dead, Defiance, and Europa Report. Her live TV engagements include many appearances on the Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and Dancing with the Stars.

Dr. Nikolaeva has a great passion for working with the future generations of musicians. She maintains of large private studio in Los Angeles and coaches for numerous organizations and institutions such as Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and Harvard Westlake School, Junior Chamber Music. She is also a certified Orff Method specialist.

 Contact Us

Herb Alpert Music Center 106
(323) 953-4000 ext. 2880

Christine Park
Department Chair

Caroline Reyes
Instructional Assistant

Leon Thomasian
Instructional Assistant


Mailing Address:

Department of Music
Los Angeles City College
Herb Alpert Music Center
855 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90029

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Los Angeles City College | 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029


Phone: 323.953.4000


Emergency: 323.953.2911