School of Music
College of Performing and Visual Arts
Born into a family of acclaimed roots musicians, Natalie Padilla was immersed in fiddle and violin music at a very young age and has since grown into a musician of astounding depth and breadth, a performer and educator fluent in a wide variety of genres. Natalie initially studied Texas-Style fiddle under the tutelage of her mother, award-winning fiddler Nancy Padilla, and began winning contests on her own at the age of 6. At that tender age she was named Montana State Pee Wee Fiddle Champion and soon went on to become National Small Fry Fiddle Champion at the National Old Time Fiddler’s Contest (1994), National Young Adult Fiddle Champion (2015), National Twin Fiddling Champion (2015), Rocky Mountain Regional Grand Champion (2015), and RockyGrass Fiddle Champion (2015).
A fiery contest fiddler steeped in the traditions of Old-Time, Bluegrass, and Texas-Style Fiddle music, Natalie also has deep roots in classical violin. In 2011, after winning several prestigious student awards, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Since graduating from UNC, Natalie has continued to explore her love of classical music and has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Boulder Philharmonic, Fort Collins Symphony and Sphere Ensemble. She currently serves as Associate Concertmaster of the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra.
Building on her Old-Time roots and her rich background in classical music, Natalie has devoted herself to creative roots music in recent years. In 2015 she founded the original new acoustic band Masontown and has since been composing and singing for the group, as well as playing fiddle and clawhammer banjo. Masontown has played extensively throughout the mountain west, released a debut EP in late 2015, and took runner up at the acclaimed RockyGrass band competition in the summer of 2016. As a free-lance fiddler extraordinaire Natalie has also performed in every setting from intimate house concerts to Red Rocks Amphitheater, touching on nearly every form of fiddle music imaginable (from Irish flute of fiddle tunes to new classical pieces to modern bluegrass), recorded in a variety of settings around the country, and shared the stage with such revered talents as Peter Rowan, Frank Solivan, and Pete Wernick.
Throughout her deep and diverse musical career Natalie has always been a devoted educator, and has maintained an active studio of private fiddle and violin students since her early teens. She has also been in demand at fiddle and violin camps around the country, teaching for several years at the Montana Fiddle Camp, Fiddle and Flute Weekend Getaway, Brian Wicklund’s Fiddle Pal Camp, and Midsummer Days String Camp, among others. While living in Summit County, Colorado Natalie also taught private lessons and conducted high school and middle school orchestras through the public school system.
While Natalie spends almost every waking moment honing her art, craft, and musical pedagogy, there’s a chance you can catch her out and about in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, running or skiing, or at home on an off night, cooking something new and inspiring...while listening to amazing music, of course.