the alt default
Bringing an array of musical and cultural influences to their work, The alt Default is an eclectic trio that plays everything from Nathaniel’s alternative and rock influenced original songs to Dave’s arrangements of classical and jazz tunes to Hannah’s unique interpretations of folk music from all over the world. The band formed in 2014 when they met in Miami Beach as members of the New World Symphony. They are 2015 winners of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Arts Challenge South Florida.
NATHANIEL WOLKSTEIN: VIOLIN + GUITAR + VOICE
A Wisconsin native, Nathaniel grew up in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed his violin performance degree in 2013 and moved to Miami to play with the New World Symphony. In the past three years, Nathaniel has begun to seriously focus on writing and recording his original rock, electronic and folk music.
Nathaniel traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in 2014 as a North American representative to perform with an orchestra in the United Nations for the 21st International Human Rights Festival. Earlier that year, Nathaniel traveled to Medellin, Colombia as a part of the NWS-Medellin exchange program to teach private lessons and chamber music. Nathaniel has been a ‘Big Brother’ for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami for the past three years, and was a volunteer violin teacher for ‘Music Makers’ in Madison, a non-profit music school for low-income families and children from 2007-2013.
When not playing violin or jamming with Hannah and Dave, Nathaniel most enjoys hiking, biking, photography, yoga, telescopes, green tea and quoting Einstein.
Hannah Rose Nicholas: Viola + Voice
Violist and vocalist in The alt Default, Hannah Nicholas started her musical path as a Modern Middle Eastern Studies major at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was inspired by the music and poetry she came across in her classes. Currently in her third year with the New World Symphony, Hannah is focused on bringing together different art forms and musical styles into performances for the community.
Originally from Haverford, PA, Hannah grew up playing music alongside her three siblings and studying with musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra. She made her vocal debut in high school as Sandy in Grease, despite refusing to wear a blonde wig. Hannah loves to perform with her sister, Charlotte, a violinist. She recently wrote a piece for her - "For My Sister."
Hannah studied viola performance at New England Conservatory (MM) and San Francisco Conservatory (AD) and she has collaborated with students in Boston public schools, the Afghan Youth Orchestra, and Universities in Japan. She loves to travel and work with musicians from different parts of the world.
DAVE CONNOR: ACOUSTIC + ELECTRIC BASS
Dave Connor, acoustic and electric bass player of The alt Default, was born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts to a family of performing artists and teachers. Getting his musical start on the acoustic bass in the Massachusetts public schools where his father was a music teacher, it didn’t take long for Dave to get his hands on his dad’s electric bass, an instrument that fascinated him for years to come. Now 27 years old, Dave is pursuing his passion for performance and education as one of the first ever Community Embedded Musicians with the Houston Symphony and continuing to develop his voice as a bassist and arranger with the dynamic trio, The alt Default.
After studying classical performance at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Peabody Institute, Carnegie Mellon (BFA) and Rice University (MM), Dave became a member of the New World Symphony. It was during his two years there that he began playing with Nathaniel and Hannah and formed the band. As a musician who feels equally at home in many styles of music, Dave rounds out the low end of The alt Default and doesn’t shy away from bringing the funk (usually on Nathaniel’s request).