Violinist Laurel Thomsen
In addition to performing in concert, I enjoy helping to make the special occasions in my clients' lives even more memorable and unique with violin or viola performance to fit the mood, moment to moment. Since 1998, my colleagues and I have provided sweet, soulful, and sassy music for thousands of events and venues around her home base on the California Central Coast (Monterey, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, etc.) and the San Francisco Bay Area, including weddings, cocktail hours and receptions, marriage proposals, corporate or holiday/themed events, memorials, art gallery openings, parties, and house concerts.

My event repertoire features diverse genres and can be performed on solo violin or accompanied by a variety of duo, trio, or ensemble configurations. We look forward to helping make your event a success!
Violinist Laurel Thomsen
With choices ranging from Classical, Pop, Rock, and R&B, to Jazz, Latin, Country, Bluegrass, Celtic, and Folk, I love "finding the voice of the violin" across diverse styles of music, an interest reflected in my expansive song lists and my ability to effortlessly change gears as an event may demand - from elegant Classical favorites to rousing fiddle tunes, introspective Pop ballads to groovy Jazz, Rock, and Blues classics.

However, beyond the setlist and the performance are other elements that help make hosting live music a success. Performing professionally since I was a teenager, I strive to create a focal point of not only beautiful music, but professionalism and poise, marrying my decades of performance experience with my thoughtful, intuitive, and accommodating personality. Clients and promoters can rest assured that they are in good hands!

Violinist Laurel Thomsen

Choosing Ensemble Type: A Music First Approach

It’s nice to have options! When deciding upon the instrumentation for a new song or piece, songwriters and composers consider the style of the music they’re writing in, the inherent sound of each instrument, the roles each instrument typically plays within an ensemble, and the playability of a part on a given instrument. Along with considerations like venue and guest list size, budget, event length, and whether or not the group will be acoustic or amplified, it’s helpful to think like a composer when booking a musical act. A violinist can perform solo or be accompanied by a range of instruments; however, for music that sounds rich and convincing, it's important to consider the music first, then book the ensemble.

While it's standard within the event music industry for clients to book the desired ensemble and choose music later on, the result is sometimes a last minute scramble to try and make magic with a configuration of musicians that isn't actually very well suited to perform the requested songs. To avoid this, Laurel asks clients to identify at least a few key songs or the genre they wish to feature at the start of the booking process. From there we’ll be able to confidently book the instrumentation that will make your favorite songs come to life.

Please click a topic to learn more.

Violinist Laurel Thomsen reading sheet music at a wedding
Choosing Music
Many clients identify a genre or range of genres, an era of music, or a feel they wish to convey at their event, and beyond that we work our magic. If clients want to make their own music selections, my event repertoire page lists popular event and wedding music currently available. If you don't see a piece you'd like to include at your event, with enough notice most any song can be learned, though an extra fee may apply. If you aren't sure where to start, I am happy to help with any part of the music selection process.

For weddings and other personal occasions such as marriage proposals, memorials, and birthday parties, there are no set rules for the selection of music. Whether we choose traditional Classical music, contemporary Pop, or something strikingly unique, most important is how the music will set the mood for your special occasion.
Violinist Laurel Thomsen performing solo violin at a wedding
For a truly exceptional experience, clients booking me as a solo violinist, my violin-guitar duo, or my violin-guitar-double bass trio, my colleagues and I are also available to compose an original instrumental song in the genre of your choice for your event. Please contact me for more details, samples of our work, and a quote, and allow at least three months lead time to write and prepare the piece.
Outdoor Event Considerations
Weather by the coast is always changing. For as many beautiful locations as we have for events and weddings around the California Central Coast, from the beaches, wineries, and private estates of Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur, to the ocean view terraces and redwood groves of Santa Cruz, to San Jose's Rose Garden and San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, there are just as many weather patterns.

Please be aware that stringed instruments are made of fine wood and may be ruined if exposed to extreme weather conditions; this includes precipitation, hot sun, and cold temperatures. Windy conditions also make it hard to keep the bow on the strings and the sheet music on the stand!

For outdoor events we require a shaded performance space (canopy, umbrella, tree, overhang, etc.) to protect the instruments from sun damage and/or drizzle, and we reserve the right to cancel services if an indoor location is not possible in the event of inclement weather.

When's the best time of year for an outdoor event on the California Central Coast?

Having performed throughout the California Central Coast since 1998, including the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, the Salinas Valley, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, and the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Francisco Peninsula, San Jose and Los Gatos, Marin, Berkeley, and Oakland, I am quite familiar with the microclimates we experience! While the weather tends to be temperate overall, certain times of year and locations are safer for holding outdoor events and weddings then others, and these are not always what we might think!

“If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour and it will change!” - a knowing coast dweller

Spring: Mid-March through May tends to be clear and breezy, with periods of high wind and drizzle. There might be showers and daytime temperatures tend to be in the low 60s at the coast and warmer inland.
Summer: June through mid-August tend to be foggy, breezy, and cool by the coast, and warm, or even sweltering, just a few miles inland. Pebble Beach has been known to go for months without a ray of sunlight breaking through! Temperatures on the coast are typically in the low-mid 60s, but the dampness can be chilling. In contrast, inland areas like Carmel Valley, Bonny Doon, San Jose, and Gilroy can easily be in the 80s, if not 90s and 100s.
Indian Summer: Shhhh, this is the local’s secret. The end of August through mid-October is typically when the warmest and calmest weather happens by the coast in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Areas. Temperatures are often in the high 70s. A great time for an outdoor wedding overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean!
Fall: The end of October and November are typically cooler with daytime temperatures by the coast returning to the 60s or getting down into the 50s. The days can be brisk, though often sunny. Late November might have a rainstorm.
Winter: December through mid-March is typically either cloudy and cool, brisk and sunny, or cold and rainy, sometimes torrentially. Though glorious warm days have been know to happen, daytime temperatures usually are in the 50s at the coast and could be in the 40s at higher elevations. I recommend an indoor wedding or at least an alternate indoor location on hand.

Violinist Laurel Thomsen
Interested in booking Laurel and her colleagues for your event?

Please email me at (best way to get in touch) or call her at 831-224-0913. For answers to common questions about booking, you can also visit my Event Music Q&A page.

When reaching out, in your initial message please include:
  • Event type
  • Event location - including whether indoors or out
  • Event date and timeframe (or time estimate)
  • Desired instrumentation/ensemble - if you're not sure, helpful info would be the size of the guest list and the space
  • Key song requests when possible, or the genre(s) you're most interested in

From there we can determine availability, ensemble options, music selection, and provide a quote, or set of quotes, covering the specifics of your event. When you are ready to book, returning my event agreement (provided after ironing out the basic details) and paying a 50% deposit will secure the date.

We look forward to helping make your event a success!

Laurel Thomsen

Violin, Viola, Vocals
Performance, Instruction, Recording

Based in Santa Cruz, California

Site by Laurel Thomsen
Photography by Michelle Magdalena
Skype: laurelthomsen

Become a VIP fan!

Join my periodic newsletter and be the first to learn about her adventures, music, tour dates, and new recordings. On occasion I'll also offer mailing list only downloads and discounts.
© 1996-2024 Laurel Thomsen, Email me