A veteran performer, educator and motivator, Crystal Plohman has lived far fewer years than her experience would suggest. This vibrant woman began her musical training at the age of 6 in the Suzuki violin program at Brandon University, Canada. Having grown up in a musical household with a fiddling champion for a father, she quickly progressed in both the classical and folk music scene. At age 7, Crystal began competing in weekend fiddling competitions across the continent. Before she was 13, Crystal won her first Canadian national competition and released two solo recordings. She studied classical piano in the Royal Conservatory of Music program and developed her ear as an accompanist at weekly fiddling competitions. In 20 years of North America competition, Crystal won hundreds of awards and titles including state and international titles. She was the only person to place as a top four finalist at both the Canadian and American Grand Masters Competitions. She continues to be involved in competition as a judge and guest entertainer.
Since her move to Tennessee in 1994, Crystal has worked with the city’s top musicians including Mark O’Connor, Vassar Clemments, Buddy Spicher, Bela Fleck, and the legendary Chet Atkins. Crystal has shown her versatility as a performing artist across many styles of music. Her distinctive fiddle style blends a rich, beautiful, “crystal-clear” sound with a genuine feel for the rhythm and subtleties of the Irish and Scottish folk music on which she was raised. She has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and has performed in Ireland, Japan, and China. Over the years, she has been a guest soloist with numerous orchestral ensembles including the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the Western Kentucky Symphony, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
In recent years, Crystal’s main passion has been music education. She first came to Nashville as the teaching assistant to Mark O’Connor at Vanderbilt University and served as the Director of the fiddling program from 1999 to 2007. For the past 20 years, Crystal has worked extensively with teachers and students worldwide, teaching different aspects of fiddle music at various music and string camps, workshops, and specialty clinics. Her background as both a Suzuki violin student and trained teacher and an authentic fiddler have made her a popular clinician at many Suzuki workshops and summer institutes throughout the United States. Crystal has also been a featured presenter at the Music Educators National Conference and has presented her clinics at state educators’ conferences in California, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as well as in Belgium and Canada.
Crystal currently lives in Nashville with her husband William and their young daughter Kelsie and newborn son Joshua.