Sotos / Fiddle
"Cat" Sotos has been playing the violin since she was four years
old. Cassandra barely remembers life before violin, and says that
she wanted to play violin as soon as she ever saw one. She was
never forced. When attending a Pittsburgh Symphony educational day
camp for children in pre-school, she saw someone playing the
violin and immediately knew that was what she wanted to do. She
even went as far as to ask her parents for violin lessons every
day for an entire year. When they realized she was serious about
the violin, Cassandra's parents looked for a violin teacher but
had trouble finding someone who would take such a young student.
They finally found a teacher in Pittsburgh who was willing to take
her on and train her in the Suzuki Method, which helped her
realize her greatest gift: playing by ear. Cassandra was
instructed in the Suzuki method for the first seven years and
extended her classical training privately at Carnegie Mellon
University Preparatory for five years where she also trained in
Chamber music with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony. She has
attended Mark OíConnorís Fiddle Camp in Nashville, Tennessee for
ten consecutive years, starting at age eight. Her first "paid" gig
was with the League of Arts Square Dance band, and she played
fiddle for that band for several years. While at the League,
Cassandra learned the ropes of classic country and old time music,
and began honing her skills of improvisation. Throughout the
years she has been awarded many "Grand Champion Fiddler" titles at
old time and bluegrass fiddle contests around the tri-state area.
Cassandra has played with several Pittsburgh area
country bands but most notably spent four years as the lead fiddle
for the country band NOMaD ( North of Mason Dixon). NOMaDís debut
CD, "Born and Raised" was released in April , 2006. "Born and
Raised" was well received in the tri-state area radio community.
Their first single, "North of Mason Dixon," was heard on radio
stations all over Pittsburgh just like any national artist!
Several tracks made it to the national radio airplay spins charts,
something virtually unheard of for independent unsigned artists.
The group worked very closely with Froggy 97 Radio in
Pittsburgh and were featured in countless Froggy 97-sponsored
events. Cassandra also made several 'guest DJ' appearances on
prime time Froggy 97 radio for special events. With NOMaD,
Cassandra has performed in front of thousands of people and has
had the opportunity to open for several national artists,
Toby Keith - Rascal Flatts - Big & Rich - Brooks & Dunn - Kenny
Chesney - George Jones - Neal McCoy - Don Williams - Van Zant -
Sara Evans - Alan Jackson - David Allan Coe - SheDaisy - Joe
Nichols - Shooter Jennings - Trent Tomlinson - Trisha Yearwood -
And Many Others She has also made performances at Heinz
Field at numerous Pittsburgh Steelers games.
Cassandra has done studio recording for other area
artists -ranging from country to heavy metal- and produced her own
solo Christmas CD in December, 2007. Versatility, she says, is her
strength: adept at playing by ear, "Cat" can pick up the fiddle at
any venue and have the audience on its feet. Cassandra is
currently pursuing a solo career as a violinist and performer. In
January 2008, she had the great opportunity to perform at the
world famous Apollo Theater in New York City as part of the
legendary "Amateur Night at the Apollo." At the Apollo, Cassandra
debuted her new instrument the "Viper," an extraordinary electric
violin made by Mark Wood--owner of
(www.woodviolins.com). Cassandra's Viper is a 7 string "flying V"
white sparkling electric violin.
Cassandra is now a proud artist and representative for Wood
Violins and can be seen performing with the 'family' at
promotional events across the country. She has attended and
performed at the
show with Wood Violins and is scheduled to perform there again
this upcoming January 2011 Since becoming an artist for Wood
Violins, Cassandra has had the opportunity to share the stage
with her long-time idol and inspiration, the great
on several occasions. She has also been fortunate enough to
become involved in his spectacular educational program,
Electrify Your Strings.
One more tinnnny thing... Cassandra has just received
her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering with
Honors in Industrial Engineering Product Design and a Minor in
Engineering Entrepreneurship from the Pennsylvania State
Schreyer Honors College
in August 2010.