A fiddler, composer, and arranger from the small town of Kuttawa, Kentucky, Kate began playing violin at the age of eight with the encouragement of her grandmother, and at seventeen, she moved to Nashville to pursue her dream of attending Belmont University.  During her freshman year, her teacher, Ryan Joseph, gave her the assignment to write a bluegrass tune, and it was love at first write.  Currently, she is a first-year graduate student at Belmont studying Commercial Music with an emphasis in Media Writing/Arranging, having just graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Commercial Violin with emphases in Performance and Composition/Arranging.  She writes music varying from bluegrass tunes to orchestral compositions, and she has experience creating arrangements ranging from orchestral scores to jazz band charts.  With over twelve years of experience playing violin, she is classically trained, but she also specializes in country, bluegrass, and Celtic.  

While at Belmont, Kate has been provided a great number of performance opportunities.  As a member of the Bluegrass Ensemble, she has had numerous performance opportunities both on campus and off, including traveling to Los Angeles to perform for a couple of events during Grammy week and playing multiple shows at the Station Inn.  Additionally, an all-female iteration of the ensemble performed with the Isaacs at the 10-year anniversary of Song Suffragettes to honor Wynonna Judd.  The ensemble’s most recent accomplishment is opening a show at the Grand Ole Opry.  In addition, Kate has been a member of the Symphony Orchestra, Classical String Quartets, Belmont Strings, and the World Fiddle Ensemble, and she has also performed as a guest with Phoenix (Belmont’s premier pop-rock ensemble), Percussion Ensemble, and Southbound (Belmont’s country ensemble).  Not afraid of hard work, Kate is an Archer Presidential Scholar, has maintained a 4.0 throughout her high school and college career, and was selected as the Belmont College of Music and Performing Arts Sophomore Student of the Year in 2022.  

Outside of Belmont, Kate has served as the staff fiddle player at the Kentucky Opry for six years, which has given her the opportunity to open for several country music artists, including Trace Adkins, John Conlee, Jimmy Fortune, Loretta Lynn, Travis Tritt, Josh Turner, Gene Watson, and others.  She has won awards in numerous fiddle contests across the country, and in 2018, she was one of seven violinists from the state of Kentucky selected to attend the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts.  She has performed with artists such as Cody Fry, Ben Rector, Cory Wong, Scott Mulvahill, Matt Maher, Mo Pitney, Cody Kilby, Leona Williams, Josh Williams, and the Gibson Brothers, and she was privileged to open for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Ryman Auditorium in 2019.  She also has studio experience as both an orchestral player and a soloist, and she has played on releases for artists such as Breanna Corjuc, Mackenna Swann, and Kimmie Simon.  In addition, Kate has recently released an EP of mostly original music, titled Chords of the Cumberland.

Kate strives to use her talents and her career to glorify God and to be an influence on other young fiddlers, especially females, going into the music field.  She has been blessed with phenomenal mentors and role models in her life, so she has a passion for teaching and helping kids hone their own musical abilities.  She was an intern at the Paducah Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Camp, a counselor at the Belmont University Strings Crossings Camp and Vocal Arts Intensive, and a composition instructor at the Belmont Preparatory Piano Camp.  She has also had several private students and has taught at the W.O. Smith Music School, an organization in Nashville that seeks to serve children who might otherwise be unable to afford music instruction.

At present, Kate is working on finishing her masters’ degree, writing fiddle tunes, and always perfecting her craft.  Her former teacher and current mentor, Grammy-nominated Ryan Joseph, attests to her capabilities.  He notes, “Kate Ward is a violinist whose musical talents are matched by her strong work ethic and kind heart.  She is on track to be one of the best in the business!”  Are you looking for the next addition to your writer’s room, recording project, or live show?  Consider getting to know Kate Ward.