Known for her soulful and expressive playing, violinist Nancy Shoop-Wu blends her classical training as a symphony violinist with the impressionistic magic of the Islands of Hawaii. From the moment she set foot in the Aloha State, Nancy found herself under the islands' magical spell. The result was a burst of creativity for the consummate musician as she blended her love of New Age and Classical music, combining them with the musical culture of her new home, to craft beautiful music with appeal across a variety of spectrums.
Born in Connecticut, Nancy Shoop-Wu began playing the violin at age 9, encouraged and bolstered by her music-loving father, a trumpet player himself, and her pianist mother. A fan of many styles of music, her father would whistle songs she was learning while the two bonded over cooking or doing chores. Tragedy struck three years later when he passed away when Nancy was only 12. However, the painful loss became the catalyst for Nancy to get serious about her goal of becoming a professional violinist.
Her musical studies took her first to Hartt School of Music followed by Yale School of Music, where she studied with renowned violin teachers Paul Kantor and Ida Kavafian. While still in conservatory, Nancy began auditioning for professional orchestras and won her first position with the Filarmonica de Caracas in Venezuela. After nine months, she returned to the U.S to finish her training. Within a year of graduating from Yale she had won positions in New Haven Symphony, Hartford Symphony and Orchestra of New England. It was her next stop, however, which would change her life in a much more drastic way, when she successfully auditioned for a chair with the Honolulu Symphony and moved to Hawaii.
As a member of the Honolulu Symphony Nancy began to explore a broader musical world, sharing the stage with not only top Hawaiian musicians, but also classical and genre crossing superstars from Yo-Yo Ma to Bela Fleck. At the same time she also began to re-connect with her love for Celtic and New Age music. Like a slow-cooking stew, these various influences and inspirations blended over time inside the talented musician and she began to compose in earnest, finally finding her unique voice as a composer.
Results sprung forth with two albums, Beautiful Mana'o followed by Rainbow Road (both were produced by Derek Nakamoto and feature two of this era’s most-acclaimed Hawaiian slack-key guitarists, Jeff Peterson and Ian O’Sullivan). The latter album was a finalist for Hawaii's Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2016. Nancy re-released Rainbow Road in January 2017 with bonus tracks from her first release Beautiful Mana’o. This new release was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Best New Artist in the ZMR Awards for radio in 2018.
Nancy Shoop-Wu's life evolved in a life-altering and affirming way with her move to Hawaii. She states "I have had the privilege of living in Hawaii for half of my life and have found my home here on this 'Island of Rainbows.' I was raised in Connecticut, but it was in Hawaii that a new dimension of musical expression and spirituality opened up for me. I wrote these songs to uplift and transport the listener’s heart beyond their daily existence to a another world – the world of beauty and wonder that lies within us all."