A photo of APM composer Nathalie Bonin

Meet Your Creator: Nathalie Bonin

27 Jan 2023

A photo of violinist Nathalie Bonin

There are so many paths in Nathalie Bonin’s career that it can be hard to keep up. For Bonin, being a multi-talented composer, producer, and violinist simply wasn’t enough. Born in San Francisco and growing up in Montreal, Bonin’s heart was always drawn to performance. As a child, she excelled in music, performing at Carnegie Hall with a youth symphony, earning multiple awards and recognition prizes, and going on to study performance at McGill. Still, she was always pushing herself to do more, like organizing a Canadian music festival, touring internationally with orchestras, and even dabbling in pre-med studies while she considered becoming an MD herself. 

Instead, Bonin decided to combine her love for violin with another early passion: Gymnastics. She began training to become a violin aerialist. Yes, you read that right. Although she was initially drawn to both music and acrobatics, and spent formative years pursuing both, it was music that won out. “I had essentially two passions,” Bonin remembered during a recent interview. “My main goal was to be a gymnast, and from age three I was doing gymnastics a lot. I started violin when I was four, group classes with the Suzuki method. I was doing both music and gymnastics, but when I was nine, I didn’t fit the physique the gymnastics coach wanted, tiny, tiny girls that barely weighed a feather. They wouldn’t even give me an audition, so I put the gymnastics aside to focus on music.”

But by the time Bonin had perfected her craft as a violinist and had begun studying jazz, world music, and improvisation, it hit her that maybe her dream of being a gymnast was still within reach. “That little passion from when I was three came back,” Bonin said. “I was working on this musical with a choreographer, and I told her I’ve always wanted to combine something acrobatic and musical. She connected me with a coach who worked with Cirque Éloize, and I went to the circus training. I was pretty fit and flexible and had a good sense of orientation, but I’d never done circus or aerial.” 

After an intensive three-month training, Bonin debuted her new aerial violinist act on a live TV show in Canada and polished her act from there. For twelve years, she performed the violin aerial act she designed all the way up through Covid. Most people have only seen that kind of spectacle and talent combination at something like Cirque du Soleil, but Bonin put the show on all by herself for over a decade. After the advent of the pandemic, Bonin began working on a women’s compendium with Amy Andersson, who created Women Warriors: The Voices Of Change, a “docu-symphony” that sought to honor women throughout history. Tapping eight female composers, including Bonin, the project went on to win the Grammy for Best classical Compendium in 2022. Listen

But that isn’t even all of Bonin’s accomplishments so far this year. On yet another path in her career, Bonin’s work in the world of sync has also begun to reach new heights. A few years back, she decided to get her Masters certificate in Composition for TV & Film through Berklee School Of Music’s online classes. A year and a half into the program, her pitches began to land, and she was able to secure some placements in shows for main titles and series soundtracks. Learning more about the world of production music, Bonin began to work with MPath, a boutique music library available through APM, and began to work as a composer creating music to order specifically for placements.

Her most exciting recent sync, though, came in the form of a piece landing in Season 2 of Bridgerton. Her track “Arrival Of The Princess,” taken from the 2021 album Queen Of Hearts was featured on the finale of Bridgerton’s second season—a placement that surprised and delighted Bonin as she was watching the show. “I had seen Bridgerton, and I had all these pieces I was convinced would fit perfectly on the show,” she said. “But they were already in post, so we had to release my album on APM in the span of nine days or something crazy like that. Then we didn’t actually think any songs made it in, but I was halfway through the last episode about to fall asleep—and literally, a minute later, I heard my song start. It was so unbelievable I had to go back and listen to my own track to make sure it was mine.”

After recently relocating from Montreal to Los Angeles, it’s clear that Bonin will be exploring even more new paths with her music, aerial, and composition work in the years to come—and since season three of Bridgerton is on the horizon, perhaps more syncs with one of the most popular shows on Netflix are also in her future.