First Violinist to First Officer
From soaring the skies to striking the perfect chord, Endeavor First Officer Nati Draiblate balances his roles as concertmaster and pilot in perfect harmony
For as long as he can remember, Nati Draiblate was surrounded by music. He first picked up a violin at age six, deeply influenced by his parents who were both musicians. And for the past 14 years, Nati has held the position of First Violinist — or concertmaster — for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Now, Nati is hitting the high notes as he takes flight as an Endeavor Air First Officer, embracing his two passions in perfect harmony.
“I was thinking that I was going to get a private pilot license; I planned to play my music and then on the weekends I would fly a little plane and take my friends with me,” said Nati, who is based in NYC. “I was surprisingly wrong.”
Nati took a discovery flight in August 2019, and by the time he landed, he had decided to sign up for lessons at the Navy Annapolis Flight Center. About four years later, Nati attended an Endeavor recruitment event, planning to only ask questions, but he ended up interviewing for the First Officer position and receiving a job offer. He was flying for Endeavor by February 2022.
“It feels like a family at Endeavor Air,” said Nati. “Everyone is so supportive and always willing to go the extra mile for you.”
When he’s not orchestrating the skies, Nati’s musical pursuits are still very much in play. As First Violinist, he continues to perform about 50 days out of the year. Nati has concertized across four continents and his recent appearances have been with the American Symphony at Carnegie Hall, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Brasilia Concert Society Orchestra and Turkey’s Bursa Symphony Orchestra. The versatile artist performs as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist and has been called “a violinist who combines confidence and virtuosity with a playful musical personality” by The Washington Post.
In addition, Nati and his colleagues began a music school for children ages four to eighteen years old, called the Annapolis Symphony Academy.
“I was personally dismayed that there were not enough music opportunities for children whose families can’t afford music lessons or instruments,” Nati said. “They don’t have to become musicians; they can do whatever they want. About half of the kids are underrepresented in orchestra, so it’s important to give them these fun opportunities that connect with them on a different level.”
There are currently 86 kids in the program, and there is a program for every age and level, accompanied by private lessons and orchestra rehearsals. These lessons and opportunities have been made possible by generous donors in the classical industry.
“We’re helping a lot of kids that need it,” said Nati. “There’s research out there that shows that when
you play music, the results are incredible. It’s not our job to determine if they want to do it for a living, but if they like it, we will help them get there.”
With some Endeavor flying hours under his belt, Nati has been able to learn things in the sky and take it back with him to the stage.
“I like the perspective of seeing things from above, seeing the big picture instead of getting lost in the details,” said Nati. “By contrast, in music, you go into the little details in order to iron out every note. I can take that ‘big picture’ perspective and bring it back to the music.”
In working with the next generation of musicians, Nati always reminds them to keep an open mind when it comes to pursuing their dreams.
“I merged two different careers that I didn’t think was possible 10-years ago,” Nati said. “I tell my students that your hobbies don’t have to be a career, but make sure that you have something you enjoy that you can always escape to.”
Images: ©Endeavor Air
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