Fiddle week staff - July 31-August 6, 2016
PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS FOR THE 2016 WORKSHOPS.
INFORMATION FOR THE 2017 WORKSHOPS WILL BE POSTED NEXT MARCH.
Matt Glaser is the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of Music, and was formerly chairman of the String Department at Berklee for 30 years. Glaser is the first non-classical string teacher to win ASTA’s prestigious Artist Teacher Award,whose past recipients include Joseph Szigeti, Pablo Casals, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Dorothy DeLay, and Ivan Galamian. Glaser has performed and recorded widely in a variety of idioms ranging from jazz to bluegrass to early music, and has published 12 books on contemporary violin styles including Jazz Violin, co-authored with the late Stephane Grappelli. He has performed with David Grisman, Bob Dylan, Stephane Grappelli, J Geils, Leo Kottke, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Lee Konitz, Kenny Werner, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, the Waverly Consort, Fiddle Fever, and his own band, Wayfaring Strangers – a band that fuses jazz and folk music. The Boston Herald called him “possibly America’s most versatile violinist.” Matt served on the board of advisors of the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary, and appears in the film as a ‘talking head.’ Matt served on the boards of directors of Chamber Music America and the American String Teachers Association. He has performed at the White House, and at Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor as part of Stephane Grappelli’s 80th birthday concert. He has taught at the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, University of Miami, American String Teacher Association conferences, International Association of Jazz Educator conferences, and many others.
Michael Doucet and his band, BeauSoleil, have been the premier ambassadors of the Cajun sound for more than three decades, offering music that is usually melodic and harmonically interesting, in addition to its riveting rhythmic drive. He grew up on his father’s farm about five miles west of Lafayette, Louisiana, and by 1974, Doucet was playing in local hangouts when a French promoter asked him and his band to come to France for two weeks to play at a folk festival. “It was the turning point of my life,” he says, when he realized the correlations between old French songs from the Middle Ages and modern Cajun music. In 1975, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study the music styles of such living Cajun music legends as Dennis McGee. Most of his time has been spent with double Grammy-winners BeauSoleil, and the group has toured throughout the states, Europe and the Middle East and recorded more than twenty albums. The band composed and recorded the sound track for the movie, Belizaire the Cajun, and the title song for the romantic thriller, The Big Easy. Doucet has collaborated with Richard Thompson, and the band has made several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, and at former President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural gala. Keith Richards asked Doucet to play on his solo release, Talk is Cheap, and in 1990, BeauSoleil celebrated Mardi Gras with the Grateful Dead for 17,000 fans at Oakland Coliseum. In 2005, Doucet was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. This will be his fifth year teaching here at what Michael calls “my favorite fiddling school!”
Rodney Miller was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed with contradance bands the Stringrays, Blue Ribbon Dance Band and the Rhythm Raptors, taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded over ten fiddle albums. In 1999, Rodney represented the state of New Hampshire, playing traditional fiddle music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has appeared on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, performed live with the Twyla Tharp Modern Dance Company, performed at Lincoln Center in NY and was recorded on the album Songs and Sounds of the Sea for the National Geographic Society. In 2008, Rodney was asked to represent New Hampshire in the All-New England concert Crossroads: Music Traditions of New England, held in Quebec City to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding and the influence of French culture in North America, In 2014, he was appointed to a two-year term as New Hampshire’s Artist Laureate by Gov. Maggie Hassan, the NH State Council on the Arts and the NH Dept. of Cultural Resources, for being a “Master of New England Fiddling, Crafter of exquisite violins, Composer, Recording Artist, Renowned dance fiddler, Student of the history and social function of music, and a Generous teacher of traditional arts.”
Alex is one of the most acclaimed fiddlers of his generation. He has received numerous honors including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference, as well as being the youngest ever (age 15) to win the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. In 2010, at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Alex was awarded the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, and a full tuition scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, where he completed the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez, this new program admits only a handful of students each year, providing them with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a select group of faculty. He has toured with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Danilo Perez, Darol Anger and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz, appearing on three of her critically-acclaimed albums, as well as her Grammy-nominated instrumental, “Mansinneedof.” His debut album, Prelude featured master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, and special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny. Alex is an active performer and has played on stages around the world including Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion, Panama Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, as well as venues in Europe and South Korea.
Lisa Ornstein is best known as an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of Québéc. She’s also a tune hunter, the kind of musician who is passionate about putting back into circulation all-but-forgotten gems she’s learned at the feet of old masters. A Connecticut-born Midwesterner, Lisa was befriended by North Carolina fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell while she was in her teens. She was an accomplished old-time musician when she became friends with Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin and his family. That friendship inspired a twelve-year stay in Québéc, with tunes until dawn in kitchens and dance halls across the province, and a stint in La Bottine Souriante, the powerhouse trad group most responsible for kickstarting Québéc’s folk revival. After directing a cultural heritage center in an Acadian region of northern Maine, Lisa moved with her family toPortland, Oregon, where she now teaches fiddle and makes musical mischief with musicians such as Johnny B. Connolly and Leela Grace. She can often be seen heading for the airport on her way to another gig with Québéc’s Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville (The Buzz Around Town) with André Marchand and Normand Miron.
Creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist, actor/storyteller, emcee and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, Joe has made music with many folks – from jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia – to multi-string guy David Lindley and harmonica wizard Howard Levy. Always looking for the next expression and object to make music with, he is a musical madman with anything that has strings attached; violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, berimbau, balalaika, boot ‘n lace and double-necked whatever. Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects. He has presented at numerous schools, universities and the American String Teacher’s Association, is a keynote clinician at Wintergrass in Seattle, Executive Director of RiverTunes in California and a coast to coast emcee of a variety of music festivals, including Delfest and Telluride Bluegrass. No matter who he’s connecting with – a community workshop in Costa Rica, a university lecture in Washington, jamming with Gnawa musicians in Morocco or on stage in front of thousands of school kids in Scotland, he’s at home and loving every minute. “Everything Joe touches turns to music,” says mandolinist David Grisman, with whom Joe played for almost 17 years.
Ben Sollee is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his innovative playing style, genre-bending songwriting, electrifying performances, and political and environmental activism. A native Kentuckian, Sollee has composed for stage and screen at home and abroad. Following a performance at the Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, the New York Times remarked how Sollee’s “…meticulous, fluent arrangements continually morphed from one thing to another. Appalachian mountain music gave way to the blues, and one song was appended with a fragment from a Bach cello suite, beautifully played.” Sollee’s musical career has also expanded beyond the stage into film and TV, with his songs featured on ABC’s Parenthood and HBO’s Weeds. In partnership with the design group Public Works Collaborative, Ben helped create a massive eco-art and tech installation called Livestream. The sculpture was recently awarded a grant from the NEA and will be installed this fall in Lexington, KY. His upcoming record, Steeples, will see a return to the basic ingredients of Sollee’s music: cello, voice, and storytelling.
Greg Canote has been teased about his funny ears since he was born, but he got even by holding a violin for fifty years and playing the fiddle for almost forty of those. He has spent most of his musical life singing and playing with his twin brother Jere as The Canote Brothers. He still remembers the first time he heard old-time fiddling at the Berkeley Fiddler’s convention in 1970: “Sounded like a beehive on fire!” He has played hundreds of square dances with his brother and with dance icon Sandy Bradley (Small Wonder String Band). While his first love is old-time, over the years, he has also dipped his toes and fingers into bluegrass with Curly Maple, 1920’s tunes with Volunteer Park Conservatory Orchestra, ragtime with the Bing Bang Boys, country with El Rancho Cowboys, swing with the Canote Brothers and honky-tonk with the Honky Tonk Review. For thirteen years, Greg and Jere were the affable, musical side-kicks on National Public Radio’s Sandy Bradley’s Potluck out of Seattle, and the two have led a successful, ongoing stringband workshop since 1983. Greg has been on staff at many festivals and workshops in the states, including: Old Time Week at the Swannanoa Gathering, the Augusta Heritage Workshops, Pinewoods, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop,
Since hearing the Holy Modal Rounders at the age of 15, Andrea Hoag has been drawn to fiddle traditions where the serrated coincides with the sublime. This fascination led her inevitably to Sweden, where she studied with elder fiddlers Päkkos Gustaf, Påhl Olle, and Nils Agenmark on a fellowship from the Skandia Music Foundation. Andrea was the first non-Swede to graduate from Malungs Folkhögskola’s Folk Violin Pedagogy program, in 1984. Since then she has performed and recorded in numerous combinations across the U.S. and overseas. Career highlights include a Grammy nomination for her CD, Hambo in the Snow with Loretta Kelley and Charlie Pilzer; a collaborative recording with Jacqueline Schwab, Bruce Molsky and others; leading Seattle’s Skandia Spelmanslag on a performance tour of Sweden; and the daily privilege of playing music for a living. A dedicated teacher, Andrea has been a guest instructor for the American String Teachers Association and the Berklee College of Music. Her music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, at the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, and at numerous venues around the U.S. and in Sweden.
Matt has provided masterful fiddle work for some of the best-known names in country, bluegrass, and old-time music including John Hartford, Jerry Douglas, Patty Loveless, Suzy Bogguss, Maura O’Connell, John Oates, Mike Snider, Ray Price, Kevin Costner, Charlie Daniels, Jimmy Martin, Marty Stuart, Uncle Josh Graves, Kenny Baker, The Indigo Girls, Norman and Nancy Blake and Doc Watson. He has also performed with The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra, and the Nashville Opera. Matt was the staff fiddler for the Grand Ole Opry in 2014-15. He has been an instructor at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp, at The International Fiddle School, and has led clinics at The New England Conservatory, Wichita State University, and elsewhere. In addition, since 2006, Matt has presented educational seminars in conjunction with the Nashville Symphony and the Country Music Hall of Fame, entitled “Is It Fiddle or Violin?” He fronts The Driven Bow, a nine-piece fiddle ensemble including some of Nashville’s finest fiddlers and maintains an active schedule lending his talents on fiddle, mandolin, old time banjo, and guitar to numerous recording projects.
As a bassist in both jazz and traditional music, Kevin Kehrberg has toured nationally and internationally, including Canada, Japan, and U.S. State Department tours of Kyrgyzstan and Ecuador. He has performed with Slide Hampton, Roger Humphries, Jean Ritchie, and Art Stamper, among others, and his album credits include recordings with the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Billy Contreras, Rayna Gellert, David Long, Chris Sharp and the Red State Ramblers. He has taught at many workshops and clinics, including the Swannanoa Gathering and the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School. Kevin also actively records and performs as a backup guitarist for old-time fiddlers. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Music at Warren Wilson College.
Finn is a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships. He has toured the U.S., Canada, France, Africa, and Brazil and performed with many Irish and Scottish luminaries including John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Aidan O’Rourke, Flook, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Teada and the Paul McKenna Band. At age 17, he released his first CD of Irish fiddle music, Drive & Lift, featuring fellow SG staffers John Doyle and John Skelton, and in 2016 will be releasing a new 2 CD Irish fiddle project that features many of the artists with whom he has collaborated with over the last ten years. Finn has served as an instructor in Irish fiddle at the Swannanoa Gathering for seven years. Since 2014, he has been living in Rio de Janeiro, studying Brazilian choro intensively with many of this genre’s foremost musicians. In 2015, he founded the choro group The Andrew Finn Quartet which has already been featured in several performance series in Brazil. The band features many of Finn’s own compositions which highlight an ongoing study of contemporary choro composition with highly-accoladed composer and clarinetist Pedro Paes.
Laura Lengnick is well known for a contra dance fiddling style that powers a danceable groove while staying solidly grounded in the New England tradition. Drawing on a large repertoire of old and new tunes from the Northern, Southern and Celtic traditions, Laura has played with many of the best dance musicians in the country and is widely respected for her ability to add sparkle and drive to any musical combination. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching fiddlers of all ages and skill levels, but particularly enjoys teaching fiddle to adult beginners (she was one, so she understands the challenges!) and to recovering classical violinists looking to discover their inner fiddler. Laura has taught workshops in dance fiddling and dance ensemble playing across the U.S. and in Europe, has published articles about the art of playing for contra dances, and is an accomplished band leader. Laura’s nationally-acclaimed band, Laura and the Lava Lamps, helped to shape modern contra dance music through their innovative CD Primordial Groove released in 2001. Laura regularly plays contra dances in the Asheville region and beyond with Hot Sonata, Good and Plenty, and Curious George. Laura is also a fine singer of classic swing, traditional folk, southern gospel and Americana, and she loves singing just about anything ‘a capella.’
Laura Risk grew up in the thriving San Francisco Scottish fiddle scene of the 1980s and 90s, learning her craft from acclaimed fiddler Alasdair Fraser. Laura performs and teaches internationally when she is not home in Montreal, Quebec, teaching at McGill University or researching Québécois traditional music, jazz violinist Ginger Smock, or the diffusion of the “chop!” Laura has over a dozen albums to her credit, including Celtic Dialogue (a Boston Globe Top Ten CD) and the acclaimed 2000 Miles, on which she teams up with some of Quebec’s hottest traditional and jazz musicians for a new take on tunes from the great Scottish collections of the 18th and 19th centuries. Says Living Tradition, “Laura plays in a powerful, percussive style, with tight control and beautiful tone but bursting with energy and passion, turning reels into romps and slow airs into soul-searches.” Known as a inspirational teacher, Laura has taught fiddling at numerous summer camps and was an Instructor of Fiddling for five years at Wellesley College. She is a co-author of The Glengarry Collection: The Highland Fiddle Music of Aonghas Grant and was recently awarded a Prix Mnémo for her co-production of the community CD Douglastown: Music and Song from the Gaspé Coast. Laura is thrilled to be returning to Swannanoa again this year!
Seattle-based guitarist and composer Greg Ruby plays diverse styles of vintage jazz. Described as “truly hot jazz” by Vintage Guitar magazine, his CD, Look Both Ways, celebrated the 100th birthday of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with 12 original compositions, and reached #1 on the Roots Music Review’s jazz chart. Greg leads The Greg Ruby Quartet, a Hot Club jazz group dedicated to all-original compositions. He collaborates with New York and New Orleans musicians in The Rhythm Runners, a Prohibition-era dance band, and plays Valse musette and European café jazz with Bric-a-brac Trio. A former member of the group, Pearl Django, Greg has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and appeared with the group at the prestigious Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois sur Seine, France. As founding member of Hot Club Sandwich, Greg can be heard on all four of the band’s recordings and produced their 2010 release, And If Only, featuring legendary vocalist Dan Hicks. Greg’s compositions have been heard on television and documentaries including NBC’s Parks and Recreation. He’s published the Pearl Django Play-Along Book Vol.1 through Djangobooks.com and recently completed a play-along CD/book on the swing guitar mastery of Oscar Aleman.
Erynn Marshall has carved out a niche for herself as an old-time fiddler in North America and abroad. She has played for thirty-five years, performed internationally, and learned old-time music from visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers and singers. Erynn authored the book, Music in the Air Somewhere (on West Virginia fiddle and song traditions), filmed an instructional DVD and recorded five CDs, including her recent duet CD Sweet Memories Never Leave with husband Carl Jones. She has won many awards including a prestigious first place in fiddle at The Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia and was the first woman and person from outside the US to do so. A Canadian native, Erynn enjoys living in Galax, Virginia when not traveling all over with her fiddle..
Liz Knowles has brought her distinctive sound – the fire and finesse of Irish fiddle music combined with the tonal richness of the classical violin – to concert stages and festivals across the world. Her auspicious beginnings as the fiddler for Riverdance, and as soloist on the soundtrack for the film, Michael Collins established her as a virtuosic and versatile performer, and she has since performed as soloist with the New York Pops, recorded with the Cincinnati Pops, and performed with artists such as Don Henley, Rachel Barton, and Marcus Roberts. Liz was a member of the renowned group Cherish the Ladies, played on Broadway with The Pirate Queen, and has traveled the world as music director, producer and performer with two Irish music and dance shows, Celtic Legends and Celtic Dances. Today she performs with another all-star female super-group, the highly acclaimed String Sisters, and her new trio, Open the Door for Three, with Kieran O’Hare and Pat Broaders.
Fiddle Week Coordinator Julia Weatherford has been a full time artist/musician for more than 30 years. She played cello for 13 seasons with the Asheville Symphony while moonlighting as a square dance fiddler. Julia has toured internationally as a dance musician, and performed with dance bands Far Horizons and Fly by Night. Currently she performs regionally with the Akira Satake Band, and Firefly. Among her performance and teaching venues are the LEAF festival, the Black Mountain Festival, Berea Country Dance School, Pinewoods, Folkmoot International, and the Biltmore Estate. She was the Artistic Director of the legendary Black Mountain Festival for many years, and as a textile artist, Julia is a long-time member of the Southern Highlands Crafts Guild. Julia has also been the Swannanoa Gathering Logistics Coordinator since 2005..