Fiddle classes are scheduled in the morning and early afternoon and allow participants to study the various styles taught by each instructor. All tunes are taught by ear, and class divisions, ranging from advanced to those who have never played before, are based on students’ rate of learning by ear.
Alasdair Fraser is recognized throughout the world as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced; [his] name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance which is transforming the Scottish musical scene.” —Scots Magazine
The variety and expressivity of Alasdair’s playing is evident in his numerous recordings—from intimate fiddle/guitar duets, to a more contemporary interpretation of tradition, to high energy original tunes with his Skyedance band. Highly acclaimed albums include “Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Vols. 1 and 2,” and “Fire and Grace, ” which was named Scots Trad Album of the Year for 2004. Most recently, “In the Moment” reveals his expanding interests and inspiration as both player and composer. In Alasdair’s class, you will learn a variety of Scottish tune types and how to use special bowings, Scottish ornaments and a rhythmic drive to make the tunes come alive and express their Scottish origins.
Anders Hall comes from Arbrå, Hälsingland in Sweden. He plays the fiddle, viola and also the Hardanger fiddle, an instrument he studied at the Ole Bull Academy in Voss, Norway from 2006-2008. As a result he now has a unique knowledge of both Norwegian traditional music as well as his native Swedish.
He has established himself as a creative and gifted musician on the Nordic folk music scene, co-founding The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc and working with the likes of SVER & Sigrid Moldestad. He has an ability to reach the listener, fitting together old traditions with innovative ideas and expressions.
Shane Cook is a Canadian and US National fiddle champion, Shane Cook captivates audiences with technically thrilling and adventurous performances. Noted by The Canadian Fiddlers’ Hall of Fame as one of the “finest fiddlers in the world today,” Cook has distinguished himself as a master of the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition. He also excels at styles ranging from Irish and Scottish to French-Canadian and Bluegrass.
In concert, Shane captivates audiences with his danceable playing that is as adventurous as it is technically thrilling.
Shane teaches both privately and at several annual fiddle camps, sharing his deep understanding of Canadian fiddle. He is a graduate of Western University and resides in London, Ontario with his wife and son.
Laura Risk is a fiddler whose love of the music of Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Quebec has led her into a rich journey of performing and teaching. Laura is known throughout the U.S. as an outstanding teacher, able to inspire students at any level. As evidenced in several highly praised albums, her playing is especially expressive and versatile, ranging from elegant music composed for 18th century Scottish drawing rooms to driving strathspeys and reels suitable for a Cape Breton dance floor. The eloquence of Laura’s fiddling is especially evident is her album of Scottish tunes, “2000 Miles,” To help fiddlers learn new tunes by ear, Laura has recorded two sets of CDs containing nearly 150 tunes from a variety of fiddle traditions, played slowly and at normal performance tempo.
Janette Duncan (BA, Music) has benefited from both classical violin training and a fiddling heritage. Her grandfather was a fiddler and her dad a guitar player. Janette’s own fiddling has been particularly influenced and inspired by Bengt Johnson and Alasdair Fraser. She has herself inspired a great many players through her performances—as a member of the Bi-Coastal International Dance Band, Dockside and other ensembles—and her teaching, including beginning string classes in schools, a community college course she teaches on “Celtic Session Tunes,” and private instruction at home in Sonoma County, California. Her students are encouraged to learn to read and write music but also play the fiddle by “ear and heart.”
Janette will teach the basic beginning fiddle class for adults who have little or no experience with the instrument.
Class: "Fiddle Kids"
Caroline McCaskey started her musical journey as a fiddler, and has toured the U.S. as a member of contra dance band Stringfire! In 2019 she won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Competition. She has also taught for many years at Fiddlekids Day Camp.
She completed her Master of Music in Viola Performance at Lamont School of Music, earning the Recital of Distinction; the first violist in 17 years to do so. Aalong with her string quartet she also won Lamont’s 2012 chamber music competition. In 2009, Caroline was also a winner of University of the Pacific’s concerto competition, playing the first movement of the Walton concerto.
Caroline plays cello internationally as a substitute member of Scottish dance band Reel of Seven, and has been on staff teaching cello at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp.
In Natalie's class you will learn bowing techniques, ornamentation, bass lines and rhythmic techniques to suit the style and mood of a variety of music, including the tunes the fiddlers are learning.
Valerie Thompson: a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Valerie is a well-rounded musician who is comfortable in any playing situation. She divides her time between a very active cello studio, performing regularly with Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, writing music and performing with Goli (a Cello/Marimba/Vocal ensemble), and attending a plethora of weddings and events for C-Zone Music. Valerie grew up in Kansas City, MO and now resides in Central Square, Cambridge, MA.
Cellist Renata Bratt has taught fiddling, jazz improvisation and classical styles at string workshops for children and adults, including Wintergrass, Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, Southern Hemisphere International School for Scottish Fiddling (in New Zealand), New Directions Cello Festival, the National Cello Institute, IAJE, ASTA, MENC and Suzuki institutes and conferences. Renata received her Ph.D. in Music from the University of California at San Diego.
She has toured internationally with Reel of Seven (a Scottish Country Dance Band) performed with luminaries such as Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Darol Anger and Alasdair Fraser, and played back-up with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, David Sanborn, Lyle Lovett and Dionne Warwick. Rolling Stone dubbed her an "ace performer" for her work recording and touring with alternative rocker Cindy Lee Berryhill's Garage Orchestra.
Renata writes cello books for Mel Bay Publishing and string orchestra arrangements for Alfred and Ludwig Publishing. Her CDs A Slice of Summer, Great Big Taters, and Jazz Trio 2006 are available wherever downloads are sold.
Joseph Phillips: Born and raised in Toronto, Joe Phillips started studying classical guitar at age 9, at the University Settlement House Music School. He attended Oakwood Collegiate where he discovered the double bass.
Joe has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, I Musici de Montréal, Tafelmusik and the Festival of the Sound and is an annual participant in the Sweetwater Music weekend in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Colin Cotter is a multi-instrumentalist who began fiddling at an early age as part of his family tradition in Finnish fiddle music, and eventually dove into Scottish fiddling. He is a self-taught guitarist, mixing influences from around the world, and his emotive songwriting bridges the gaps between American and Celtic folk, and rock.
Joseph Phillips: see his bio under BASS.
Nic Gareiss has been hailed by the New York Times for his "dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance" and called "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. He re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Originally from Michigan, Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration.
He has concertized in fourteen countries for over ten years with many of the luminaries of traditional music, including Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Frankie Gavin, Dervish, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Phil Wiggins, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming and The Chieftains. Nic holds degrees in Anthropology and Music from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. Gareiss' essay, "An Buachaillín Bán: Reflections on One Queer's Performance within Traditional Irish Music & Dance" appears in the book "Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance" edited by Clare Croft in Oxford University Press.
Laura teaches fiddle and singing internationally at Newcastle University in England, and University of Limerick in Ireland and has given fiddle, song, and dance instruction at many summer fiddle camps, including Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Fiddle School, Mark O'Connor's Nashville Fiddle Camp, the Sierra Fiddle Camp, and Folkworks Youth Summer School in Newcastle, UK. Laura is also co-founder of the acclaimed Miles of Music Camp and BCMFest, a community festival organized by Boston-area musicians, singers and dancers.