The Pipers' Gathering has some of the finest instructors in the alternative bagpipe world. Many of them have been formally trained as teachers and educators and all are now or have been professional musicians.
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Border pipes, Scottish smallpipes, Highland pipes
Tim Cummings, a native of Tennessee, began his musical studies at the age of 6 as a student of the piano. He took up the pipes at age 8, and piping has been his primary musical focus ever since. Tim has studied piping with Al MacRae, Sandy Keith, Scott MacAulay, and briefly with the faculty at the RSAMD and National Piping Centre in Glasgow.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education (The College of Wooster, Ohio); and both a B.A. Honours degree in Ethnomusicology and an M.A. in Musicology (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand). During the 2002-03 school year, he was the Artist in Residence at The College of Piping in Summerside, PEI. While living in New Zealand, Tim was a member of the highly competitive Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band, and he continues to arrange much of their repertoire. He has also published several pieces and collections of piping music via Beithe Publishing.
Currently based in Vermont, Tim works as a private teacher, performer, arranger/composer, and publisher of piping and Celtic-related music. In his spare time, he enjoys clawhammer banjo, shape-note singing, the great outdoors, and causing a little mischief here and there.
|Dick Hensold is one of the foremost Northumbrian smallpipers
in North America. He has twice played the Winnipeg Folk Festival, played
the Edinburgh Folk Festival in 1994, and has taught Northumbrian smallpipes
at over 30 weekend courses in the United States, Canada, and Northumberland
(1997-present). His research interest in early Scottish music resulted
in a lecture and concert appearance at the 1997 Lowland and Border
Piper’s Society collogue in Peebles, Scotland. The proceedings
of this conference, along with Hensold’s two other related papers,
were published as “Out of the Flames” in 2004.
Hensold’s Northumbrian piping is firmly grounded in traditional Northumbrian technique, but his playing cannot be considered strictly traditional, since he incorporates musical ideas from many of the styles he works in. Rather than taking the tradition as given, he imagines all the different ways the pipes can be played, given their unique characteristics, and uses all the techniques available to maximize expression and rhythmic drive. In fact, his playing is best characterized by imagination and creativity. He is also a prolific composer of music for the pipes.
A full-time free-lance musician, he specializes in the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland and Northumberland; Nordic folk music; early music; and Cambodian traditional music. He has released numerous CDs as a member of the groups Piper’s Crow, Way Up North, The New International Trio, the Lyra Baroque orchestra, and with Ruth MacKenzie’s Kalevala. His solo Northumbrian smallpipes CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes was released in 2007.
He also performs on the Medieval greatpipes, Scottish Highland pipes, säckpipa (Swedish bagpipes, recorder, seljefløyte (Norwegian willow flute), low whistle and traditional Cambodian reed instruments, and is much in demand as a sidemusician, composer/arranger, studio and theater musician. His recent theatre projects include work at the Guthrie Theatre, Children's Theater Company, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and with Ruth MacKenzie's Kalevala and Snow Queen.
His new music credits include an appearance with the Greenville Symphony orchestra as soloist in “Cross Lane Fair”, a symphonic work featuring Northumbrian smallpipes. In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship.
Irish Flute & Whistle
|Brad Hurley began playing traditional
Irish music on the whistle in 1975 and took up the wooden flute about
10 years later. He has performed in dozens of concerts, dances, weddings,
theater productions, and festivals in New England and eastern Canada.
He taught for several years at Montreal's Siamsa School for Irish Music,
and has given instructional workshops at music festivals and gatherings
in the US and Canada.
Brad has taken classes in flute with Jack Coen (East Galway) and Catherine McEvoy (Roscommon), and counts them among his strongest musical influences, along with flute playing of Tara Bingham, the whistle playing of Mary Bergin, and the piping of Benedict Koehler. He is currently working on a duet CD with the Roscommon fiddler Éilís Crean, a student of the great East Galway fiddler and accordion player Eddie Kelly, expected for release in 2012. Brad also plays music from Brittany, the Celtic region of France, often accompanying his partner Claire Boucher, a traditional Breton singer.
Brad's online guide to the Irish flute (www.firescribble.net/flute) is a popular resource among flute players and receives thousands of visits each month. He lives in Montreal.
Border pipes, Scottish smallpipes
| EJ Jones learned the Highland pipes first at the St
Thomas Episcopal School under the instruction of Mike Cusack and then
went on to play with the Hamilton Pipe Band of Houston Tx under the
direction of Donald MacPhee. In his early teenage years he helped found
the band Clandestine which evolved from a four piece pipe and drum
band in the early '90's into a four piece folk band that mixed instrumentals
and vocals and toured extensively around the US and went overseas to
the Festival Interceltique do Lorient where he developed a love for
Breton music and dance.
In 2002 EJ released an album entitled "The WIllow" with guitarist Gerry O'Beirne and fiddle player Rosie Shipley and the three of them did some touring as "The Willowband" for a while. In 2003 when Clandestine was to take a long hiatus EJ began turning Scottish small pipes with his amateur experience making and playing Uilleann pipe reeds as a guide.
EJ has been playing professionally with various groups at all kinds of festivals since 1991 and regularly attends informal jam sessions in his native Houston and in Asheville NC where he now lives. He works to encourage informal music and dancing at every opportunity and believes that playing music is an optimal part of a well balanced life.
EJ now plays around the country with the re-formed Clandestine and a new pipe and drum group called Teribus.
|One of the premier Celtic violinists on the international
music scene today, Jamie Laval creates rapt audiences with his intensely
passionate performances of traditional music of Scotland, Ireland,
Brittany and Quebec, rendered with hints of classical refinement and
ethnic music from around the world.
Jamie is heralded as “One of North America’s finest practitioners of traditional Scottish music” (San Jose Mercury News) and “The next Alasdair Fraser” (Press and Post). The Asheville Citizen-Times writes, “One of the hottest fiddlers out there…this act has been turning heads wherever it plays.”
What sets Jamie’s music in a class by itself is the nuance, virtuosity, and musical craftsmanship he brings to an ancient art form. Simple Celtic folk melodies are transformed into epic tonal narratives which take the listener on an emotional journey from quiet melancholy to wild jubilation.
Jamie's accessible sound appeals to families, youth, seniors, and devotees of ethnic, jazz, and classical music.
The making of his trademark style began at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where he studied classical violin. Later he pursued careers as a professional symphony musician, recording studio artist, improvising violinist, and contra dance fiddler. But his passion for the haunting sounds of rural Irish and Scottish folk music eventually usurped all other preoccupations, and he has devoted himself exclusively to Celtic music ever since.
In 2002 Jamie won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship and subsequently embarked on a full time touring career which today includes over 120 engagements per year throughout the U.S. and Scotland.
Jamie now lives in Asheville, North Carolina and takes a keen interest in the musical and historical ties that connect his Appalachian home with the dispersion of Celtic peoples from their original homeland. He serves on the faculty of The Swannanoa Gathering, a summer institute for traditional arts and music.
His critically esteemed debut CD recording, Shades of Green, airs regularly on many NPR programs nationwide. Meanwhile,Zephyr In The Confetti Factory, his duo album with mandolinist Ashley Broder, won Best World Traditional Song in the 2007 Independent Music Awards Vox Populi.
Jamie has also collaborated on numerous television, film, and CD recordings, including Dave Matthews’ Some Devil, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wild America, and WB-TV series Everwood.
Recent live performances include the Bijou Theatre (Knoxville), Wintergrass Festival (Tacoma), the Freight & Salvage (Berkeley), Swallow Hill Productions (Denver), Club Passim (Boston), The Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), the NBC Today Show, The West Coast Live radio show, and a private appearance for Her Majesty the Queen.
Andy began learning the pipes around 1987 having been introduced to the instrument by his father a year earlier. Both initially learned, and have continued to learn, under the patient guidance of Roland Lofthouse of Ryton, (himself a pupil of Jack Armstrong), for both technique and good taste, drawing from his vast repertoire of tunes from Northumberland, Scotland and Ireland. Before long, Adrian Schofield from Bolton showed an interest in the young Andy's playing, and it was from these two men that Andy has probably learned the most. It was Adrian who first introduced Andy to the excitement of the playing of Billy Pigg.
He considers himself very fortunate to have met and played with many of the great Northumbrian musicians spanning several generations and to have deepened his understanding of the music through their encouragement. To this end, the musical evenings held in the home of Annie Snaith proved both inspirational and invaluable to Andy. He would now attribute much of his style to Roland, Adrian, Billy Pigg and Tom Clough, although he has been influenced, directly and indirectly, by a host of other players. Andy won his first piping competition at the age of 10 and has gone on to become a regular winner at piping competitions around Northumberland. This has included an unprecedented 9 consecutive wins of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society Open Competition, although now he is more commonly found on the other side of the judges' table. He is also in demand as a teacher of the pipes having tutored on courses around the U.K. and also in the U.S.A. In addition to his adeptness at playing the pipes, Andy also makes them.
Andy joined well-known folk band Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies in 2002, but had worked with the band prior to his official joining by rehearsing and recording several tracks of the CD, Honesty Box. He had also stepped in as the fourth band member at numerous gigs during early Spring of 2002, including the Honesty Box Launch Party in Newcastle. Bringing a whole new dimension to the band, with his Northumbrian smallpipes, accordion and whistles, this multi-instrumentalist has quickly expanded from being a sought-after session player for the likes of Kathryn Tickell, to a valued member of a live performance band. The band have recently released a new album, Doolally, to much critical acclaim.
When not playing with the Bad Pennies, Andy plays with The Braykes, a lively jazz/funk/folk fusion band, and with Baltic Crossing, an acclaimed Finland/UK folk music collaboration. He also plays jazz piano and Irish Uilleann Pipes. He teaches the Northumbrian Smallpipes to a wide age range.
He is now based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
Ben Miller is a recent graduate of the music program at Saint Michaels College in Burlington, VT, where he also received the award of Outstanding Fine Arts Major in Music for the Class of 2011. During his undergraduate career, Ben focused primarily on bagpipe performance, music theory, and musicology, with a heavy interest in folk traditions. As part of his degree, he spent a term in Scotland as a visiting student to further his experience in this field. Over the course of this degree, Ben has written extensively on topics including the history and development of the Lowland bagpipes, as well as the evolution of dance music traditions in Scotland and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Originally from Upstate NY, he began studying the Highland Bagpipes at age eight. By age 12, he began studying the bellows-blown Scottish smallpipes and picked up the Border pipes a few years later. Ben has played with several competitive pipe bands during his career, including the internationally acclaimed Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band, who recently took third in the Juvenile division at the World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow.
At age 18, Ben left the pipe band competition scene to pursue traditional Scottish and Cape Breton dance music. Since then, he has performed a number of concerts in the VT/NY area and has travelled extensively to Scotland, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton to further his knowledge of this style. During his final year as an undergraduate, Ben completed a major thesis concerning the developing musical traditions of Scotland and Cape Breton. He is currently preparing to undertake a graduate degree in Highland Studies at the University of Edinburgh in the Fall of 2011.
| Fin Moore is a piper, born & bred. He plays the
Highland pipes, Border pipes and Scottish Small Pipes. For five years,
he played in the Vale of Atholl Juvenile Band and is now a partner
with his father, Hamish, as very successful pipemakers.
Fin has gained a great reputation as a teacher of pipes, having completed four summer seasons teaching at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton. He has also taught at the Lowland and Border Pipers Society annual teaching weekend in Melrose and at The Piper Gathering, Vermont and other schools around the world.
He has now performed at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Celtic Colours in Cape Breton, the Edinburgh International Festival and the William Kennedy Piping Festival, Armagh. He has played solo and with bands including, Dannsa who are gaining great respect in Scotland and abroad for their traditional and innovating dancing, the internationally renowened Cape Breton band, Slainte Mhath, and Scottish band Back of the Moon, winners at the Scottish traditional music awards 2003.
| Andrea Mori is an active Irish musician and teacher
in the Boston area. She began her early musical life as a classical
musician but she always had an interest in Celtic music as well. A
graduate of Boston University's School for the Arts, she taught classical
flute at Regis College and was the tin whistle instructor for the Regis
life-long learning program. She directed the Regis Flute Choir which
performed twice with Cherish The Ladies and played on a television
special with Irish harper Aine Minogue.
Andrea teaches tin whistle and flute at the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Music School at Harvard University and Boston College. She formerly taught adult whistle classes at The Irish Cultural Centre of New England, and currently teaches adult classes on the South Shore. Her enthusiasm and dedication to passing on the tradition extends to the younger generation as well. Her students have placed at the Fleadh in New York and gone on to compete in the All-Ireland Competition. In 2004 she founded the New Boston Ceili Band.
Andrea co-leads a weekly session at The Snug Pub and performs with Boston Comhaltas, The Geese in the Bog band, and The O'Carolan consort - a group dedicated to playing the music of Turlough O'Carolan. She is a former member of the Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society band. Numerous performances include the Irish Connections Festival, the O'Carolan Festival, the JFK Library, and a recent concert for Raidio na Gaeltachta, an Irish language radio station in Ireland. A life long interest in all kinds of piping has led her to take up the Uilleann pipes, but don't expect any public performances !
Irish Uilleann Pipes
Jerry O'Sullivan has been widely hailed as America's premier uilleann piper. His reputation for technical and melodic mastery of the instrument, an Irish bagpipe known for its subtlety and expression, is unsurpassed in the United States, and is demanding considerable attention overseas. Jerry is also widely recorded on the tin whistle, the low whistle, the Highland bagpipes, and the Scottish smallpipes.
Jerry has appeared on more than 90 albums and has performed or recorded with artists such as The Boston Pops, Don Henley, Paul Winter, James Galway, Dolly Parton, The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Eileen Ivers, and many others. He was a featured soloist on Paul Winter's GRAMMY winning album, Celtic Solstice (Living Music, 1999). His first two solo albums, The Gift (Shanachie,1998), and The Invasion (Green Linnet, 1987) have both received critical acclaim, quickly finding their way to the top of a number of "best albums of the year" lists. Jerry has just recently released a new solo album, O'Sullivan Meets O'Farrell (Jerry O'Sullivan Music, 2005), which features music from the 200 year old O'Farrell tutor and tune collections. Jerry has also recorded a number of film soundtracks including From Shore to Shore, The Long Journey Home, Far and Away, Africans in America, and Out of Ireland, and has appeared on numerous television commercials.
Jerry has toured extensively in the United States and Europe and
has even played as far afield as Japan and Israel. He has been
a featured performer and instructor in numerous Folk Festivals,
including: the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Milwaukee Irish
Festival, the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, Boston's
Gaelic Roots Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the National
Council for Traditional Arts National Folk Festival, and the Swannanoa
Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina. He has performed at such
reputable venues as New York's Lincoln Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral,
and on the mall in Washington D.C. His symphonic concerts have
included selections from John Williams Far and Away (performed
and recorded with the Boston Pops), O'Sullivan's March from
Rob Roy, Main Title Theme from Braveheart (both performed
and recorded with the Boston Pops) Patrick Cassidy's The Famine
Symphony (performed at the world debut at St. Patrick's Cathedral),
Paul Winter's Pipes Peace (performed with the Colorado
Symphony Orchestra), and excerpts from Titanic (performed
with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra).
Jerry O'Sullivan is a gifted ambassador of the Irish uilleann pipes, maintaining the historic traditions and melodies of the instrument while expanding its range into new genres of music and media. His mastery of the instrument, traditional knowledge, versatility, and dedication to education truly make him America's premier uilleann piper.
|Cillian Vallely||Uilleann Pipes|
|Starting at age 7, Cillian Vallely learned
the whistle and uilleann pipes from his parents Brian and Eithne at
the Armagh Pipers Club, a group that for over 4 decades has fostered
the revival of traditional music in the north of Ireland. Since
leaving college, he has played professionally and has toured all
over North America and Europe in addition to Japan, Hong Kong, New
Zealand and Australia.
Since 1999, he has been a member of the band “Lunasa”, with whom he has recorded 6 albums and played at many major festivals including Womad, Glastonbury, Edmonton & Winnipeg Folk Festivals, Lorient Interceltique and The Hollywood Bowl. He has also performed and toured with “Riverdance”, Natalie Merchant, Tim O Brien & Mary Chapin-Carpenter in “The Crossing”, New York-based “Whirligig”, and the “Celtic Jazz Collective” with Lewis Nash and Peter Washington. In the past couple of years, he has worked on various collaborations between traditional and classical music, along with his brother Niall and the composer Micheal O’Suilleabhain.
He has recorded on over 40 albums including “Callan Bridge” with his brother Niall, “On Common Ground” with Kevin Crawford and various guest spots with Natalie Merchant, Alan Simon’s “Excalibur” project with Fairport Convention and Moody Blues, “GAIA” with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and Karan Casey. He has recently recorded on two movie soundtracks, “Irish Jam” and “The Golden Boys” and played uilleann pipes on the BBC’s “Flight of the Earls” soundtrack.
|From Pitlochry, in Perthshire, Gary West learned his piping with the much acclaimed Vale of Atholl pipe band with whom he played for 18 years winning both the Scottish and European Championships. In the late 1980s, he began to play a prominent role in the folk music scene, joining Ceolbeg in 1988, and becoming a founder member of the Scottish ‘supergroup’ Clan Alba in 1991, playing alongside such luminaries as Dick Gaughan and Brian McNeil. He is in regular demand as a recording session player, and has performed on over 20 CDs. Gary is Head of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His teaching and research interests include issues of local and national identity; the history of Scottish music, revivals and oral history. Gary also presents BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly specialist piping programme, Pipeline.|
|Tom Zajac||Renaissance Pipes|
|Tom Zajac is a multi-instrumentalist
praised for his versatility and stylish playing of music from the medieval
and Renaissance periods. He is a member of the wind band Piffaro, and
the New York-based theatrical/musical group Ex Umbris, and has toured
extensively, appearing in concert series and festivals in Hong Kong,
Guam, Australia, Israel, Colombia, Mexico, and throughout Europe and
the United States. Tom appears frequently as a guest artist with the
Folger Consort, King’s Noyse, Newberry Consort, Hesperus, and
other leading US ensembles. He has performed 14th-century music in
the East Wing of the White House during the Clinton years, played serpent
in a piece by PDQ Bach on an episode of A Prairie Home Companion,
and the sound of his bagpipe awoke the astronauts every morning on
a 2001 space shuttle mission (on a recording, of course). He’s
performed on the sound track of several PBS documentaries for Emmy
award-winning producer and composer Brian Keane and has participated
in over 40 recording projects ranging from medieval dances to 21st-century
As a director, Tom has an abiding interest in the confluence of historical and socio-cultural approaches to music making, working happily in the realm where time and place meet. He has done research and performance projects on Colonial Latin-American music as well as on the music of the three religious cultures of pre-expulsion Spain, and music in Eastern Europe, from Poland to the Ottoman court of 16th- to 19th-century Turkey.
Recent performance projects include a 13th-century music-theater piece, the Tournoi de Chauvency, with the French-American company Ensemble Aziman, with performances in France, Luxembourg and the US and work as percussionist for recent Boston Early Music Festival opera productions. Last season, Tom performed in Bolivia with Piffaro, in Istanbul with the Boston-based Turkish music ensemble Dünya, and in St. Croix and Puerto Rico with long time collaborator, Grant Herreid. Tom directs the Medieval & Renaissance summer workshop for the San Francisco Early Music Society, teaches at several other workshops throughout the US, and directs the early music ensembles at Wellesley College near his home in Boston.
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