Dick Hensold 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.
Dick is also 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.
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.