Annual Scottish fiddle festival
The 2015 Niel Gow festival will be held in the beautiful and historic Perthshire village of Dunkeld & Birnam, home of Niel Gow.
20th to 22nd March, 2015 - put these dates in your diary now!
2007 Niel Gow Festival
All 2007 festival photos courtesy of Ken Houston
The 4th Niel Gow festival will be held In Dunkeld and Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland between 16th - 18th March, 2007.
The festival will include recitals, concerts, workshops and sessions and Ceilidh Dance.
For a full program of events click here
Alistair McCulloch with Morag McAskill
Three times former Natinal Fiddle Champion, Alistair McCulloch is one of the busiest and best-known fiddlers in Scotland and is in constant demand as a performer, teacher, adjudicator and composer. He studied music at the University of Strathclyde where he graduated with first class honours in 1998.
As well as having a highly successful solo career, Alistair is lead fiddler in the band ‘Coila' and recently produced the band's third album. His annual tour of the Scottish Highlands has become an eagerly awaited event in the Scottish Music calendar with his high energy concert performances and infectious humour.
Alitair has performed for Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral is the fiddler on the soundtrack of the hit BBC children's programme, Balamory.
Aonghais Grant Sen. with Paul Connolly
Well known left handed fiddler Aonghais Grant from Fort William is a regular performer at the Niel Gow festival and we are very glad that he has agreed to perform for us in 2007 - his fourth festival!
Christine Kydd & Just Singin’ Birnam
Christine is one of Scotland's great singers. A renowned interpreter and champion of the Scots song tradition, she has performed and recorded with many others to produce some of Scotland's finest and often award-winning harmony vocal sounds. But at the heart of her musical life has always been the art of the solo singer, her powerful performances having graced the stage with the likes of Capercaillie, Christy Moore and the Tannahill Weavers.
Collaborations with the finest of musicians include work with master fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Andy Thorburn, Jack Evans, Norman Chalmers, Frankie Armstrong, Wendy Weatherby, Corrina Hewat, as soloist and ensemble member in the award-winning concerts 'My Ain Countrie' and 'Burns and a' That', as well as Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival.
Douglas Lawrence with Maureen Rutherford
Douglas Lawrence hails from Buckie in Banffshire where he was born in 1957. He started playing the violin at the age of nine when given the instrument by his grandfather. At school he was given violin tuition from Steve Merson, who then introduced him to Hector MacAndrew - one of the greatest exponents of Scottish fiddle playing. Douglas went on to become Hector's most distinguished pupil, winning every major fiddle competition, including the International Gathering Of The Clans in 1977 and the Golden Fiddle in 1979.
Douglas excelled equally as a composer, his compositions winning at the Elgin, Banchory and Kirriemuir festivals. "Arguably the finest performer of the music of the North East today, Douglas is equally brilliant in interpreting the music of the bagpipe on violin.
Douglas Montgomery with Brian Cromarty
Douglas Montgomery is the fiddling half of great Orkney duo Saltfishforty - the other half is singer guitarist Brian Cromarty . An internationally acclaimed fiddler, Douglas has toured Scotland, USA and France with the Smoking Stone Band. His playing slides easily from gutsy tune to inspired counter melody. An itinerant fiddle teacher in Orkney for eight years, Douglas has released two albums and toured Canada with his pupils.
Duncan Dyker is perhaps best-known locally as Leader of the Inverness Fiddlers, but is also a fine solo fiddler and member of local group Birl. He has been several times National Mod champion. Although his playing is grounded in excellent teaching in both fiddle and pipes in his home town of Huntly (he was a pupil of the late Bill Hardie) , his style is affirmatively Highland, as demonstrated in his new CD Collectors' Items. Duncan is also an adjudicator, instructor and fiddle maker as well as a Principal Teacher of Computing.
Dunkeld & Birnam Strathspey & Reel Society
Dating back to circa 1940, the Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society have continued to perform at many local events throughout Perthshire for the last 60+ years. Performing Traditional Scottish Music, our main aim is to contribute to the local entertainment calendar, while helping local groups and organisations to enjoy our music while raising funds for their local community activities.
From Aberlemno in Angus, George has been enjoying playing the fiddle since he was nine. A former junior fiddle champion, he has been successful in Senior Open and Invitation Fiddle competitions, including the Glenfiddich, where he was runner-up in 2005.
A second year violin student on the BMus Performance Course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, George is a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Camerata Scotland. He enjoys playing traditional music very much and is looking forward to to taking part in this year’s Neil Gow Festival.
Iain Fraser & "TRAD"
Iain Fraser arrived later than some to the idea of performing but definitely made an entrance with a wonderfully engaging style on stage that blends the passion of the tradition with the rythms of the dance.
Iain grew up surrounded by music and now tours regularly throughout Scotland and North America with a large repertoire that ranges from older 18th century tunes to new compositions inspired by his family and surroundings in his adopted home in the Scottish Borders.
Born into a family actively involved in the local Scottish Country Dance scene, James Gray grew up surrounded by a love of Scottish music and culture. He started piano lessons at the age of five, initially being taught by his grandmother, who played for his parents' dance classes.
During the last 15 years, he has played as a solo musician at dance schools in the US, Europe and New Zealand, and was the director of the first RSCDS youth school. The Host of the Air was his first ensemble release, which featured many of his compositions, and was widely acclaimed as the most innovative Scottish Country Dance CD to date. In December 2006 he released his first solo piano album Piano Dance.
He currently plays in the dance bands Scottish Measure and Rantin' Rovin' Reelin', and in a duo with Keith Smith. Scottish Measure released its first CD, a first dram in 2002. Rantin' Rovin' Reelin' has been well received for its new and exciting sound in Europe and also at the show 'Dancing Forth' in the 2004 and 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. James's accompaniment style is very suited to the fiddle and hence it is no surprise that he and Keith Smith are in great demand as a duo.
Outside of dancing, James also plays with champion Scottish fiddler Gregor Borland and on the accordion with the folkie collective Bothy Tam's Vintage Steam Engine Rally. James features on Gregor Borland's CD Bowstroke, which was released in September 2006.
Marie Fielding with Finlay Macdonald & Kevin Mackenzie
Marie Fielding has been playing the fiddle since the age of 9. Born in Edinburgh 1967, she was given her first fiddle from a family friend Margaret Lawson, violinist with the R.S.N.O. Marie taught herself to play until lessons became available at school. Although she initially studied classical violin, her passion was traditional music.
Marie began playing professionally at the age of 15 with her brother Owen and Craig McCallum, playing at ceilidhs, concerts and Irish dance classes. At 17, Marie joined Jim Johnstone and his band and travelled all over Scotland and abroad for 12 years. During this time, she began to write her own tunes. A lot of the influences came from pipe music and gaelic song. Marie has composed over 40 tunes and plans to release a book of her compositions later in the year.
Marie has also performed with John Carmichael, Neil Barron Band, Black Rose Ceilidh Band, Fiddlers Five, Maggie MacInnis, Manus Mcguire, Finlay MacDonald Band, Phil Cunningham, Bobby MacLeod, Robert MacLeod,Tom Orr and many more. As well as recording more than 30 albums, countless radio programmes and T.V, Marie has performed at Fiddle 2004, Neil Gow Festival 2005 & 2006, Celtic Connections, Burns and Gaels Tour, Shetland Festival, Mull Festival and at many Folk Festivals over the years.
Patsy Reid is from Knapp in Perthshire and despite her young age, she has a great amount of experience in performing and teaching both traditional and classical music. She remains the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship and released her debut solo album “With Complements” in 2002. At 17, Patsy was a finalist in the original BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award and is now a member of the band Breabach who won a Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2005. Breabach have recently recorded their debut album with well-known producer Donald Shaw, which is due to be released in November 2006 by Vertical Records. The band has also recently been nominated for best Up and Coming Artist at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2006.
Patsy graduated form Strathclyde University in 2004 with a 1st class Honours BA degree in Applied Music, specialising in performance and album production. She continued her studies in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music and after two years gained a Post Graduate Certicicate of Education with Specialist String Teaching and a Post Graduate Diploma in Violin Performance.
Patsy is a tutor at the award-winning Taransay Fiddle Camp and Alasdair Fraser's fiddle course @ Sabhal Mohr Ostaig. Despite a busy schedule of performing and teaching, she also teaches music full time at Kingussie High School.
Pete Clark with Wendy Weatherby & Jim Leighton
Pete now lives in Perthshire not far from the birth places of Niel Gow and Robert Mackintosh. The beautiful Perthshire landscape has been the inspiration for many of Pete's compositions to be found on two great Scottish fiddle CDs - The Birnam Oak and Sycamore.
Pete's debut CD 'Fiddle Case' was chosen as one of 1996's albums of the year on BBC Scotland's 'Travelling Folk'. His top selling CD 'Even Now' features the music of Niel Gow whilst 'Mackintosh at Murthly' features the compositions of Robert Mackintosh. His new album 'Now & Then' showcases some of Pete's compositions alongside a few gems from those of the great Scottish fiddle composers, Niel Gow, Willam Marshall and James Scott Skinner.
In addition to his highly successful solo career, Pete has been a member of several notable bands including Heritage and Smeddum and is currently a member of the highly successful Benachally Ceilidh Band and the Niel Gow Ensemble.
Ross Thomson with Mark Duff
Ross Thomson, winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship for 2004, with ex Capercaillie whistle player Mark Duff.
Sarah Stuart with Oliver Hamilton
Sarah is a freelance performer and tutor based in Manchester, and is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester. She maintains a high level of musical versatility, performing professionally both as a fiddler and percussionist. She is the first student to study folk music at the RNCM at postgraduate level, where she is taught by Catriona Macdonald. Sarah plays with The Maerlock, fast emerging as one of the UK's top new folk bands. Other highlights from her diverse performing career include playing percussion with The Hallé Orchestra, appearing as a soloist with the New English Orchestra, and playing fiddle with a trio for Music in Hospitals. She is also the Artistic Director for Manchester Ceilidh.
Olly is an extremely versatile musician and pianist. In addition to his work with The Maerlock and Sarah Stuart he also performs frequently as part of a duo on the Live Music Now programme, and with the notorious ‘The Good The Bad And The Funky.’ As a jazz pianist he has performed with Andy Sheppard, Bob Mintzer and Matthew Herbert, and as a classical musician he has worked as an accompanist for the Hallé Youth Ensembles and the Northern Ballet School. An avid arranger, Olly initiated and directed the adventurous jazz-folk crossover project The Maerlock Big Band, a funk-ceilidh experience truly like no other. Olly is a Masters graduate of the RNCM.
Tayside Young Fiddlers
Tayside Young Fiddlers - a band of young people with a shared enthusiasm for traditional, mainly Scottish, fiddle music.
Based in Dundee, on the sunny east coast of Scotland, they welcome members from all around the hinterland of Angus, Perth & Kinross and Northeast Fife.
Wendy Weatherby with James Ross
Since graduating from the RSAMD in 1983, Wendy’s interest in jazz and folk music has led her to play and sing at festivals throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and the former Soviet Union.
She has worked and recorded with many top Scottish musicians including Hamish Moore, Billy Jackson, The Pearlfishers, Michael Marra and Phil Cunningham and has two solo albums to her credit.
Wendy has hosted many workshops in both cello and singing. She is regularly featured in Dr Fred Freeman’s illustrated lectures on Robert Burns, performing alongside Marc Duff (ex-Capercaillie) and John Morran (Deaf Shepherd) and is in demand as singer and cellist at events worldwide.
Tickets available from Birnam Institute
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Last modified: 02 February 2015