Maeve Gilchrist, Nic Gareiss, Natalie Haas, & Yann Falquet
Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic harp to new levels of performance.
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home as a soloist with an internationally renowned orchestra as she is playing with a traditional Irish folk group or using electronic augmentation in a more contemporary, improvisatory setting.
She tours internationally as a band leader as well as maintaining a number of collaborations including a duo project with percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, a more electronics based project with Viktor Krauss and as a member of the Irish network commissioned ‘Edges of Light’ quartet: a multidisciplinary group featuring the piper David Power, dancer Colin Dunne and the fiddler Tola Custy. She has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries asEsperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka, Ambrose Akinmusire, Solas and Darol Anger.
Maeve has released five albums to date, including her most recent recording Vignette, on Adventure Records, with Nashville legend Viktor Krauss while on her own label her solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration of the possibilities of her instrument.
Maeve was the first lever harpist to join the faculty of the iconic Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she taught for five years before switching to a visiting roots department artist this spring. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music. Also an in-demand composer and arranger; this year, Maeve premiered her first concerto for lever harp and symphony orchestra and is currently working on a number of commissions including a string quartet for Irish harp and string quartet to be premiered in Scotlandin the spring of 2018.
Michigan-born dancer, musician, and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His work re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions to weave together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has performed with many of the luminaries of contemporary traditional music and dance, including The Chieftains, The Gloaming, Darol Anger, Dervish, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Genticorum, Bill Frisell, Colin Dunne, Bruce Molsky, Alasdair Fraser, and Martin Hayes. He collaborates regularly with Cleek Schrey, Maeve Gilchrist, Simon Chrisman, Allison de Groot, Brittany Haas, Jordan Tice, and as a member of the quartet This is How we Fly.
In 2011 Gareiss was commissioned by the Cork Opera House to create and perform two new solo percussive dance pieces to celebrate the 75th birthday of composer Steve Reich. His setting of Reich’s piece Clapping Music for percussive dancer and video installation was hailed by the Irish Times as “a leftfield tour-de-force with irresistible wow factor.” In 2013, he served as community liaison for the Wheatland Music Organization’s 40th Anniversary production Carry it on…, supervising a cast of 70 non-professional dancers from rural communities across the state of Michigan. Gareiss received a Traditional Arts Commission from the Irish Arts Council to create an evening-length fiddle and dance duo show with Caoimhín Ó Raghalliah. The resulting piece, Mice Will Play had a sell-out run at the Project Arts Centre during the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival. In 2015 and 2016, Nic was recognized by Michigan State Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program as a master traditional artist.
Gareiss has concertized in fourteen countries and continues to tour and teach internationally, working with dance communities and making solo percussive dance performances. Nic holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University and recently earned his MA in Ethnochoreology at the University of Limerick. His MA thesis based upon ethnographic work with LGTBQ competitive step dancers was the first piece of scholarship to query the experience of sexual minorities within Irish dance. Gareiss’ essay, “An Buachaillín Bán: Reflections on One Queer’s Performance within Traditional Irish Music & Dance” appears in the book Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings edited by Clare Croft on Oxford University Press. His present research seeks to illuminate discursive formations of national identity, gender and sexual orientation via ethnography and embodied practice.
Natalie is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over 15 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Their first album together, Fire & Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. Natalie has also toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. She and O’Connor premiered his double concerto for violin and cello, ¨For The Heroes¨, with the Grand Rapids, East Texas, and San Diego Symphonies. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with cellist Fred Sherry, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her music journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by director Fraser, she began to investigate the cello’s potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes, and to this day, the two continue to resurrect and reinvent the cello’s historic role in Scottish music.
Natalie’s skills as an educator make her one of the most in demand teachers at fiddle camps across the globe. She also teaches privately and in a workshop setting, and holds an associate professorship at the Berklee College of Music. Natalie now makes her home in Boston, where she is an active member of the traditional music scene.
Yann Falquet is a very active and creative acoustic guitar player on the Québécois music scene. He has explored many styles of music and completed a Bachelors degree in Jazz. Since then, he has developed a personal guitar style for Québec folk music, inspired by the playing of the accompanists of different cultures (Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, North America).
His involvement in the province’s traditional music scene has brought Yann to perform on numerous recordings, and to tour regularly throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia with his main project Genticorum. He also toured for three years with the award winning Celtic and world group The McDades.
Yann has taught his guitar style at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, at the Goderich Celtic College as well as for Alasdair Fraser’s Fiddle Train and Sierra Fiddle Camp.