On this web site, you can see my schedule of upcoming concerts and clinics, find out about books
I have written, CDs I have recorded and more. Check out this podcast at the Western Folklife Center about my work with Montana poet Paul Zarzyski.
You can now
purchase "Smith's Set," my arrangement of three Scottish tunes (level 3) that I performed in New Zealand
and Australia with Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith. It has been selected as Editors Choice by J.W.Pepper
for their catalog. You can get it here!
My latest Berceuse CD, "Woven," is now out in the world. Appalachian fiddle tunes
reset in a Bollywood-Techno world of exotic and acoustic instruments. Computer Music Doctor Lee Ray composed
and created the music, the background beats and sounds for our new Yoga and dance inspired CD
and massage expert Shannon Brown produced with us. You can purchase it at CD Baby here and iTunes here.
Summer of 2015 - a happy time of teaching all kinds of music in all kinds of places. I've
taught classical, orchestral, rock, Scottish and American fiddle tunes and jazz to youngsters from all
over. Performed and played with all kinds of folks - including the string parts for my dear friend Cindy Lee Berryhill's
upcoming album. I'm starting to teach tunes with words whenever I can. We're humans! Humans love to sing. And we love
to dance too. Playing music should make us want to sing and dance, I'm thinking.
2015 included a nice set of concerts with Alasdair Fraser's San Francisco Scottish Fiddling Club. I performed some of
my own tunes with club pianist, Judy Thomson. Sometimes it's nice to hear them with just the cello!
of 2015:I had a fantastic time playing with my Mountain Time Quartet colleagues in Chicago and nearby Wisconsin this
past January, writing string orchestra parts for Matuto and Aoife O'Donovan for the 2015 Wintergrass Festival orchestra
in February, and happily learning how to write songs with words!
I'm very happy to announce
that my latest composition for level 3 string orchestra, "You Didn't Ask Me," has been selected as Editors
Choice by J.W.Pepper for their catalog. Yay! It's a 12/8 60's style soul tune with written out (or
improv) solos for every instrument. You can order it here.
Summer passed in a blur and here it is, fall already. I spent this past year teaching
and performing at workshops in nine different states plus New Zealand and Australia. I wrote another Scottish string orchestra
arrangement, this time for Alfred. It will be published next year. Stay tuned for more fun events coming up!
sprung and I spent a lot of it in the fall! Three weeks in autumnal New Zealand and Australia with musical pals
Catherine Fraser, Duncan Smith, Liz Carroll and new friend Alistair McCulloch. We taught at the Southern Hemisphere International
School for Scottish Fiddling, then Catherine, Duncan, Alistair and I headed off to the south of Australia to play a fun series
of Scottish music concerts in cities and towns. And did I mention the couple of concerts and a ceilidh that I played
with Alasdair Fraser and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers in the green green hills of northern California?
Winter 2014 was
bright and clear and booked to the max! ! I performed with Darol Anger and mando wiz kid Matt
Witler in Newark, Ohio, Cindy Lee Berryhill at the SXSW in Austin, TX - our own concert and a couple of tunes on
the Lou Reed Tribute concert, and in January, I recorded a new CD in Wisconsin with my playing buddies from the
Colorado Suzuki Institute! Also finishing up a new techno/Americana/Bollywood yoga CD for my Berceuse project. At
Wintergrass in early March I taught for their youth education and arranged two of cellist Rushad Eggleston's
compositions for the Wintergrass Festival Orchestra to perform with him on the main stage. He went up on an
aerial wire for The Falcon! Somersaults in mid air! News Flash - I've been named Kuumbwa Educator in Residence -
so I'll get to do more performing and teaching, bringing jazz improvisation into our area school system. Very
Fall 2013 and I fell into a rabbit-hole of seemingly non-stop performing. First
Australian Scottish performers Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith came to my home area and we played a couple of concerts together,
then I played a bunch of concerts during autumn including the KVMR Celtic Festival in Nevada City and finishing
up at Don Quixote's in Felton at the end of November with Deby Benton Grosjean's Bridge-Crossing, a sub-set of our
Reel of Seven Scottish Country Dance Band, played a delightful set of tunes at a cello fest with the truly fearsome trio of
Aria DiSalvio, Barry Phillips and me - and I've even been playing wedding gigs again (who knew?) all around
the Bay area of California. And I taught fiddle tunes to cellists at the Black Hills Suzuki workshop in
South Dakota (yep - I saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain) and will again in Wisconsin in the month of
Summer, 2013! As usual, all kinds of new projects were lined up, as well as lots of
teaching at various summer string camps and Suzuki Institutes. I worked with Cindy Lee Berryhill in a
studio in Pacific Palisades, CA (swanky!) on her new tunes. And I started thinking about a new Yoga CD with techno/India
beats and a bit of cello bluegrass thrown in.
With Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith in Upper
Hutt, New Zealand. Two tunes from my new CD - Carrolling and Mr. Gary Iida (my high school orchestra director. who died
in November of this year)
Yep, it's my latest CD "Celtic Conversations, New
Tunes from the New World" featuring performances and music by Liz Carroll, Laura Risk and me.
Spring! I headed out to New Zealand to teach at the Southern Hemisphere International School of Scottish Fiddling! My new
CD is mixed and mastered - I offered it in a limited release in New Zealand and sold out! It will be available all over
the web in June:" Celtic Conversations, New Tunes from the New World" featuring performances and music
by Liz Carroll, Laura Risk and me.
Winter came with very exciting news: I've been selected by the National
Association for Music Education (NAfME) to serve on the Ensemble – Traditional subcommittee writing next generation
National Standards in the Arts. Music Geek warning; I have been interested in this for a long time - and was the Alternative
Styles committee chair for the latest (2009) ASTA syllabus.
A happy fall of work has passed. I just finished
a couple of exciting projects: a Kuumbwa Jazz concert (Nov 29) featuring my original tunes, jazz and trad
tunes with my friends in "String Land" (video of small group directly below), and new string arrangements for the Wintergrass Festival Orchestra for two all-women
groups; Hills to Hollers and Della Mae.
With New Almaden Trio at Kuumbwa
I'm honored to be named Kuumbwa Jazz Artist in Residence for 2012 and 2013. I'm working with young jazz (string and wind) players at area schools, masterclasses and giving
pre-concert talks as well as performing. My first concert talk in 2012 was "Jazz Violin - a short history"
before Mads Tollings' quartet : A Tribute to Jean-Luc Ponty! Next, a pre concert talk about Benny Golson Yeah - THE Benny
Golson! He was travelling with Nnenna Freelon in his band. Then a talk about legendary Brazilian composer and performer
Hermeto Pascoal - with information thanks to Dr. Andrew Connell. And a fun interview with Bluegrass chanteuse Laurie
Lewis who was performing with her terrific new trio, Hills to Hollers.
Glad to be home after a marvelous summer
teaching in Colorado (twice!), Texas and California. All kinds of projects lined up - lots pf planning for
ASTA - strings 4ever this year and beyond! And choosing and practicing music for all of my beginning string orchestra groups.
Had a busy Spring. Played with Cindy Lee Berryhill at McCabe's in Santa Monica again. What a wonderful
venue! Gave a clinic at the Suzuki Conference in Minneapolis about the importance of teaching music theory while teaching
music. Our band, Reel of Seven, produced a new album: Dance for Joy Encore. And flew to Washington D.C. for my first ASTA Board Meeting. Really thrilled to be asked for my perspective on our mission
to put an instrument into everybody's hands. I've been appointed to the American String Teachers Association National
Board for the year 2012-13 to serve out another board member's term. Whoo hoo!
Here's a pretty tune from
the McCabe's Mother's Day Concert. I play melodica too.
I was delighted to be a clinician/judge with Byron Berline and
Michael Doucet for the Eclectic Strings Festival at the ASTA Conference in Atlanta, March, 2012. Amazing students and amazing bands. I'm so glad that ASTA introduced
the student groups to the eclectic strings competition. What a fantastic final show!
With the Fall came my
newest CD. Pacific Cello is a 72 minute single featuring cello music for massage, relaxation, reflection and gentle yoga and savasana. It's also
available from iTunes. Part of a new project with my producer, Shannon Brown, called "Berceuse; adult lullabies."
Two new string arrangements out! Appalachian Tunes from String Letter Publishing and Summer Choro from Alfred Music are both for intermediate string orchestra. Celebrate the Americas with these two groovacious arrangements.
You can hear an arrangement of one of the Appalachian tunes for cellos: Consternation below.
My CD, A Slice of
Summer, is available at CDBaby and everywhere for digital downloads. All my own tunes (except for a couple of traditional fiddle tunes). Jazzy
Americana with cello, sax, violin, and lots of others. A big big album.
The Wintergrass Youth Orchestra Gala (see
below for video) was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association for 2011 Bluegrass event of the year!! Yes!
It was an honor to be nominated!
Colorado Suzuki Institute, June 2011 I borrowed a nice cello from Robertson and Sons. It sounds great!
A Slice of Cake! From A Slice of Summer
Just played with Cindy Lee Berryhill and Randy Hoffman in
NYC and more to come with Paula Luber sitting in for Randy (on the East Coast). Also just performed with the New
Almaden Trio (Kristen Strom, sax, Scott Sorkin guitar and me) at New Directions Cello Festival. Here is the NDCF cello choir
performing my tune, Consternation. You can purchase this tune for string orchestra from String Letter Publishing.
Wow - lots of cool cellists out there. New Almaden's
CD is nearly done! I'll be teaching at all sorts of camps. Check my schedule page for places and times. Hope to see you
Winter 2011, ASTA in Kansas City! Did some fun bluegrass clinics with Andy Carlson,
worked on a new recording project with Liz Carroll, helped lead some great new educational offerings at Wingergrass including the giant new Wintergrass Youth Orchestra Festival, a reading session for teachers, students and
attendees, as well as teacher, adult and youth workshops! Oh yeah - and attended all of the rest of the festival.
Here is Laurie Lewis and her band playing with the Wintergrass Youth Orchestra. I arranged the string accompaniment!
Had a sweet Northwest tour with New Almaden Trio as
well as an East Coast Tour with Cindy Lee Berryhill. A whirlwind of places and great folks - new and old friends and fans.
Touring with Cindy Lee Berryhill on the East Coast in September (see Schedule).
Summer of 2010 brought Outbound Express for string orchestra,
a jazz train tune, level 3, available from Alfred Music, Amazing Grace and Simple Gifts, Folk Hymns for Beginning String Orchestra - at about level 2 (vln 1, 2, vla, vc
and bass) available from String Letter Publishing. In addition, String Quartet arrangements of Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Christmas Songs for String Quartet. Intermediate
level for students - fun to read on the gig for pros and available from String Letter Publishing and Song for My Father and Besame Mucho, Latin String Quintet (violin 1, 2, vla, cello and bass) or string orchestra
arrangements at about level 3 and available from String Letter Publishing.
2010 Spring was all around - conducted my own arrangement of Besame Mucho for the Washington
Middle School from Seattle at an orchestra Festival here in the Bay Area. They were great! One student had written his own
jazz solo, and the other two had memorized theirs. Very accomplished playing from that string orchestra. I taught cello -
a lot of accompaniment and jazz soloing skills down at the gorgeous Big Sur Fiddle Camp during Easter week. Very exciting
news from Wintergrass where I'm involved in planning some amazing new educational offerings. More about that later.
Early 2010 and winter started off with a bang. Taught two clinics at the American String Teachers Association
Conference in my home stomping grounds of Santa Clara, CA then left immediately for Wintergrass in Bellvue, WA. Lots of fantastic
kids in our Wintergrass Youth Academy (directed by Beth Fortune and Joe Craven!), many many interested adults in our Bluegrass
Music Reading Session (new string arrangements for teachers to use) including a nice clinic by Brittany Haas.
She taught an Appalachian tune from her by ear, then I taught our readers to play harmony and bass lines for the same
tune from a lead sheet, then we played my arrangement of the tune. Then on to jamming and concerts for three fun-filled days.
Great Big Taters!
Here's a picture taken by Gordon Stevens of Open Path Music out at Fambrini Farms.
2009 Summer was
a glorious time of teaching in the mountains (the Rockies and the Blue Ridge Mountains) and near the sea (UC Santa Cruz with the
Mandolin Sympsium, San Diego's Strings By the Sea Camp), writing fun string quartet/orchestra arrangements (out now -
see above) and performing and playing my cello and mandolin. Finished my last camp in September - teaching at the Valley of
the Moon Scottish Fiddling School where I performed with my heroes Liz Carroll and Darol Anger.
Maybe it's just me, maybe I've
watched way too many silver-screen horse operas—from Shane to J.W.
Coop to McCabe and Mrs. Miller, from Lonely Are The Brave to Lonesome Dove to Dances With
Wolves—but Renata Bratt's GREAT BIG TATERS lopes me back
to my favorite Great Big True-Gritters. Because her verve roams the whole soulful open range of creativity.
Because her bow arcs star-to-star, vista-after-big-two-hearted-vista, across musical frontiers. In the keenly enunciated
words of The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling, "imagine if you will" Annie Oakley meets Pablo Casals.
Please email me if you have any questions or comments at: