The Celtic Arts Foundation Annual Masters of Scottish Arts Concert Set for 2/10


In less than four weeks, just as the early spring flowers start to peek above ground, the Celtic Arts Society will welcome one of the finest assemblages of world class Scottish performing artists to Seattle. And yes, there will be lots of men in kilts! Traditional bagpipes, borderpipes, smallpipes, fiddles, drums and dancers will all descend on Benaroya Hall for one night only at the highly anticipated Masters of Scottish Arts Concert. The Scottish people have a reputation for fun and celebration, and this concert is exactly that.
The Mount Vernon WA-based Celtic Arts Foundation works all year to gather the best of the best from around the world and the 2012 roster includes:
·         8 pipers (6 from Scotland, 2 from Canada)
·         5 drummers (1 from Northern Ireland, 1 from Scotland, 2 from Canada, 1 from the United States)
·         3 fiddlers (1 from Scotland, 2 from Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia)
Of the pipers, Fred Morrison’s unique free-flowing yet expressive abilities on the Scottish smallpipes are in sharp contrast with the award winningDr. Gary West whose impressive knowledge of Celtic folk music and bagpiping history is not to be ignored. Match them with Roddy MacLeod, MBE, one of the most successful piping competitors on the circuit today, and you have an unforgettable evening of pipes.
Flying fingers and tunes performed with unbelievable precision –Scottish natives and Celtic newbies will all delight in the skillful presentations by multiple piping and drumming Gold Medalists and world champions. Fiddlers include: Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivray,(Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and Deirdre Morrison (wife of Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland); Pipers: Brian Donaldson (East Lothian, Scotland), MurRay Henderson (New Zealand) Stuart Liddell (Inveraray, Scotland), Willie McCallum (Glasgow, Scotland), Roddy MacLeod, MBE, (Glasgow, Scotland), Jack Lee (Burnaby, BC) and Bruce Gandy Halifax, Nova Scotia); and Drummers: Michael Cole (Chicago, IL), Tyler Fry, (Ontario, Canada), John Scullion (Ireland),) Arthur Cook (West Lothian, Scotland), and Blair Brown (Ontario, Canada). Four dancers from Seattle and Vancouver B.C., skilled in the art of traditional Celtic dance, add to the evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Morrison and Dr. West will all be available for in person interviews on February 2 and 3, 2012. Contact Jennifer Rice for details or advance phone interviews. Tickets are on sale now. Prices range from $23-$44 and are available by phone 1-866-833-4747, through the Benaroya Hall Box office (M-F 10am-6pm; Sat 1-6pm) or online at
Celtic Arts Foundation
The Celtic Arts Foundation (CAF) is based in Washington State. They produce Scottish, Irish and Celtic cultural events, provide scholarships to aspiring Celtic artists, and have an international focus. The Celtic Arts Foundation was founded in 1997, and received its 501 (c)(3) status from the IRS in March of 1998. The CAF mission is to "sponsor, encourage and promote Celtic culture through events and educational activities."
Fred Morrison - Biography
Bagpipes and bluegrass might seem unlikely musical bedfellows, but for the brilliant Scottish piper Fred Morrison, one of Celtic music's most profoundly skilled and audaciously inventive exponents, they form a wholly natural alliance. His latest album project, Outlands, featuring such topAmericana luminaries as producer Gary Paczosa (Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek), banjo/guitar ace Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station) and Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist Tim O'Brien, sets out to explore the inherent connections Morrison perceives between their traditions and his. "I've always heard a really strong affinity between my own South Vist background and the Irish travelling pipers' style played by people like Paddy Keenan," he says, "and when I started playing the Irish pipes myself, I also found this deep-down rhythmic connection with bluegrass music - to me it's as if they're all one and the same."
Although Morrison was born and raised near Glasgow, it's the celebrated Gaelic piping tradition of his father's native South Vist, in the outer Hebrides, that forms the bedrock of his intensely expressive, uniquely adventurous style. His outstanding technical prowess saw him winning many top competition prizes while still at school, meanwhile being inspired by pioneering acts like the Bothy Band and the Tannahill Weavers. Although his first-love instrument remains the great Highland bagpipes, over the years his mastery has expanded to encompass whistles, Scottish smallpipes, or reelpipes - Morrison being a pivotal populariser of this once-rare variety - and Irish uilleann pipes. He was also one of the first Scottish artists to forge dynamic links with his Celtic cousins in Brittany and north-west Spain, adding further to his repertoire of influences and tunes, and has long been renowned as an outstanding tune composer.
During the 1990s, as well as releasing his superb debut solo album The Broken Chanter, Morrison was a member of both the landmark Scottish supergroup Clan Alba and contemporary Celtic stars Capercaillie, featuring with the latter in the Hollywood movie Rob Roy. He has since pursued a diverse array of collaborative and solo projects, meanwhile releasing two more albums: the unanimously-lauded The Sound of the Sun, in 2000, and 2003's dazzling duo set with Irish bouzouki ace Jamie McMenemy, Up South.
Career highlights range from his record-breaking seventh victory in the 2004 Macallan Trophy competition at Brittany's Lorient Festival to the world premiere of his first orchestral composition Paracas: Rhapsody of the Gael - a 90-minute work performed by over 100 musicians - as the opening concert of Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival in 2005. The following year saw the launch of Morrison's very own signature instrument, the Fred Morrison Reelpipes, which have swiftly become a popular choice among today's top players. Morrison maintains a busy touring schedule, having settled into working with a hand-picked pool of leading instrumentalists, including Ed Boyd, John Joe Kelly, Steve Byrne, Paul Jennings and Matheu Watson. His current bluegrass project has him more fired up than ever before - and given Morrison's uniquely impassioned approach to music, that's saying something.
Dr. Gary West
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. His first solo album, The Islay Ball, was released in 2001 on the Greentrax label, and has been very well received by the critics:  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.
Roddy MacLeod, MBE. A former math instructor, Roddy MacLeod was awarded his MBE for Services to Piping in 2003. As Principal of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Roddy has a keen dedication toward piping instruction and a zeal for promoting piping standards all over the world. A dedicated ambassador of the instrument, Roddy’s achievements are varied. His prizes include: many at the Glenfiddich Championship (including the overall three times), Gold Medals and Clasps from Oban and Inverness,and a repeat winner of the Bratach Gorm, Silver Chanter, Uist and Barra. Roddy is the former Pipe Major for the Scottish Power Pipe Band, and has been Principal at the Piping Centre since its beginning in 1996.