We are an ensemble of players from both classical and Celtic traditional backgrounds, playing Irish and Scottish airs and dance tunes, Early and Medieval music, and original compositions.
Hanneke Cassel, fiddle
Ryan McKasson, fiddle and viola
Jackie Moran, percussion
Kathryn Montoya, recorders, whistle, oboe
Sue Richards, Cetlic harp
Carolyn Surrick, viola da gamba
Isaac Alderson, uillian pipes and Irish flute
Shannon Heaton, Irish flute and pennywhistle
and infrequent but beloved
"Exuberant and rhythmic, somehow both wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness," says the Boston Globe about Hanneke Cassel’s playing. Such charismatic fiddling has brought native Oregonian Hanneke Cassel many honors and awards. She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across the U.S., Scotland, England, Sweden, Austria, China, Italy, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia, France, and Canada.
FIDDLE AND VIOLA
Ryan McKasson claimed the National Scottish Junior Fiddle Championship in 1995 and went on to become the youngest National Scottish Fiddle Open Champion in 1996. He has shared the stage with Elvis Costello, Beck, Björk, Gavin Friday and composer Phillip Glass, among others. His Seattle-based band, McKassons, plays to packed houses, bringing an American sensibility to traditional Scottish folk—songs that have the feel of Celtic music blended with the spirit of folk rock and bluegrass.
RECORDERS, WHISTLE, OBOE
Kathryn Montoya is completing a doctorate at Indiana University, where she studied historical oboes with Washington McClain and recorder with Eva Legêne. She holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University. Ms. Montoya has performed with many ensembles, including Apollo’s Fire, The Newberry Consort, Ensemble Arion, the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theatre, Aradia Ensemble, and the Washington Bach Consort. She is a recipient of the prestigious Performers Certificate at Indiana University and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany. Kathryn was a finalist in the American Bach Soloist Competition and has appeared as a soloist with the Bloomington Early Music Festival Orchestra and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. In the summer of 2005 she performed with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra in the world premiere of Johann Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow and was on faculty at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. Kathryn has recorded for the Naxos label.
Born in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Jackie immigrated to Chicago with his family at age 10. Displaying the intense zeal of a natural-born musician, he was firmly ensconced in the Chicago Irish music scene by the young age of 14. Several prestigious awards later, he’d proven his mettle in Ireland, as well. Jackie has been a founding member of many popular performing groups: Comas, Gan Bua, The Drovers, Wilding, The Otters, Trinity Irish Dance Company. On the cutting edge of the Irish music scene, he has toured with Riverdance, and has performed and recorded with some of the top Irish musicians in the world, including Kevin Burke, Dennis Cahill, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Martin Hayes, Paddy Keenan, Larry Nugent, and John Williams, among others. Jackie’s percussive stylings have even been featured in a number of major motion pictures: Backdraft (1991), Blink (1993), Traveller (1997), The Road to Perdition (2002).
Sue Richards is a collector of tunes, mostly Celtic and Scandinavian. She has played the harp, both pedal and Celtic, since childhood, and found it to be the perfect instrument for her passion. To this end, she has won the Scottish Harp Society of America championship four times, studied and taught in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and recorded with many friends, a natural outgrowth of a good party or session. She has sat in with the Chieftains and played for President and Mrs. Clinton. She also performs with "HEN" harp duo and "Harp and Fool" with mime Mark Jaster. Her solo recordings are on the Maggie’s Music label.
Carolyn Anderson Surrick
VIOLA DA GAMBA
Carolyn Anderson Surrick was born on May 31st. Marin Marais, the great 17th century gambist was also born on that date. Probably a coincidence. He had nineteen children. She does not. She does however, love the viola da gamba and all that it can do. She also is driven to create things, which has been useful in her work with Ensemble Galilei since it is her job to make things happen. She is, after all, the ringleader and navigatrix of the band. Its been twenty-three years of collaborating, conspiring, whispering, and learning and, honestly, it’s one of the coolest jobs on earth.
Carolyn has a BA in music from UCSC, and an MA in musicology from GWU, started her recording career in 1977 and has never looked back. She has recorded and produced many projects since then, has built a couple of houses, and would rather travel by horseback than car. She lives with her family outside of Annapolis, Maryland in a house made from a 120 year-old barn. Life is good. More about Carolyn
Neal Conan may be the luckiest man on earth. With no discernable musical skill whatsoever, he somehow managed to achieve a lifelong ambition to perform on stage with a great band. Mr. Conan first read poetry and stories to the music of Ensemble Galilei in 2000 and worked with the group to put together both "A Universe of Dreams," which debuted in 2004, and "First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World," which had its premiere at the National Geographic Society in 2007. He tours with both programs. Weekdays, Mr. Conan hosts "Talk of the Nation," which is broadcast on about 300 NPR stations and NPR Worldwide. Before that, Conan served NPR News as a reporter, editor and producer and as Bureau Chief in New York and London. He covered many elections, several wars, one impeachment and, in 2004, moderated the first radio only presidential debate since 1948. In 2000, Mr. Conan took a leave of absence to broadcast baseball play by play for the Aberdeen Arsenal, a team in the independent Atlantic League and wrote a book about his experiences, Play by Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League.
Lily Knight began acting as a child on the stage and spent many years in the regions and on and off Broadway in New York. She now resides in Altadena, CA, where she acts in movies, television and the occasional play. Most recently, she filmed Clint Eastwood’s project, Changeling. She is thrilled to be working with Carolyn, Neal and Ensemble Galilei.