To achieve their unique Celtic sound, Ensemble Galilei has melded the elegance of chamber music with the energy and excitement of traditional music. An intricate blend of instruments grants listeners passage to another world, evoking musical images of the ancient Celts and bringing these images to life for today’s audiences. They have performed and toured globally for almost twenty-five years, and have been featured on multiple recordings and radio performances. They have notably collaborated with National Geographic to create First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World and collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art for First Person: Seeing America.
“There’s an ease about the way they play that seems to break down the barriers that normally exist between the audience and the performer.” —National Public Radio’s Performance Today
Isaac Alderson, uillian pipes and Irish flute
Ryan McKasson, fiddle and viola
Jackie Moran, percussion
Kathryn Montoya, recorders, whistle, oboe
Sue Richards, Celtic harp
Carolyn Surrick, viola da gamba
with Between War & Here collaborators
and infrequent but beloved co-conspirators
Hanneke Cassel Block, fiddle
Uillian pipes and Irish flute
Isaac Alderson began playing Irish traditional music as a teenager and in 2002, at the age of 19 won the senior All-Ireland championship titles on Irish flute, whistle and uilleann pipes. He is the only American ever to achieve such a victory. He has toured with Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul, Celtic Crossroads, Runa, and Comas, and has worked in the pit orchestra work in Sting’s musical The Last Ship. He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed band, The Yanks, and tours regularly with Ensemble Galilei. Most recently he performed in the show Riverdance on their 20th anniversary three-month tour of China. He has also performed across the United States and in Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Colombia.
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. www.ryanmckasson.com
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). www.jackiemoran.com
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.
Sue Richards is a traditional Celtic harper; she studied classical harp as a teen at Oberlin College and then Ohio State University. When she discovered Celtic harps, she turned to the Irish and Scottish music of her heritage, winning the American National Scottish Harp Championship four times. She has played for Presidents Clinton and Bush, Queen Elizabeth of England, and sat in with the Chieftains Irish band. She currently teaches and directs the harp program at the Ohio Scottish Arts School at Oberlin, Ohio, has taught and performed at most of the major Celtic harp festivals in the US, and has toured with the HARPA Ensemble in Norway and Scotland. She has three solo recordings on the Maggies Music label (www.maggiesmusic.com), and three books of arrangements of Celtic music for harp. She also has published a book of her own compositions, Morning to Midnight. www.suerichards.net
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-five 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 (narrator) has a tin ear and no sense of rhythm. In high school he played in the percussion section of a non-marching band, which he was asked to leave after an infamous performance judged to be excessively zealous even for Sousa. In a sustained show of good judgment, he then spent a long career in broadcast journalism as a consumer rather than a producer
of music. Neal was for eleven years the host of Talk of the Nation, the national news-talk call-in show from NPR. He brought three decades of news and radio experience to the show, which reached nearly 3 million listeners a week on more than 300 NPR member stations. And now, after all those years in broadcasting, Neal says he “finally gets to play with a really cool band.”
A familiar voice on NPR for the past quarter century, Conan worked as a reporter based in New York, Washington, and London (serving as NPR’s Bureau Chief in both New York and London). He anchored NPR live coverage of events including national political conventions, inaugurations, and an impeachment. For five years, he hosted Weekly Edition: The Best of NPR News. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Conan played a major role anchoring NPR’s continuous live coverage, a part he reprised during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, in Des Moines, Iowa, he hosted the first
radio-only presidential candidates’ debate since 1948.
On the other side of the microphone, Conan has served as editor, producer, and executive producer of NPR’s flagship evening news magazine, All Things Considered and, at various times, acted as NPR’s foreign editor, managing editor, and news director.
Neal Conan’s awards include a Major Armstrong award for his coverage of the Iran-Iraq War, a prestigious Alfred I. du Pont/Columbia University award as part of NPR’s coverage of the Gulf War, another du Pont and a George Foster Peabody Award for his part in NPR’s Coverage of Sept. 11, and yet another du Pont for NPR’s coverage of the war in Iraq. During his time at All Things Considered, the program won numerous awards, including the Washington Journalism Review’s Best in the Business award.
During the 2001 baseball season, Conan took a leave of absence from NPR News to work as the play-by-play announcer for the Aberdeen Arsenal (independent Atlantic League). He filed a series of commentaries about life on the fringe of professional sports for Morning Edition, and later wrote a book about his experiences, Play By Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League.
Neal Conan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1949. He makes his home in Hawaii with his wife, Gretel.
Anne Garrels was a long-time foreign correspondent for National Public Radio in the United States.
Garrels graduated from Harvard University’s Radcliffe College in 1972. She subsequently worked at ABC in several positions for about ten years, including serving as Moscow bureau chief and correspondent until she was expelled in 1982, and as Central American bureau chief from 1984 to 1985. Garrels was the NBC News correspondent at the U.S. State Department. She joined NPR in 1988 and reported on conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and the West Bank. Garrels was the Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations in 1996, and is a member of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Garrels was one of the 16 Western journalists who remained in Baghdad and reported live during the 2003 Iraq War. Shortly after her return from Iraq, she published Naked in Baghdad, a memoir of her time covering the events surrounding the invasion. She subsequently returned to Iraq several times for NPR. She was an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marines during the November 2004 attack on Fallujah. Garrels also covered the January 2005 Iraqi national elections for an interim government, as well as constitutional referendum and the December 2005 elections for the first full term Iraqi government. As sectarian violence swept much of central Iraq Garrels continued to report from Baghdad, Najaf and Basra.
Garrels has won nearly every major broadcasting award including the George Polk Award for her work in Iraq, the 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award, the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the Los Angeles Press Club’s Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.
Bob Berky (actor) has performed as a solo artist at theaters, universities
and music and theater festivals throughout the world (Hong Kong, Perth,
Jerusalem, Cologne and Spoleto). In New York, he has appeared at Dance
Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center, The Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave
Festival (The Alchemedians, The Power Project), and Off- Broadway with
Michael Moschen (The Alchemedians). Mr. Berky was awarded an OBIE for his
work with the performance ensemble Foolsfire, a Fringe First Award at the
Edinburgh Festival for his one man show, and was the winner of The Kennedy
Center’s 1991 New American Plays Roger L. Stevens Award for his first play,
Cooking the World. His television appearances include specials on PBS, Canal
Plus, Disney, MTV and Nickelodeon. Bob has taught at numerous universities
and theaters including Juilliard, Brandeis University, The North Carolina
School for the Arts, and Smith College. He has worked extensively as a
teaching and performing artist with the Lincoln Center Institute in New
York. “Laughter it was. Unadulterated, uninhibited roars of hysteria, mind
you, … and the “magician” who transcended all age, culture and language
barriers to reduce the lot of us to a convulsing mass was Bob Berky.” —
Hong Kong Festival Review
Lily Knight (actor) has, as a company member of Circle Rep in New York (and
Circle West in Los Angeles), collaborated in the development of many new
plays, several of which she helped develop from workshop to Off-Broadway to
Broadway production. She is an acting teacher and coach in Los Angeles and a
member of the classical acting company, Antaeus. She’s played roles on over
50 television shows (Big Love, The Mentalist, Boston Legal, Weeds, The
Shield, Without a Trace, Buffy, The Guardian, ER, The Practice, NYPD Blue,
Law & Order, Chicago Hope, Family Law, and Ally McBeal, to name a few), in
feature films (Changeling, Around the Bend, The Assassination of Richard
Nixon, The Singing Detective, The Secretary, Dahmer, AI). Her theatrical
experience includes on Broadway (Agnes of God, As Is, The Musical Comedy
Murders of 1940), Off-Broadway (Holy Terror, The Early Girl, The Fiery
Furnace, to name a few) and plays at many regional theatres across the
country. She is currently completing her first novel.
Adrian LaTourelle (actor) has many stage credits, including work in some of
the best theaters in the country, such as the Mark Taper Forum, the
Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., The Old Globe, San Jose Rep, the
Dallas Theater Center, the Antaeus Company, and the Yale Repertory Theater.
Adrian has also worked abroad, performing in theater and film in Russia and
the Netherlands. Adrian has appeared in numerous television series such as
Castle, Last Resort, The Closer, House, NCIS: LA, Boston Legal, Without a
Trace, Criminal Minds, Numbers, with a recurring role on Sons of Anarchy.
Adrian is also an accomplished voice-over actor and recently completed
season two as the voice of the evil Unalaq on Nickelodeon’s Avatar: Legend
of Korra. Adrian is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Hanneke Cassel Block
“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. www.hannekecassel.com
Bill Pullman, narrator, started acting professionally in New York Theatre in
1983, and shortly thereafter began his film career which currently spans
nearly 50 features. His movie work includes blockbuster comedies (Ruthless
People, Spaceballs, Casper), dramas (The Serpent and the Rainbow, The
Accidental Tourist, Igby Goes Down), romantic comedies (Sleepless in
Seattle, While You Were Sleeping), action (Independence Day), thrillers
(Malice), Westerns (“The Virginian,” Wyatt Earp), film noir (The Last
Seduction, Lost Highway, The Zero Effect), and horror (The Grudge). Recent
films he has completed: Killer Inside Me (with Casey Affleck), Rio Sex
Comedy (with Irene Jacob and Charlotte Rampling), Bottle Shock (with Alan
Rickman), Phoebe in Wonderland (with Elle Fanning and Felicity Huffman),
Surveillance (with Julia Ormond), Your Name Here (a fantasy on the last days
of author Philip K. Dick). His theater work includes acting in the Broadway
revival of David Mamet’s “Oleanna” opposite Julia Stiles; the Broadway world
premiere of Edward Albee’s “The Goat” (Drama Desk nomination); and in
Albee’s most recent production “Peter and Jerry” (Drama Desk nomination), as
well as productions of new plays by Beth Henley (with Holly Hunter) and
Thomas Babe (with Tom Waits).
Pullman directed for the anthology TV series “Night Visions,” and directed
and produced the TNT movie “The Virginian” (Wrangler Award/Best Picture,
2000). He also starred in a television mini-series for NBC entitled
“Revelations.” He just finished production on HBO’s “Too Big To Fail” for
director Curtis Hanson. In 2011 he was seen portraying convicted killer
Oswald Danes in the Starz Original series “Torchwood: Miracle Day.”
Pullman has been an “Ambassador” for the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society
since 1998; he serves on the board of Cornerstone Theater Company (using
theater collaborations to engage the issues of underserved communities); and
has helped facilitate health programs in his hometown of Hornell, New York,
where his father practiced medicine.
Pullman received a BA from the State University College at Oneonta, and an
MFA in Theater Directing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He
taught in the Theater Department at Montana State University in Bozeman for
two years before heading to New York.
More Praise for Ensemble Galilei
“Drawing on its rich repertoire of traditional Celtic music as well as Italian and Spanish diversions, the sextet moved back and forth between the sublime and the stirring, juxtaposing poignant airs and courtly melodies with vibrant jigs, reels and cantigas…. the ensemble had no difficulty fashioning an alternately lyrical and lively soundtrack, one that made colorful use of hand percussion, fiddle, oboe, recorder, Scottish small pipes, Celtic harp and viola da gamba.”
–The Washington Post
“… a lovely blend of instrumental music on A Winter’s Night….The most charming aspect of the collection, however, is the way the Ensemble Galilei weaves all of these melodies into a 55-minute tapestry broken only by an enthusiastic audience response between each piece.”
–Dirty Linen folk/world magazine
“Aside from the ensemble’s good musicianship and wonderful way with the myth-evoking, gentle melancholy of Celtic music, the most striking feature was the obvious pleasure the players took in what they were doing.”
“If music is the food of the gods, this disc comes from their private stock.”
“Equally effective were the beautifully wrought melodies and rhythms of Ensemble Galilei.”
“With poetry read and Celtic music played, the audience was shown images of the universe taken with the Hubble telescope. It was a truly wonderful experience.”
“Ancient Noels is one of the years’ best…a mystical majesty fuels both stately medieval processionals, sprightly Dutch and Basque carols.”
–The Washington Post
“Medieval and Renaissance tunes, beautifully rendered…”
–San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Members of the Ensemble Galilei consider the pursuit of this ancient music as a labor of love.”
–The Baltimore Sun
“The women of Ensemble Galilei play with sensibility informed by both brain and heart, which then flows out through the very able hands.”