About the 2020 Pipers Weekend Teachers
Brian Bigley comes from musical family and began his study of the Uilleann Pipes at the age of eight with Achill Island piper Michael Kilbane and the countless musicians that have crossed his path since that time. He developed an interest the art of pipe making and studied the craft with pipe maker Seth Gallagher in New York and the master flute maker Patrick Olwell in Virginia. He is currently making pipes in the style of the late Dave Williams and has a waiting list of over a year.
Brian is also a world-class Irish step dancer. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe as a piper, flute player, whistle player, and dancer with various music and dance shows. Brian now lives near Cleveland, OH with his fiddler wife Kristen and dancing children James and Kathleen.
London-born flute and whistle player John Skelton is probably best known to American audiences from his work with The House Band, with whom he recorded eight albums on the Green Linnet label. He has also released a solo album, One At a Time, and Double Barrelled, and Two Tone ; two highly regarded albums of flute duets with Kieran O'Hare, as well as a series of tune collection books. John has performed at most of the major folk festivals in North America, Europe and Australia. He is widely considered as one of the leading Irish flute players in this country. A highly experienced and sought after teacher, John has taught at summer schools in North America, Europe and Africa. In addition to his background in Irish music, John is also well-schooled in the music of Brittany. He visits there regularly, and is a highly-regarded player of the Breton bombarde, a double-reed folk shawm. NPR's Thistle and Shamrock described him as "the finest bombarde player outside of Brittany." He also plays the 'Piston' (Low Bombarde), the 'Veuze' (the bagpipe of eastern Brittany) and the 'Gaita Gallega' (Galician pipes).
Dick Hensold is the leading Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, and for the past 20 years has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, and across the United States. He has released numerous CDs as a member of the groups Piper’s Crow, Way Up North, and The New International Trio. His solo Northumbrian smallpipes CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes was released in 2007. He is much in demand as accompanist, studio musician and theater musician, and frequently composes new works based on the traditions of the Northumbrian pipes.
Rosalind Buda is a versatile musician who performs and teaches music from Scottish smallpipes and Highland pipes, to classical bassoon and early reed instruments. Rosalind is passionate about teaching and her experience in both classical and folk music gives her a unique perspective and a holistic approach. Rosalind plays with several ensembles on pipes, bombarde and early instruments including, The Reel Sisters, acclaimed Scottish fiddler, Jamie Laval, Brizeus and the early music ensemble, Istanpitta. Coming from a traditional background on the Highland pipes, Rosalind has a deep love for smallpipes and looks to music from Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, and Appalachia for inspiration. As a classical bassoonist, Rosalind performs with orchestras and chamber music ensembles throughout the Southeast. Rosalind earned her Masters degree from The New England Conservatory in bassoon performance and lives in musically-rich Appalachia in Asheville, NC, where she is an orchestral player, chamber musician, teacher, and piper.
Gerard Nichols (alias) Meeting Jean Blanchard & Éric Montbel in 1998 in Lyon was the first step that he made in the world of bagpipes. After Jean lent him a set of central France student pipes, he never stopped playing them, from the high pitched A pipes to the low C sets. His travels in France allowed him to attend the festival of Saint Chartier and to meet several pipes players and makers, and of course allowed him to order bagpipes from reputable manufacturers. Passionate about the work on the sound, he is interested in ancient bore French bagpipes and on the cabrette and his unique temperament.
Iain Mac Harg, the son of one of the premier bagpipe builders in the world, has studied with many renowned pipers and has earned the title of EUSPBA 2001 Grade One Season Champion. He has founded two Highland Pipe Bands in Vermont, played with several folk groups, made two solo recordings and published a collection of original tunes for the bagpipes. After completing his Masters in Education, he went on to start the Vermont Institute of Piping where he has over 60 solo students.
Multi-Genre violinist/fiddler Seán Heely is one of the most creatively versatile and captivating young artists of his generation. He is a U.S National Scottish Fiddle Champion as well as an award-winning Irish Fiddler and singer in the folk traditions of Scotland and Ireland. Seán has performed with traditional music icons such as Liz Carroll, Bonnie Rideout, Natalie Haas, Cathy Jordan, Eamon O’Leary, Zan McLeod, Maeve Gilchrist, and Paddy Keenan.
A Border and Highland piper in the Washington, D.C., area, Tracy Jenkins grew up around the pipes within earshot of McLean High School in northern Virginia and has played the Great Highland bagpipes for the last 15 years. He plays as a member of the Washington Scottish Pipe Band at parades and events throughout the D.C. area, including at the National Cathedral, and also performs regularly as a solo piper. For the last 10 years, Tracy has also also played Scottish smallpipes and Border pipes, pursuing the rich expanse of Scottish music outside of the formal pipe band setting, and is a regular of the Washington area's Celtic traditional music session scene.
Our host piper, Bob Mitchell is recognized as a successful solo competitor in the US and Canada, He’s worked for 20 years at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and has performed with a number of DC area bands including Iona and Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra. Although his greatest area of expertise is Highland piping, he also plays the Scottish smallpipes and border pipes.