Eileen Ivers
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Eileen Ivers


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"The Washington Post"

Two of Ireland's most popular musicians, fiddler Eileen Ivers and vocalist Mary Black, joined the National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marvin Hamlisch for "A Celtic Evening" in this past weekend's pops programs at the Kennedy Center. The Friday concert, in what Hamlisch called "our big salute to Hanukah," had a few items with a Welsh or Scottish flavor, including some stirring sounds from a highland piper. But the accent was primarily Irish.

Besides accompanying the soloists, the versatile NSO played the kind of orchestral pops items usually heard around St. Patrick's Day, such as Leroy Anderson's lilting "Irish Suite," a movement from Hamilton Harty's "Irish" Symphony and Percy Grainger's arrangement of "The Londonderry Air." But the music that had the capacity audience leaping to its feet and clapping in unison was Black's crystal-clear, deeply emotive singing and -- even more -- Ivers's incredible fiddling.

Ireland's musical traditions are ancient and their influence has been widespread. Both soloists reached back into that tradition for part of their material, but both would endorse a statement once made by Black: "In Ireland there's an openness about music that allows you to step outside of categories."

Black began her career as a folk singer, and her brief appearance with the NSO included a memento of those origins -- an old ballad about a wife waiting for her husband to return from the sea. But she also sang contemporary material. Her show-stopper was one of her signature tunes, "Columbus."

Ivers plays two violins, a standard acoustic one and another that is electrified. She may be the world's fastest fiddler, and she used this skill effectively, but she also is a versatile musician, at home in a variety of idioms and alert to the links between the popular music of Ireland and America. Her band included guitar, bass, percussion, uilleann pipes, flute and vocalist Tommy McDonnell, who also plays harmonica and cajoles the audience into singalong mode. This ensemble is adept in a variety of styles, and their music included not only traditional jigs and music from the baroque era but Latin-flavored numbers and the quintessentially American "Lost Train Blues," with train imitations by the fiddler, percussion and harmonica.

Still, Irish music is Ivers's specialty and she performs it with panache, solo or in ensemble, in the spotlight or in accompaniment. She brought on a small troupe of Irish step dancers, accompanied them stylishly and later danced a few steps herself while still fiddling. In the grand finale, she went out into the audience and walked up and down the aisles, greeting patrons while spinning out notes at a mile a minute. - Joseph McLellan

"Boston Herald"

Boston Pops' "Fiddlers Three," conducted by Keith Lockhart, at Symphony Hall, last night; repeats tonight.

With apologies to Old King Cole, conductor Keith Lockhart called not for his pipe, not for his bowl but for his fiddlers three at Symphony Hall.

The occasion was the first of two Boston Pops "Fiddlers Three" concerts starring violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Regina Carter and Eileen Ivers and featuring the world premiere of Chris Brubeck's lively "Interplay" for this trio and orchestra. And if the nursery-rhyme monarch himself had been there, I'm sure he would have made his soul merry indeed.

Before the Brubeck, each violinist demonstrated her prowess in her chosen specialty. For Salerno-Sonnenberg, that meant playing Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. For Carter and her jazz combo, that meant a George Gershwin and Milt Jackson set.

And for Ivers - well, if you've seen her in "Riverdance" you know both her trademark blue fiddle and her roof-raising way with Irish music. To that she added an equally effective bluegrass number. It wasn't exacty a surprise that Ivers seemed the clear audience favorite.

With his "Interplay", Brubeck seems on the verge of becoming to the Lockhart Pops what Leroy Anderson was in Fiedler's day: the orchestra's composer of choice for both enduring and occasional pieces. Last year, with his concerto for pops orchestra "Convergence," he showed that he can deliver music of substance that doesn't need five pages of program notes to "explain" to an audience. And with "Interplay" he proved his ability to come up with a party piece to exact specifications.

In this case, what was called for was a piece to showcase three great but very different talents, and that's what Brubeck delivered. Thus Salerno-Sonnenberg got the most detailed music, Ivers the most rhythmic and Carter the most voluptuous. And the best part came towards the end of the 10-minute work, when the three engaged in a real musical conversation, passing the same tune around in different ways.

"Interplay" won't have much of a life after tonights encore performance - aside from a spot on PBS' "Evening at Pops" this summer. After all, how often are classical, jazz and Irish violinists of this caliber going to come together? But for know it's exacly what Lockhart - and Old King Cole - called for. - T.J. Medrek

"Neapolitan - Naples Daily News"

“Ivers plays with such genius that she surpasses genre. It was an invigorating, highly energetic evening.” - Nancy Stetson

"Billboard Magazine"

"Ivers Bridges the gap between her Celtic roots and styles ranging from jazz, salsa and flamenco to rock, funk and even electronica..." - -

"The Washington Post"

“She suggests the future of the Celtic fiddle.” - Geoffrey Himes

"The Boston Globe"

“The Eileen Ivers Band rocked the house everywhere it played. …A beautifully inventive fiddler …Her playing a tradition-rich yet adventurous, spiced with world, jazz and pop.” - Scott Alarik

"The New York Times"

"The Eileen Ivers Band electrified a familiar repertory, merging the Celtic and African diasporas...she made her instrument sound like Jimi Hendrix's guitar." - Neil Strauss

"The Irish Times"

“She electrifies the crowd with a dazzling show of virtuoso playing …then she focuses her attention outwards to the audience, who shout and cheer and answer her calls in a deafening chorus.” - Mary O’Malley

"National Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony Pops Conductor"

“Nobody does it better than Eileen Ivers. Not only does the orchestra savor her musicianship and professionalism, but, she never misses to bring a pops audience to its feet with thunderous ovations.” - Marvin Hamlisch

"The Los Angeles Times"

“At the center of everything, providing both musical energy and a style that constantly pressed against the limits of traditionalism, was the brilliant fiddler, Eileen Ivers. Her Originality and rhythmic swing well provide the bridge Irish music needs to break through to a mainstream audience. …No wonder the audience loved every minute.” - Don Heckman


Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul 2003 Koch Records
Crossing the Bridge 2002 Sony Music Ent.
Wild Blue 1996 Green Linnet Records
Eileen Ivers-Traditional Irish Music 1994



Eileen Ivers will change the way you think about the violin.

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Nine Time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, London Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony at The Kennedy Center, Boston Pops, musical star of Riverdance, The Chieftains, Hall and Oates, Afrocelts, Patti Smith, Paula Cole, founding member of Cherish the Ladies, performed for Presidents and Royalty worldwide … this is a short list of accomplishments, headliners, tours and affiliations. Fiddler Eileen Ivers has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today.

It is a rare and select grade of spectacular artists whose work is so boldly imaginative and clearly virtuosic that it alters the medium. It has been said that the task of respectfully exploring the traditions and progression of the Celtic fiddle is quite literally on Eileen Ivers’ shoulder. The Washington Post states, “She suggests the future of the Celtic fiddle.”

She’s been called a “sensation” by Billboard magazine and “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by The New York Times. “She electrifies the crowd with a dazzling show of virtuoso playing” says The Irish Times. Ivers’ recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores. Her latest CD, entitled ‘Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul’ continues to display why Ivers is hailed as one of the great innovators and pioneers in the Celtic and World music genres.

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen Ivers grew up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. Rooted in Irish traditional music since the age of eight, Eileen proceeded to win nine All-Ireland fiddle championships, a tenth on tenor banjo and over 30 championship medals, making her one of the most awarded persons ever to compete in these prestigious competitions.

Being an Irish-American, the intrigue of learning more about the multicultural sounds of her childhood took hold. After graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics from Iona College and while continuing her post-graduate work in Mathematics, Eileen fully immersed herself in the different genres of music which she experienced growing up in New York. Perhaps it was the mathematical mind coupled with her passion for seeking parallels in certain traditional music styles which contributed to what has become the signature sound featured in much of Eileen’s recordings since the late 1980’s.

In 1999 Eileen established a touring production to present the music which now encompasses Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul. This mix of African and Latin percussion and bass, Irish instrumentalists, and American soulful vocals headlines major performing arts centers, guest stars with numerous symphonies, performs at major festivals worldwide and has appeared on national and international television. The L.A. Times proclaims, “Ivers presentation was music with the kind of life and spirit that come together when talented artists from different backgrounds find the linkages that connect all forms of music … no wonder the audience loved every minute”.

Eileen is also privileged to share the stage with two of the world’s most celebrated violinists, classical virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and jazz great Regina Carter, in the critically acclaimed ‘Fiddlers Three’. This show continues to fascinate symphony audiences throughout the U.S. “’Fiddlers Three’ will go down as one of the great Boston Pops events” – Boston Globe.

ZETA Music, the world’s leading electric stringed instrument maker, has recently introduced the Eileen Ivers Signature Series blue violin.

More of Eileen Ivers’ overwhelming audience and critical response can be read at www.eileenivers.com.