Hammer dulcimer virtuoso Simon Chrisman brings an unusual style to an instrument that has previously been thought to have limited range and technique… his inventive virtuosic touch and sophisticated rhythmic sensibilities are redefining the instrument and earning the attention of musicians from all over the world. He tours with the Jeremy Kittel Band and the Bee Eaters, and has performed with Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Mike Marshall, Laurie Lewis and Seamus Egan.
Ariel Friedman is a multi-genre cellist, composer and educator. A winner of ASTA’s Alternative Styles Award, she is steeped both in the music of American roots traditions and a broad range of classical repertoire. Ariel tours the U.S. and abroad with her sister as Ari & Mia, award-winning songwriters and highly acclaimed as New England’s Americana sister act.
She is the founding cellist of Cardamom Quartet, a Boston-based ensemble engaged in reimagining the traditional canon by performing music exclusively by women and, most recently she is a 2018 recipient of New England Conservatory’s Alumni Award. An advocate of new music and a composer herself, Ariel performs with Boston Modern Orchestra Project and has written music for and collaborated with many ensembles and soloists including Palaver Strings, Box Not Found, and the young artists of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
In demand as an educator, Ariel teaches at Brookline Music School, coaches chamber music for the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras, and has taught at camps and workshops from New England to New Zealand.
Katie Le Sesne made her festival debut in 2012 as a student-interviewee, appearing in the documentary “Harmonista: Finding Festival” aired on Public television in 2013. At the time, Le Sesne was studying for her degree in Music Education at the Ball State Teacher’s College and the Hargreaves School Of Music at BSU. Her participation-in andimpact-upon The New Harmony Music Festival & School since that time cannot be fully calculated. Currently pursuing her career as a music educator, her achievements as an educator and encourager of music and creativity have garnered accolades and awards from her professional organizations (ASTA, NAME) normally reserved for those with 20 years or more experience within their field.
Drawing upon her own multi-cultural/familial experiences as well as her education, life-experiences, and long association with NHMF&S, Katie brings a unique and authentic presence to the group activities class as well as a definitive “nurturing spirit” to the student body. To put it plainly, a day in her class is like a day at the ultimate musical “spa”.
-Christopher Layer-Festival Founder & Director
The entire music festival and school family mourns the sudden passing of our brother in arts: Clem Penrose, local arts legend, mentor, gifted teacher and founder of our non-profit, The New Harmony Artist’s Guild Inc. In tribute to Clem we would like to keep his teacher profile up on our website thru the end of the summer season. For those wishing to read his obituary, written by his friend and NHMF&S founder, Christopher Layer. Clement Penrose Obituary
If the family name Demarco sounds slightly off in terms of Irish fiddle, you have only to listen to his music to be cured of any preconceptions about the importance of ethnic purity in traditional Irish music. There may have been a time when Irish music in New York City was played exclusively by Irish immigrants and their offspring, while their Italian neighbors strummed mandolins and sang opera. But the Big Apple really is a melting pot, at least for some of its disparate immigrant elements. Before World War II it really wasn’t very common for Italian and Irish Americans to marry each other. By the 1950s, however, this kind of ethnic mixing was fairly normal in Tony’s native Brooklyn, where the Italians and Irish lived side by side and attended the same parish churches.
Tony was born on May 20, 1955, the second of three children raised in East Flatbush by Paul DeMarco and his wife, the former Patricia Dempsey. Paul, a grandson of Italian immigrants, was a teenage lightweight boxing star who turned down an offer to turn pro and work with lightweight champ Paddy “Billygoat” DeMarco in order to pursue a more conventional career on Wall Street. Tony’s maternal grandfather Jimmy Dempsey was a New York City cop and a son of Irish immigrants who married Philomena “Minnie” Fenimore, one of several Italian-American siblings who married into Brooklyn Irish families.
Musical ability runs on both sides of Tony’s family. During the Prohibition years, Minnie Dempsey’s Italian immigrant father ran a speakeasy in East New York, where he played the piano and mandolin. Tony’s paternal uncle Louie DeMarco was a singer who performed with 1950s doo-wop groups, including “Dickie Dell and the Ding Dongs.” Tony’s cousin John Pattitucci, from the Fenimore side of the family, is a leading professional bass player who has recorded with jazz stars Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. But Tony definitely found his way to Irish traditional music via a different path than the one trod by musicians raised in Irish immigrant households.
More typical young Irish traditional musicians in New York in the 1970s had at least one parent born in Ireland. They may well have attended step dancing classes with one of the many dance schools in the region, and most likely went to group music classes conducted in the Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey, or Long Island by Pete Kelly, Martin Mulvihill, and Maureen Glynn. They would have joined a branch of the international Irish traditional music organization Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and competed each year at the regional fleadh cheoil at Manhattan College in the Bronx. If they placed high enough, they would go on to the big show, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann—the All-Ireland Fleadh—from which not a few returned home with the coveted title of “All-Ireland champion” on the fiddle, button accordion, tin whistle, or other instrument.
Tony had a different background altogether. As he puts it: “I never grew up with the competitive Comhaltas scene—I came through the hippie scene, the folkie scene.” He tells the story of how he took up the fiddle and discovered Irish music in his own contribution to these notes, but it is worth repeating here that his first exposure to Irish traditional music was through a Folkways recording of the County Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman. Tony had many other musical influences before this, and would have many more afterward, but for him the appeal of the Sligo fiddle style would never fade.
“Tony’s fiddle work shines through the various tracks with a complexity that we have come to expect from a very discerning musician whos approach to the music is anything but predictable.”
Paul Keating – The Irish Voice
“It’s hard to imagine an irish traditional music scene in new york city without tony demarco.”
Mick Moloney – Irish Studies, NYU
“The Sligo Indians” represents Tony’s irish fiddling at its most appealing and fulfilling.it is a recording he and his session faithfull can be proud of.”
Earl Hitchner – The Irish Echo
“I love that tune tony [Linda Rays , on “The Sligo Indians” cd]. you are a great composer.“
Seamus Connolly – Irish Studies, Boston College
Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His choreographic work re-imagines movement as a musical activity, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized internationally for over ten years with many of the luminaries of traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Dervish, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Phil Wiggins, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming and The Chieftains. Nic holds a degree in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick.
As a teacher of the flute and pipes, Layer has worked for Scotland’s Feis Na Gael in the Scottish Hebrides, The Augusta National Heritage Center, The Hamish Moore School of Piping, and countless workshops at music festivals the world over. Read more
Tom McDermott is one of New Orleans’ premiere piano players and composers. He grew up in St. Louis, where he earned a Masters’ Degree in Music, wrote music journalism for the morning paper, and soaked up the sounds of ragtime and traditional jazz that flourished there in the 1960s and 70s. In 1984, spurred by his love of James Booker, Professor Longhair and Dr. John, he moved to New Orleans, a trip enabled by a gig at the World’s Fair.
Tom has been quite busy the last 30 years. For much of the 1990s he was a Duke of Dixieland, which took him to Europe, Asia, South America and all over the States (including Carnegie Hall); he recorded several albums with the Dukes, including a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton with the fabled raconteur Danny Barker.
In 1995, after arranging a tune for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band album “Jelly,” he co-founded the modern brass band the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. During his stay with the band they recorded three albums, two for the Rounder Records label.
Tom has written for the theatre (the Obie-award-winning off-Broadway show, “Nita and Zita”), and appeared in bit roles in the movies (“He Said She Said”). In the New Orleans-based HBO series “Treme,” he played himself five times in three seasons and had 10 pieces of music used on the soundtrack. HIs music has also appeared in Showtimes’ “The Knick.”
He has recorded 13 albums as a leader, and there is more info on these recordings in the CDs section. These recordings include 75 original tunes. His music has been heard frequently on NPR, i.e. “All Things Considered”, “American Routes”, and “The Moth.” A group he co-led with clarinetist Evan Christopher, the Danza Quartet, appeared on NPR’s New Year’s Eve show “Toast of the Nation” on 2008-2009.
Tom is known for his eclecticism, and is just about the only New Orleans pianist to stretch from the mid-19th-century music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the funky New Orleans piano today. He has a great love of Brazilian music (16 trips there so far), the Beatles, European classical music, early Duke Ellington, and much more.
In addition to music, Tom is a voracious traveller: he’s visited all 50 states and six continents, and writes about them whenever he can.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Yann is a founding member of the Quebec trad trio Genticorum and toured for three years with the award winning celtic/world group The McDades. He has taught at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, at the Goderich Celtic College and for Alasdair Fraser’s Fiddle Train, as well as Fraser’s venerable Sierra Fiddle Camp in California. Familiar in standard tunings, alternative tunings and DADGAD styles, Yann brings much to the musical table in performance and teaching.
Falquet is a veteran acoustic guitar player on the burgeoning Québécois music scene and likes to explore many styles. Though primarily a trad player, he holds a bachelors degree in Jazz Performance. Since his time in conservatory, he has developed a personal guitar style for Québecois music, inspired by the music of Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, and North America. His involvement in the traditional music scene brought Yann to perform on numerous recordings, and to regularly tour throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia.
Martha Waldvogel-Warren holds a Bachelor of music in Harp Performance from Ball State University with Elizabeth Richter, and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Alice Chalifoux. Further studies have taken her to the east coast at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine and the Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, Massachusetts where she studied with Lucile Lawrence.
Extensive performance experience in orchestras and chamber music ensembles in the US and Europe, as well as solo appearances worldwide round out Mrs. Waldvogel-Warren’s resumé. She has produced four CD’s: a trio with Swiss flutist Paul Haemig and Actor Johannes Meier reciting poems by Herman Hesse, two duo CD’s with New York flutist/piper Christopher Layer featuring both classical and folk music, and one solo CD.
Having returned from living in Switzerland in 2007, she brings back a wealth of teaching experience. Her students from Musikschule Kloten/Zurich combined with students from her private studio have given her an opportunity to form and lead several harp ensembles.