Alasdair Fraser ľ Biography (Courtesy of Culburnie Records site, 2005).
Master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser is a consummate performer. His dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland's music have created a constant and international demand for his solo appearances and concerts with a variety of ensembles. Alasdair has been a major force behind the resurgence of traditional Scottish fiddling in his homeland and the U.S., inspiring legions of listeners and learners through his recordings, annual fiddle camps, and concerts. He has represented Scotland internationally through performances sponsored by the British Council, and has been awarded touring support by the California Arts Council, with the ranking of "highest priority for inclusion on the roster; considered 'model' in stature."
Alasdair's richly expressive playing transports listeners across a broad musical spectrum, ranging from haunting laments from the Gaelic tradition to classically-styled airs, raucous dance tunes, and improvisations based on traditional themes. His vast repertoire spans several centuries of Scottish music and includes his own compositions, which blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge musical explorations. He weaves through his performances a warm and witty narrative, drawing from a deep well of stories and lore surrounding Scotland's musical heritage.
Fraser has been featured on over 100 television and radio shows in the UK, and on several nationally-broadcast programs in the US, including CBS Sunday Morning, NPR Morning Edition, A Prairie Home Companion, and The Thistle & Shamrock. On The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS TV) Fraser played a special solo tribute to honoree Sean Connery, a fellow Scot, in a segment that included Catherine Zeta-Jones. Alasdair has made guest appearances with groups as diverse as Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Waterboys and The Chieftains, and as featured soloist along with Itzhak Perlman at New York's Lincoln Center. His film credits include solo performances on the soundtracks of several major films, including The Last of the Mohicans and Titanic.
Alasdair has released several critically acclaimed albums, including the Indie Award-winning Dawn Dance ( Best Celtic Album of 1996), and most recently, Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Volume One, on which Fraser and longtime collaborator pianist Paul Machlis pay tribute to Scotland's master fiddle composers of the past 250 years. Fraser has contributed to more than 50 albums as guest artist, and his music has been included on top selling Celtic and New Age compilation albums totaling nearly two million in combined sales.
Fraser performs in concert as a soloist; with pianist Paul Machlis; with Scottish guitarist Tony McManus; with cellist Natalie Haas, and with his band Skyedance, which features new music arranged for fiddle, pipes, flute, keyboards and percussion. In great demand as a dance musician, Alasdair plays for Scottish country dancing with pianist Muriel Johnstone. He also directs the 60-member San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers orchestra.
Through two summer programs that he founded nearly two decades ago - the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California and a week-long course on the Isle of Skye - Alasdair has inspired hundreds of aspiring and accomplished musicians. Several of his tunes are now standard in the repertoire for Scottish, Irish, and contra dancing, and can be heard in sessions from Edinburgh to Canberra. His compositions have been featured in new choreography commissioned by the Richmond (Virginia) Ballet and Shiftworks Dance Ensemble. His commissioned works include "Fettercairn Suite" for Whyte & Mackay Distillers.
Alasdair lives with his wife and two sons in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California, operating his own Culburnie Records label and making frequent trips to Scotland and beyond for numerous engagements.