Eliot Grasso Biography (Courtesy of the Artist’s site, 2007)
Baltimore native and Limerick resident, Eliot Grasso, hails from a long line of familial musicians. He began playing Irish traditional music on the flute at age seven, tin whistle at age eight, and uilleann pipes at age eleven, his earliest exposure including the music of The Chieftains and The Bothy Band. In January of 1995, Eliot began studying rudimentary piping technique with Paul Levin and later that year, began studying advanced piping technique with Na Píobairí Uilleann instructor, Kieran O'Hare. Since 1996, Eliot has won regional and international first, second, and third place titles at the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil and Ireland's International Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in the uilleann pipes and tin whistle division.
Eliot has made appearances at the Kennedy Center with Liz Carroll, Constitution Hall with Ethnomusicologist Dr. Mick Moloney, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with The Chieftains, the Library of Congress with Cherish the Ladies, the National Building Museum, the National Geographic Concert Hall and the home of the Irish Ambassador. In addition, Eliot has performed for the National Heritage Awards, Island, the Washington Cathedral Art Symposium, The American Ireland Fund, the US-Ireland Business Summit, and has entertained President and Mrs. Clinton at the National Endowment for the Arts Awards. At the conclusion of the 1998 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Eliot performed alongside other All-Ireland champions in a concert for Irish President, Mary Robinson.
In May 2004, Eliot was invited to perform on National Public Radio through "A Prairie Home Companion" with host Garrison Keillor where he was honored with the Ray Marklund Award for amiable stage presence. Additional live radio broadcasts include RTE’s “The Rolling Wave,” presented by Peter Browne, "The Edge On Folk," hosted by Steve Edge and broadcast from the University of British Columbia, "The Long Acre," hosted by Cindy Reich and broadcast from Ft. Collins, Colorado, and "Our Saturday Tradition," broadcast from Bellevue, Washington.
Since 1999, he has performed as a soloist in Patrick Cassidy’s orchestral work, Famine Remembrance, with members of the Washington Chamber Symphony under the direction of Elaine Rendler and Stephen Simon’s Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel with the Harrisburg Symphony under the baton of the composer.
Eliot has been the recipient of the Rosenberg Scholarship for the Arts four times for piano performance and has been twice honored with the Frankie Kennedy Memorial Scholarship to fund music studies in Ireland. In January 2007, he was selected by the Royal Musical Association to present his thesis on 19th-Century Bach Transcriptions before the RMA Student Research Conference in Bristol, England.
In May 2005, Eliot completed his BA in music at Goucher College. He is currently completing a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, where he also teaches students of uilleann piping. Since arriving in Ireland, Eliot has been honored with a commission from Na Píobairí Uilleann to record and produce an album of solo piping for the club’s catalogue to be completed this year.
Currently, Eliot is a contributing writer for An Píobaire, issued by Na Píobairí Uilleann and Iris na bPíobairí, the International Journal for Uilleann Pipers issued by Cumann na bPíobairí.