We are thrilled to present our instructors for the 2023 Northeast Tionól!
- Kara Doyle
- Patrick Hutchinson
- Benedict Koehler
- Louise Mulcahy
- Caoimhín Ó Fearghail
- Kieran O’Hare
- Colleen Shanks
- Michael Hubbert (pipes clinic)
- Jim Wenham (reed workshop)
- Liz Carroll
- Liz Knowles
Kara Doyle was born in Wisconsin, and spent her youth in California. Moving to the Northeast brought her into regular contact with Irish music, and she began to play whistle in 1995. She contracted a severe case of uilleann piping fever in the late nineties, and obtained her first set just after the turn of the millennium.
Kara has been very strongly influenced in tone, repertoire, and pedagogy by the teaching of Benedict Koehler and Brian McNamara, and aspires to both the tightness of Tommy Reck and the lyrical musicality of Mick O’Brien. She lives and plays in Schenectady, New York.
Patrick Hutchinson is an internationally recognized performer and teacher of the Irish Uilleann pipes, with more than 40 years’ experience and an eclectic repertoire that encompasses both the traditional and the experimental.
He grew up in Liverpool where he had his first lessons on the tin whistle, but learned to play the pipes in Canada, a student of the well-loved Toronto piper and teacher Chris Langan. Patrick has appeared on WGBH’s A Celtic Sojourn, with the Cambridge Revels, and on recordings by Loreena McKennitt and Oliver Schroer, among others. He has provided the music for many theatrical productions including Brian Friel’s Translations, Frank McGuinness’s Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, and Carthaginians, and his piping can be heard in the Highlander movies. He holds a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from Brown University, which he did in order to write about his teacher, Chris.
Currently, he teaches pipes for the Comhaltas Boston Music School. He twice won the All-Ireland title in Uilleann Pipes Slow Airs, 22 years apart, most recently in 2014 in Sligo.
You can find Patrick teaching in the Video Tutor section of the Na Píobairí Uilleann website at pipers.ie. He is known for his own unique settings, and for bringing to light tunes long buried.
Born in Boston, Benedict grew up listening to recordings of Irish traditional music sent over by his mother’s family in Dublin. He took up the pipes in his twenties and has listened to and learned from a wide range of the older players, citing as particularly strong influences the stately musical tradition of East Galway and the complex and elegant piping style exemplified by the “gentlemen pipers” Seamus Ennis and Liam O’Flynn. These influences are evident in Benedict’s graceful, lyrical style of playing.
Well known as an insightful and generous teacher, Benedict will be teaching beginning and intermediate piping workshops. He and his wife, harper/button accordionist Hilari Farrington live in East Montpelier, Vermont where Benedict, in association with David Quinn, makes and restores uilleann pipes and continues to enhance his reputation as a superb reed maker.
Born in Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, Louise is a well-established performer and tutor on both flute and uilleann pipes. Louise has travelled extensively in both capacities, as both performer and teacher of the tradition, appearing at some of the biggest national and international music festivals throughout Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, America and Canada. Louise released her highly acclaimed début solo album titled ‘Tuning the Road’ in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. Alongside three album releases with father, Mick, and sister Michelle, Louise also appeared a number of years ago on Na Píobairí Uilleann’s compilation of young uilleann pipers entitled ‘A New Dawn’. Louise was voted Female Musician of the Year at the Live Ireland Awards in 2017 jointly with her sister Michelle. Louise also received the award in 2015 and 2005 and was awarded Tradconnect Album of the year for year in 2017 for the latest album release titled, ‘The Reel Note’, featuring Louise, her father Mick and sister Michelle. Louise has also won many All Ireland titles, including four Senior All Ireland titles on the same day at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2001.
Louise is a regular contributor to music programmes, nationally and internationally, both on television and on radio and has also presented the traditional Irish Music series ‘Geantraí’ for the Irish language television station TG4. Louise has featured on the award winning series Port for BBC Alba and TG4, where she collaborated with traditional Scottish musicians on the trip. Louise also featured on the Uilleann Pipes UNESCO Heritage Bid short film submitted by the Department of Arts and Culture in 2016. On this video Louise presented spoken material and performed on the uilleann pipes. Louise is currently researching the history of women in uilleann piping and has lectured on this subject at many music festivals throughout 2018 and 2019. Louise graduated with her masters degree from Trinity College Dublin in 2016 and was awarded the 2016 Doctoral Fellowship in Irish Music Studies at NUI Galway.
Caoimhín Ó Fearghail
Caoimhín Ó Fearghail was born in 1989 and comes from An Rinn in the Waterford Gaeltacht. He started to learn the tin-whistle at the age of eight, taking lessons from Bobby Gardiner. He quickly progressed to the uilleann pipes, under the tutelage of David Power. Some of his strongest piping influences include the old greats such as Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, Tommy Reck and Patsy Touhey. He cannot deny the big influence that Liam O’Flynn, Mick O’Brien and Waterford pipers Tommy Kearney, Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, Tommy Keane and Donnchadh Gough have had on him, and is very much influenced by the many other great musicians and singers of his home area in Co. Waterford.
In 2006, as part of his school transition year project, he released an album entitled ‘Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar’, with a group of friends, local musicians and singers. It featured guest appearances from well-known local artists including Liam Clancy, Áine Uí Cheallaigh, Donnchadh Gough and Ciarán Ó Gealbháin.
Since then, he has featured on a number of albums, as accompanist quite often, including on Caitlín Nic Gabhann’s album ‘Caitlín’, and Edel Fox and Neill Byrne’s ‘The Sunny Banks’. In 2013, he also recorded an album ‘Lá ag Ól Uisce’ with his brother Seán and Tomás Ó Gealbháin, and is featured playing pipes solo on ‘The Rolling Wave’, a compilation album issued by NPU.
Caoimhín was the 2012 recipient of the TG4 Young Musician of the Year award (Gradam Ceoil TG4).
In September 2013, he featured on a Music Network tour with Noel Hill and Liam O’Connor called ‘Bellows, Bridge & Bow’. In 2014, he joined the group Caladh Nua as guitar player with additional flute and has toured extensively with them, and has performed on various instruments with other well-known groups as well, such as Danú, Piper’s Union, and Skipper’s Alley. He recently recorded an album of flute and fiddle music with fiddler Paddy Tutty from nearby Dungarvan.
A frequent teacher and performer, he has taught pipes and performed at many piping Tionóil agus other piping events in Ireland such as Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh, and also at the Northeast Tionól in the US. He has also toured abroad playing with groups such as Caladh Nua and Danú all over the US, the UK, Europe, Newfoundland and New Zealand.
Caoimhín is a graduate of UCC with an MA in Irish and has a keen interest in the songs of the Déise and their airs. He plays a concert pitch set of pipes made by Alain Froment for him.
Kieran O’Hare took up the uilleann pipes in his early teens, with guidance from piper and pipemaker Kirk Lynch. His first years of playing were spent largely in the company of the recordings of Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, Paddy Moloney, and Liam O’Flynn, all of whose piping remain continuing influences.
While a student at Trinity College, Dublin, in the early 1990s, Kieran received great support and encouragement at Na Píobairi Uilleann, notably from Seán Potts, Seán Donnelly, Joe Doyle, Terry Moylan, Andy Conroy, and Nollaig Mac Cárthaigh. It was during these years that he was privileged to receive perhaps his single most influential guidance, in the form of countless hours spent playing with and learning from Gay McKeon. Kieran began teaching the pipes at NPU at this time, and he continues to be an active teacher, promoter, and advocate of Irish traditional music and specifically of the uilleann pipes. He was the first American-born player of Irish music to be invited to perform in the ‘Ace and Deuce of Piping’ concert in Ireland’s National Concert Hall.
As a professional musician, he has performed around the world through his work in music performance and the theatre—on Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, to L’Olympia and the Folies Bergères in Paris, and venues from Strasbourg to Shanghai to São Paulo. Kieran served for several years on the Board of Directors of Na Píobairí Uilleann (www.pipers.ie), and he currently performs with the trio Open the Door for Three, with Liz Knowles and Pat Broaders.
Colleen Shanks is an uilleann piper and flute player currently based in Co. Clare, Ireland. Originally from Michigan, she has played with The Nashville Celts, Bill Grogran’s Goat, and Big Fun and is a regular performer at the annual Crossroads Ceilí show at The Ark, Ann Arbor.
It was after receiving a cassette of The Chieftains as a gift for her 10th birthday that Colleen first found herself captivated by the sound of traditional Irish music. With an avid desire to learn and play what she heard, she acquired a tin whistle and began teaching herself the tunes from the cassette. She soon found herself immersed in Detroit’s vibrant Irish music community.
Through the local Detroit Comhaltas branch, she met several other musicians from the area, including Clare-born fiddler Mick Gavin from whom she learned much of her repertoire over the following years. It was also here that Colleen got her start on the uilleann pipes, tutored by Dublin piper Al Purcell. Over the next few years, she took part in Fleadh Cheoil competitions, where she earned several first place awards on tin whistle, flute, and in the slow air competitions at the regional level.
Colleen attended the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy, where she earned a Master’s degree in Irish Traditional Music Performance. Her area of study was uilleann piping and during the course she learned from some of the top exponents of the uilleann pipes, including Michael “Blackie” O’Connell and Mickey Dunne.
Originally from Cambridge England, Jim Wenham has been resident in County Offaly in Ireland since 2002, where he continues to pursue his love of traditional folk music and in particular the uilleann pipes, having first heard them many years ago at the Cambridge Folk Festival. His journey as a pipes maker began by spending time with Limerick piper and maker Mickey Dunne and Kerry based maker Cillian O’Briain, and since then Jim’s own reputation as a maker continues to flourish. He has been resident reed maker alongside Dave Hegarty at the Willie Clancy Summer School since 2008, and continues also to host a successful three day reedmaking class at the annual Saint Louis Tionol. Jim’s relaxed and uncomplicated manner as a reedmaking tutor makes him a popular presence at tionóil both in Ireland and America.
Michael Hubbert has been building and repairing musical instruments for nearly 50 years. He has built various stringed instruments, from French Baroque hurdy-gurdies to octave mandolins. In the early ’80s he built his first set of uilleann pipes, which marked the beginning of a shift from stringed instrument making to woodwind making. As a woodwind maker he has produced baroque and classical flutes, bassoons, clarinets, Italian zampognas, Irish pipes and more. Along with making instruments and tools for instrument making, Michael has done extensive repair/restoration work on both stringed and woodwind instruments. He has repaired and restored instruments by revered makers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. He has done restorations for prominent players, collectors, and museums. Since the late ’90s, uilleann pipes have been the main focus of his work. He continues to build and restore Irish pipes in his workshop in the small Northern Californian town of Boonville, in Mendocino County.
Michael is also a multi instrumentalist in too many genres. However, Irish music has been the bedrock since the early ‘70s when he met Galway accordion player, Kevin Keegan, who sparked a lot of interest in Irish music in the SF Bay Area.
Liz Carroll is an Irish fiddler, composer, and recording artist. She is the first Irish-American musician to be nominated for a Grammy, and the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize. She has toured as a solo artist and with The Green Fields of America, the group Trian, as the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle, String Sisters, and now as a duo with guitarist and pianist Jake Charron. Featured on fourteen albums and appearing on many more, her duet album with Jake Charron, Half Day Road, was released in February of 2019.
Liz was born in Chicago, Illinois, of Irish parents, and is proud that she was presented with a 2019 Artist Fellowship Award by the State of Illinois in Ethnic and Folk Arts.
Liz’s fascination with music lies in the many ways one can arrive, land, and leave a note. For her, the most interesting stuff in music happens in the liminal space between the notes, suggesting an interesting parallel to life as well. It is not the “landings” but the in-betweens, the seemingly incongruous details of her life, that intertwine and overlap to make her the player and person she is today.
She has brought her distinctive sound—the fire and finesse of Irish fiddle music combined with the tonal richness of the classical violin—to concert stages and festivals across the world. Her auspicious beginnings as the fiddler for Riverdance and as soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins established her as a virtuosic and versatile performer, and she has since performed as soloist with such orchestras as the New York Pops and the National Symphony Orchestra, played on Broadway with The Pirate Queen and The Green Bird, and traveled the world for over four years as music director, composer and performer with Celtic Legends and Celtic Dances.
Today, she is well respected on both sides of the Atlantic as a performer and as a well-known and sought-after teacher of Irish music. Her compositions and arrangements of tunes and songs have been recorded and performed by John Whelan, Flook, Chicago’s Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Liz Carroll, Beolach, Bachue, J.P. Cormier, Michael Black, John Doyle, and Ensemble Galilei. It has been a natural progression to assume a producer role for cd, concert and theatrical productions over the years.