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Biography

Liz Knowles is a American violinist best known as a Celtic fiddler. As well as her solo work, she has a longstanding stint with Ensemble Galilei, is a member of String Sisters, her tunes and arrangements can be heard on releases by John Whelan, Liz Carroll, Beòlach, and Flook, and she has recorded and/or performed with various other artists such as piper Kieran O'Hare, guitarist/singer John Doyle, singer David Kincaid, classical violinist Rachel Barton, musician Don Henley, and singer/instrumentalist Tim O'Brien.

Her career as a fiddle player began with her foundation in classical violin, a degree in music at SUNY Stony Brook, and years of work in classical performance in New York City. She soon began playing in rock bands, salsa bands, and a variety of new music projects, performing and recording with such artists as jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, pop singer Paula Cole and classical minimalist composer Steve Reich. It was during this fertile period of exploration that she discovered Irish traditional music. She developed a strong passion for this music and quickly became one of the only classical violinists to become adept at playing an authentic Irish fiddling style.

Her longstanding stint with Ensemble Galilei reflected her search for the marriage of her favorite genres in music as well as the opportunity for Knowles to further explore her composing and arranging skills. Her tunes and arrangements can be heard on two TelArc recordings with Ensemble Galilei (From the Isles to the Courts and Come, Gentle Night) and on A Winter’s Night (Maggie's Music). Other original tunes and arrangements can be heard on releases by John Whelan, Liz Carroll, Cape Breton band Beòlach, and Flook. She has arranged several of her tunes for string orchestra and recently performed them at Symphony Center in Chicago for the annual St. Patrick’s Day “Siamsa na nGael” concert.

Her career as a fiddler includes a solo spot on the soundtrack of Neil Jordan’s film Michael Collins, a two year run as the soloist with the Irish dance extravaganza Riverdance, performances and a recording as a guest soloist with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (Celtic Spectacular, Tel Arc Records), and a year-long stint with Cherish the Ladies. She performed as a member of the highly acclaimed String Sisters – a star-studded group of fiddlers including Catriona MacDonald, Liz Carroll, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Annbjorg Lien and Emma Hardelin- at the Celtic Connections Festival two years in a row and on a 2005 tour of Norway, culminating in a CD and DVD release.

Knowles released a solo album on Lyrichord Discs, "The Celtic Fiddle of Liz Knowles” and has recorded and/or performed with various other artists such as piper Kieran O'Hare, fiddler Liz Carroll, guitarist/singer John Doyle, singer David Kincaid, classical violinist Rachel Barton, musician Don Henley, and singer/instrumentalist Tim O’Brien. Aside from performing and recording, her skills as a teacher in many capacities are well known and she is in the process of completing a book bridging the gap between classical music methodologies and the learning of traditional Irish music.

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