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2017 Biographies — Celtic

Isaac Alderson

Isaac Alderson

Irish Flute

Isaac Alderson grew up in Chicago, surrounded by all kinds of music. At the age of 12, he discovered Irish traditional music and began obsessively practicing the uilleann pipes, learning from such players as Al Purcell, Patrick Cannady, Kieran O'Hare, and many others. At 14, he began to study the flute and whistle with Laurence Nugent from Co. Fermanagh. Many trips to Ireland over subsequent years helped to fan the flames of his enthusiasm for the music and gave him the opportunity to study and play with many outstanding musicians. At 18, Isaac moved to New York in order to attend college and dive into the city's phenomenal Irish music scene. In 2002, Isaac won the All-Ireland Senior Championships on all three of his main instruments. After finishing college, he toured for two years with Eileen Ivers as part of her band, Immigrant Soul, and afterwards with such diverse groups as Jameson's Revenge, Runa, Millish, and many others, and also played extensively around New York with fiddler Gráinne Murphy and guitarist Alan Murray. He currently performs with his band The Yanks, and also the international quartet Comas, the touring show Celtic Crossroads, Irish bar band The Bronx Boys, and the chamber folk group Ensemble Galilei. He has toured in the US, Canada, Ireland, Colombia, much of western Europe, and recently did a three-month tour of China as the piper in the famed show, Riverdance. Other major industry gigs have included pit orchestra work on Sting's musical, The Last Ship, and sub work in the show Celtic Woman. As a teacher, Isaac has led workshops in flute, whistle, and uilleann pipes at the Great Northern Irish Pipers' Club tionól, the St. Louis Tionól, the Re-Jigged Festival in Nova Scotia, the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Texas, MAD Week in the D.C. area, the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Canada, Common Ground in Maryland, the Corofin Trad Fest in Co. Clare, and also had led small workshops for students in Rio Negro and Villa de Leyva, Colombia. He also teaches private lessons online and in person, mainly to advanced students. He is known for his patience and compassion in teaching students of all levels.


Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Scottish Snare Drum

Steve has played snare drum with the award-winning Fairbanks Red Hackle Pipe Band for 10 years, and is now the band's Drum Section Leader. He helped guide the drum section to multiple first-place finishes in band competitions, and has won gold medals in solo competitions. Steve teaches on a regular basis.


Jason Oremus

Jason Oremus

Irish Dance

Former lead of Riverdance and co-creator of the groundbreaking dance group Hammerstep, Jason is originally from Sydney, Australia, where he won won 5 consecutive State and National Solo Irish dancing titles from 1999-2003. He also performed in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics (alongside Tap Dogs) in 2000 at just 15 years of age. In early 2004, Jason joined the world famous Riverdance and toured as principle lead dancer for seven years, performing in over 40 countries and for notable leaders including The Empress of Japan and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. As Creative Director of Hammerstep, Jason has produced international performances at venues including New York City's Lincoln Center and The Palace Theatre on London's West End. Jason won the Jury’s Award for Outstanding Choreography at the First Irish Theatre Festival 2013 and his work received critical acclaim of various publications while showing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. Jason also co-wrote and choreographed the short film Indigo Grey: The Passage, that was featured in over 30 international film festivals and won 8 festival awards.


Zachary Read

Zachary Read

Highland Bagpipes

Zak Read began playing pipes in 2000 beginning with Cabar Feidh Pipes and Drums and then Windsor Police Pipe Band (Grade III). He received instruction from John Cairns and in the fall of 2006 joined the 78th Fraser Highlanders and played with them until 2011. As of the 2016 competition season Zak has been a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. Solo piping highlights include the 2008 PPBSO Champion Supreme designation (Grade I) as well as competing at the George Sheriff Memorial Competition in 2011. He has also received prizes at the Professional competition level at several British Columbia Pipers Association competitions. In addition to piping, Zak is a professional opera singer who graduated with a Masters of Music in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto in 2014.


Kyle Sanna

Kyle Sanna

Guitar

Kyle Sanna is a multi-dimensional guitarist and composer. A master of genres that include everything from rock to jazz to the traditional music of Ireland, he has performed with some of today's greatest virtuosos, including Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma, and Chris Thile. Kyle's arrangements have been performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and by Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Oregon and has studied composition at the Université Lumière in Lyon, France. Kyle currently lives in New York City.


Caitlin Warbelow

Caitlin Warbelow

Irish Fiddle

Originally from Fairbanks and currently residing in Brooklyn, Caitlin performs, records, and teaches in NYC and around the country in a variety of genres including Irish traditional and rock, country and bluegrass, Texas swing and contest fiddling, and on occasion returns to her roots as a classical violinist. Caitlin is currently the violinist/fiddler for Riverdance's new touring production, "Heartbeat of Home", and recently performed on Broadway with Sting's musical "The Last Ship". An in-demand teacher with a unique self-developed curriculum blending classical technique and theory with folk music's oral tradition and styles, Caitlin is on the faculty at Manhattan's Irish Arts Center and maintains a large private teaching studio in Manhattan. A former All-Ireland and New England Fiddle Champion, Caitlin has toured nationally with Cherish the Ladies, Trinity Dance Company, Mick Moloney and the Green Fields of America, and Celtic Fire.


James Yoshizawa

James Yoshizawa

Percussion

James Yoshizawa is a versatile drummer/percussionist living in Los Angeles, CA with a BM in Percussion Performance from California State University, Long Beach. While a student, he received the PAS Armand Zildjian Percussion Scholarship, the Fine Arts Affiliates Scholarship, and the Komaroff Scholarship. Since graduating, he has been an active performer and educator in Los Angeles and around the country. Some recent, noteworthy engagements include a 3-month run as the percussionist and bodhran soloist in the touring production of the Broadway musical, "Come From Away," a guest performance with the band NYCO accompanied by the Alabama Symphony in Birmingham, AL, and the recording of all the percussion tracks for an upcoming show at Tokyo Disney. He has also been a guest artist at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival since 2013. As an educator, he maintains a private lesson studio and has taught at many nationally acclaimed high school percussion programs around Southern California.


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