Official website of Boston-based fiddler and music educator Ellery Klein
"...the folk song is the source of all true melodies; the wellspring at which one must repeatedly renew and refresh oneself..." - Max Bruch
I was struck upon reading that quote from Max Bruch recently, because it was his iconic and passionate violin concerto I was working on when I fell in love with Irish fiddling in 1992. After growing up learning and playing classical violin, I dived into the well of traditional music at the end of my arts magnet school career - and stayed there. I spent over fifteen years as a professional performer in various Irish groups. In 2013, I returned from three years in Israel with my husband and two young children, and decided to concentrate full-time on teaching. These days, I still love and play Irish music, but am enjoying using my teaching career to explore and expand my knowledge of various other genres of music, from Swedish to Texan to Quebecois. I'm revisiting my classical roots with the eye of someone who has spent a lot of time "in the well." I'm trying to compose more, and learning more about playing and teaching harmonically, creatively and improvisationally after years of melody playing.
Or, as Yo-Yo Ma defined it: "playing music."
My performing career these days allows me to spend more time with my family, my kitchen and my bee-and-bird sustaining native plant garden. Currently, I enjoy collaborating with my longtime friend, Portland, Maine flute player Nicole Rabata and the fantastic guitarist Bethany Waickman in our Irish trio Fódhla. During COVID, a few conversations with fellow fiddlers Katie Grennan and Jessie Burns led to the formation of the fiddle trio powerhouse band "The Bow Tides" . In "normal times," I can also be persuaded to lead occasional Irish music sessions around the city of Boston. Before COVID, I was rehearsing an intricately arranged trio of traditional and new compositions with fiddler Julie Metcalfe and cello player Liz Davis.
I spent four years touring and fiddling around the continental U.S. with the acclaimed Irish band Gaelic Storm. In 2008, I co-founded the Boston-based all-female vocal and instrumental group Long Time Courting, and performed with them until my husband’s radio reporting career took our family to Jerusalem, Israel from 2010-2013.
In 2015, I was invited to Duluth, MN to perform Nickitas Demos' Long Journey Home, Double Concerto for Celtic Fiddler and Bluegrass Fiddler with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Warren Friesen.
My earlier career consisted of stints with Vermont’s bagpipe rock band Whisky Before Breakfast, jighead, singer Cathie Ryan, Scottish pianist James Ross and banjo player Olive Brennan.
I also compose and record fun and modern music for competitive Irish dancers in partnership with my very talented former bandmate, Gaelic Storm’s drummer and co-producer Ryan Lacey, under the label rum & raisin records.
I am a proud alumna of Cincinnati, Ohio’s magnet high school School for Creative and Performing Arts. In 2001 I graduated from the second-ever class of the M.A. in Traditional Irish Music, University of Limerick’s Irish World Music Centre, which has produced many world-class artists in the world of Irish and Celtic music. In between, I earned a B.S. in Geology from the University of Vermont, and managed to spend my junior year abroad in Cork, Ireland as a geology and traditional music student at UCC.
Photo by Joni Lohr
Photo by Joni Lohr
The debut solo fiddle recorded in Ireland in 2001. Guest musicians include James Ross (piano), Olive Brennan (banjo), Rob Stein (guitar), Eoin O'Neill (bouzouki), Nicole Rabata (flute), Míchéal Ó Súilleabhain (piano), Katie Pritt (cello), Sandra Joyce (bódhran), Ian Carr (guitar) and Tommy Carew (guitar).
Also available on iTunes
Ellery's second and last recording with Gaelic Storm features the modern singalong classic, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!"
Ellery's first album with Gaelic Storm (and their 5th release) was recorded with producer Mark Millers at legendary Jack's Tracks studio in Nashville.
The original album of music for competitive Irish dancing....with a modern twist, co-produced with Gaelic Storm drummer and producer Ryan Lacey.
Also available on iTunes
More competitive Irish dance music from Ellery Klein and Ryan Lacey.
Also available on iTunes.
Yup, Ellery wrote that!
...You’ve always wanted to learn the fiddle, but just didn’t know where to start, right?
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing the Fiddle takes you from the very basics of purchasing, caring for, tuning and setting up a fiddle to playing tunes from the very simplest - to a few that are a bit challenging.
Beginners have raved about the book’s thorough coverage of basic topics that are often glossed over in other fiddle manuals.
Try out Irish, Scottish, Old Time and Bluegrass tunes -- and then find the resources to continue playing more of the styles you’ve fallen in love with.
See the Facebook page for Complete Idiot’s Guide, where you can join the gang and post a question.
Note: the accompanying CD is a DVD, and so the audio selections must be played on a computer or a DVD player; it will not play in a CD player.