- Artist-Lecturer in celtic fiddle
Alison Gillespie, fiddler for the Celtic band Blackwater, has been an artist-lecturer in the Moravian College music department for the past nine years teaching Celtic Fiddle. She also teaches privately at Fiddler's Creek Music Studio in Coopersburg, PA.
Originally a classically trained violinist Alison's involvement with Appalachian and bluegrass fiddle music led to a deeper appreciation for the Irish and Scottish music from which these forms originated. For the past 20 years she has been studying, teaching and performing Irish and Scottish music at venues such as the Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival in Bethlehem, PA; The Philadelphia Ceili Society's Irish Festival; Irish Arts Week in the Catskills, New York; the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann National Convention in New York City; Scottish Week at the Augusta Heritage Workshop at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia; and the All-Ireland Music Championships and Scoil Eigse in Ireland.
Alison performs regularly with the LehighValley-based Celtic band Blackwater, as well as with her husband, guitarist/vocalist Tom Gillespie, and the couple's three daughters as Gilly's Hedge. She has also performed as a studio musician on numerous recordings with other Celtic artists and for the Shawnee Press label. Recently, Alison toured Mexico with the O'Grady-Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance as the fiddler in the "RiverDance" inspired show.
Alison created and still runs the annual Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition, now in its ninth year. Fiddlers of all ages now come to compete in Irish and Scottish fiddling styles in this national-level fiddle competition.