2005 Awardee: Aidan O’Rourke

What Aidan combines is the best of what I regard as 'Scottishness', outstanding ability and outstanding commitment, all delivered with great humour

Biography

Aidan O’Rourke was brought up in the West Coast town of Oban and moved with his family to the beautiful Seil Island, near Oban, as a teenager. He lived there until going to university in Glasgow at 18.

In 2005 he took up a two-year musician-in-residence at the Tolbooth in Stirling, which the Artistic Director says “is as much about nurturing Aidan’s talents as a composer and musician as it is about the Tolbooth utilizing the talents of the musician”.

In 2004 Aidan was commissioned by Fife Community Services to compose and perform a piece of music to celebrate the visit of his holiness the Dalai Lama to Fife. As part of the project he worked with troubled young people with a broad range of musical talents.

According to all who worked with him, Aidan’s work on the project was ‘inspirational’, both in relation to the composition and to the performance he drew out of the youngsters.

How the Award Helped

Aidan received a Daughter of Dewar Award to buy a new fiddle.

Since the Award

Aidan is a busy recording and performing fiddler at the top of his game, including playing and recording with Blazin’ Fiddles and his new trio Lau. His fiddle was coming to the end of its life, and Aidan badly needed a new one to match his abilities and to enable him to challenge himself musically.

What Aidan combines is the best of what I regard as 'Scottishness', outstanding ability and outstanding commitment, all delivered with great humour

2005 Awardee: Aaron McGregor

I am enjoying the violin very much and am very grateful for the help I have been given

Biography

Aaron writes that “since both my parents are musicians, music has always been a central part of my life.”

Multi-talented Aaron has been playing the violin since the age of 7 and now also plays guitar and piano, sings and writes music.

Brought up in Canada and now based in Orkney, Aaron has immersed himself in the local traditional music scene. He plays with many of the Scottish orchestras and has been involved in several productions at the St Magnus Festival.

Aaron is now studying music at Edinburgh University.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award enabled Aaron to buy a performance-standard violin.  A second Award funded the purchase of a new bow.

I am enjoying the violin very much and am very grateful for the help I have been given

2004 Awardee: Katie Mackenzie

I have been immersed in traditional music and song from a young age and have always known it is what I want to pursue a career in

Biography

From an early age Katie wanted to be a traditional musician.

She has supported well-known Scottish band Capercaillie and performed at the Festival de Cornouaille in Brittany, Falun Folk Festival in Sweden and the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival. In 2005 she performed at Celtfest in Cork as part of the European City of Culture Celebrations.

Katie is studying Scottish music at the RSAMD, Glasgow.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award enabled Katie to buy her a professional-standard clàrsach.

I have been immersed in traditional music and song from a young age and have always known it is what I want to pursue a career in

2003 Awardee: Maeve Gilchrist

I promise to make the most of all the opportunities that have been given to me and to push my own limits musically, particularly on the harp

Biography

Even by the time Maeve was nominated for an Award she was an accomplished singer, clàrsach player and teacher.

She performed a specially-commissioned piece by Martyn Bennett on electro-clàrsach at the opening of the Scottish Parliament and has been invited to perform at several high-profile events since.

A graduate of the Broughton School of Music in Edinburgh, Maeve explains why she chose Berklee, “It was founded in the early 20th Century … as a place to study the roots of jazz and blues as well as moving with the times and embracing the modern rock and pop cultures..  I feel I would develop more as a musician if I developed my knowledge of jazz and blues.”

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award supported Maeve for four years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Since the Award

Maeve teamed up with two Argentinian musicians, also Berklee graduates, to form the Maeve Gilchrist Trio, who create a wonderful fusion of Scottish traditional, Latin American and jazz rhythms.  Her debut album “Reaching Me” was released in 2006.  Maeve divides her time between the States and the UK.  For more information about Maeve’s current work, see her website www.maevegilchristmusic.com.

I promise to make the most of all the opportunities that have been given to me and to push my own limits musically, particularly on the harp