MAEVE GILCHRIST, harpist, singer, composer and producer
Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic (lever) harp to new levels of performance and visibility. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home as a soloist with an internationally renowned orchestra as she is playing with a traditional Irish folk group or using electronic augmentation in a more contemporary, improvisatory setting.
She tours internationally as a band leader as well as maintaining a number of collaborations including the progressive folk quartet, DuoDuo (featuring percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, cellist Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet of Quebecois super-group Genticorum), a more electronics-based project with Viktor Krauss and as a member of the Irish Music Network-commissioned Edges of Light quartet, a multidisciplinary group featuring the piper David Power, dancer Colin Dunne and the ﬁddler Tola Custy. Maeve is also a member of the prestigious Silkroad Ensemble. She has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the historic opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka, Ambrose Akinmusire, Darol Anger and Kathy Mattea.
Maeve has released six albums to date. Her latest, Harpweaver, is a response to the poem, The Ballad of the Harp Weaver by American poet Edna St Vincent Milla. On Vignette, for Adventure Records with bassist Viktor Krausse, she moves seamlessly from her roots in the Celtic Isles into an exploratory, modern approach, while on her own label, the solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration of the possibilities of her instrument. In 2018 Maeve was a featured soloist on the Dreamworks blockbuster movie soundtrack, How to tame your dragon: The hidden world.
Maeve was the ﬁrst lever harpist to be employed as an instructor by her alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she taught for ﬁve years before switching to being a visiting artist in 2018. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music, and through 80 Days Publishing has released a book of exercises and etudes, two collections of arrangements and original compositions and a selection of music from the Harpweaver album. She is also an in-demand composer and arranger, with past commissions including a ground-breaking concerto for lever harp and symphony orchestra co-written with North Carolina-based composer Luke Benton and a new work for harp and string quartet premiered at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in 2018. Maeve is the co-artistic director of the Celtic Roots and Branches Festival in Rockport MA and the assistant music director of WGBH’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn.