An unlikely, dynamic duo Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas showcase their unique musical alchemy in Brattleboro
BRATTLEBORO -- In the final concert of their tour through the Northeast, Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and cellist Natalie Haas will perform at the First Baptist Church, 190 Main St., on Sunday at 7 p.m.
The musical partnership between Fraser, long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, and the talented young California cellist Haas may not seem to be an obvious one. Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning 30 years with a long list of awards, accolades, television credits and feature performances on top movie soundtracks ("Last of the Mohicans," "Titanic"). He has been sponsored by the British Council to represent Scotland’s music internationally and received the Scottish Heritage Center Service Award for outstanding contributions to Scottish culture and traditions.
Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, wasn’t even born when Fraser was winning national fiddle competitions across the Atlantic. She was just 11 when she first attended Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California. She responded to his challenge for cellists to discover and release the cello’s rhythmic soul. Four years later they played their first concert together. Now regularly touring and creating a buzz at festivals and in concert halls throughout Europe and North America, Haas is in the vanguard of young musicians who are redefining the role of the cello in traditional music.
At the same time, their musical partnership is the fulfillment of a long-standing dream for Fraser, whose cutting-edge musical explorations brought him full circle to return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish music.
Theirs is an inspiring sound with dazzling teamwork, driving, dancing rhythms and a shared passion for improvising on the melody and groove of Scottish tunes. Their four CDs together, "Fire & Grace," "In the Moment," "Highlander’s Farewell" and the latest, "Abundance," explore music that spans the more courtly traditions of Scottish music to the boisterousness of the pub. There are haunting, lush melancholic Gaelic laments and airs as well as raucous dance tunes and improvisations based on traditional and recently composed tunes.
The duo performs frequently in Europe and throughout the U.S. and Canada. They have been featured on NPR’s Performance Today, the Thistle & Shamrock and Mountain Stage, and represented Scotland at the Smithsonian Museum’s Folklife Festival. Both are committed to inspiring new generations of musicians and have busy teaching schedules. Haas also teaches at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Tickets are $18 in advance/seniors and $21 at the door. They are available at BrattleboroTix.com or in person at Everyone’s Bookstore, 25 Elliot St., Brattleboro; The Toadstool, Colony Mill in Keene N.H.; World Eye Bookshop, 156 Main St., in Greenfield Mass.
Call 802-257-1571 for more information.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.