The accomplished Irish fiddler playing two shows in her return to Vienna
Hailed as one of the great innovators and pioneers in the Celtic and world music genres, Eileen Ivers is celebrated as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today.
Over her career, Ivers has won a Grammy, been nominated for an Emmy, was an original star of Riverdance, has taken home the All-Ireland Fiddle Championship nine times, and has played with more than 50 orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. She’s also played for presidents and royalty around the world.
Her recording credits include more than 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores.
Ivers will perform two holiday-themed shows at The Barns at Wolf Trap Nov. 27 at 3 and 8 p.m.
“We love the Barns, thankfully we’ve played there numerous times through the years,” Ivers said. “Our show is called ‘A Joyful Christmas’ and I will be with my five-piece band, and it is centered around, of course, the joy of Christmas.”
The performance will include some traditional Irish songs, as well as some Americana roots music that Celtic music has been a part of.
“It’s very much in the Christmas theme and the wonderful joy that is inherent for the season,” Ivers said. “Folks will hear Irish 17th Century Irish pieces alongside more of an afro-Celtic rhythm tunes, some poems and instrumentals—it’s a very full show.”
Raised in the Bronx by Irish immigrants, Ivers was surrounded by Irish traditional music and spent her summers in her homeland.
“My parents really instilled in my sister and I a love of Irish heritage, and we got back there every summer, which made me feel as if I had one foot planted in the states and one foot planted in Ireland,” she said. “I would hear the music play in my house all the time, and I loved the spirit of it. Irish music is very emotive and expresses so many emotions on the instruments. It was something I just loved early on.”
After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Iona College, she immersed herself in the different genres of music which she experienced growing up in New York. Ivers put together her own band, called unIVERSal roots, and has been traveling around the world headlining prestigious performing arts centers and guest starring with symphonies ever since.
Her latest album, “Scatter the Light,” came out the second week of March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting, so it was re-released earlier this year and has done very well on the charts.
Ivers also recently wrote a children’s book about a blue violin with an anti-bullying theme, which won a Family Choice Award. It was a way for her to spend her time during the pandemic.
“But I kept the flame lit and kept the music going as best I could,” she said about her time during the pandemic. “We have some wonderful tours coming up and I am so happy to be back out performing live.”
Christmastime is special to Ivers, and she looks forward to sharing this festive time with the Wolf Trap audience.
“The end of the year with Christmas is always a wonderful way to just center ourselves a little bit and focus on the good, which we all really welcome,” she said. “This show is a very positive show and it’s one full of positive messages. It’s a wonderful way to spend time. We hope everyone takes this positive energy into the new year.”
Hearing the chatter from families and audiences at last year’s holiday concerts, Ivers was pleased to hear the joy and giddiness from audiences of all ages.
“It was wonderful to be a part of something that moved people in that way, and just focus on the simple message of the season,” she said. “It means the world to us to be with a large group of people and share this experience. This is an annual tradition for us going on 16 years, and it’s a wonderful force of nature and a privilege for us to be out there.”