Featured Artist Biographies

Jacqueline Schwab, piano

Pierre ChartrandA folk and classical improvisational pianist who plays "gorgeously spare piano" (The Boston Globe) yet "sounds as if she has an orchestra at her fingertips" (Sing Out), Jacqueline Schwab has chosen by the renowned documentary filmaker, Ken Burns, to provide original music for his soundtracks due to the emotional expression in her playing. Schwab has performed on the soundtracks for the Grammy award-winning Civil War, the Emmy award-winning Baseball and Mark Twain, among others. She has performed at the White House for President Clinton in 1997 to celebrate Burns' Lewis and Clark series and also at the Smithsonian in 2000 celebrate its exhibition on the Presidency. In May, 2009, she accompanied Scottish singer Jean Redpath, on the Late Show with David Letterman. Jacqueline's signature style defies easy categorization, fitting somewhere in the crossover between folk, traditional, classical and new age music. Although many people connect improvisation with jazz, Jacqueline's inspirations are traditional music of England, Scotland, Ireland, and America, blues, vintage tangos, Bach's dance suites, nineteenth-century parlor piano, and the turn-of-the-twentieth-century sounds of Satie, Debussy, Bartok and more. Learn more at: jacquelineschwab.com

Bruce Molsky, fiddle, banjo & vocals

Eric FavreauBruce Molsky stands today as the premier old-time fiddler in the world, the defining virtuoso of Appalachia's timeless folk music traditions. That must feel odd for a former engineer from the Bronx, who didn't begin a music career until he was forty. But folded into those strange facts is the secret to his unique genius. In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four, and Mozaik, with Hungarian Nikola Parov, and Celtic giant Donal Lunny. He was on Nickel Creek's farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden's great Ale Moller. "Playing in these kinds of groups is an important part of what I do," Molsky says. "Regionalism was one of the hallmarks of traditional music in the old days; now we're in the Information Age, and I don't think that's what folk music does anymore. But the more cultures I discover, the more I realize that folk music performs the same function for everybody; and therefore is the same thing everywhere - just spoken with different accents." Great fiddlers ask him to teach at their fiddle camps, including Alasdair Fraser, Jay Ungar, and Mark O'Connor, who says Molsky has "a mystical awareness of how to bring out the new in something that is old." "Young people realize this is a guy who's tapped into the real deep emotional wellsprings of this music," says Matt Glaser, director of Berklee's American Roots Program. "He has a way of removing everything that's unnecessary; and young people are very hungry for something real. Bruce has that in spades." Learn more at: brucemolsky.com

Pete Cooper, fiddler & composer

Riki SchneyerPete Cooper plays, teaches, composes, records and writes about fiddle music. He is best known for his tutorial book/CD The Complete Irish Fiddle Player (1995), published in the USA by Mel Bay, and his more recent collections issued by Schott: Irish Fiddle Solos (2004), English Fiddle Tunes (2006), Eastern European Fiddle Tunes (2007) and American Old Time Fiddle Tunes (2010). After years of performing, travelling and playing in too many late-night sessions, he brings a relaxed, good-humoured approach to his workshops and concerts alike. He also sings, backing himself on fiddle, and plays the mandolin. His unusual fluency in different styles - English, Irish, Scottish, Old Time, Swedish, Eastern European - has been described as ‘chameleon-like’. He travels all over the country to teach and perform, and has also made recent trips to China (2004), India (2007) and Japan (2008 and 2010). A firm believer in lifelong learning, Pete has run regular fiddle courses in London since the mid-1980s, bringing his group classes under one roof in 2001 as the ‘London Fiddle School’. Learn more at: petecooper.com

Douglas Jimerson, tenor

Douglas JimersonAn American concert tenor and musicologist who specializes in historical and patriotic American music, Douglas Jimerson is best known for his many recordings of music of the Civil War, accompanied by such great artists as the U.S. Navy Band, the Federal City Brass Band, the Wildcat Regiment Band, the Sunrise String Quartet, Civl War Comrades, Gilmore’s Light Ensemble, Ruth Locker, pianist, Harvey Jacobson, pianist, Garrick Alden, guitarist, Clarke Buehling and Bob Clayton, banjoists, and Ellen Anderson on hammered dulcimer.
Learn more at: www.americansongs.com

The Federal City Brass Band

Federal City Brass BandFounded in 2002 to accurately recreate the sound and appearance of a Union Army regimental brass band of the 1860s, the Federal City Brass Band plays on original instruments dating to the mid-19th century that come from the private collections of its band members. Sources of the music the band plays include original band journals and sheet music of the Civil War era. The uniforms worn by bandsmen are reproductions based on originals and made from the closest comparable wool and cotton fabrics, in some cases using vegetable dyes and original recipes from 19th century mills. Learn more at: www.jvmusic.net/FCBB.html

Magpie, Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino

MagpieTerry Leonino and Greg Artzner began to play music together in Kent, Ohio in September of 1973. They chose the name Magpie for their band, a name which grew in personal significance for them as years went by. Terry's voice is a truly impressive instrument, not only because of its natural power, but also because of her versatility. She is a gifted singer of jazz and blues in the tradition of Connie Boswell and Billie Holiday, but is equally comfortable with the subtle beauty of traditional folk and contemporary songs. Add to this her uncanny ability to find the perfect harmony line, and, in a powerful blend of their two voices, you have a real treat for the ear. Greg is an outstanding guitarist whose fingerstyle approach owes a lot to his heroes, guitar legends such as Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Nick Lucas, Phil Ochs, and Rolly Brown. His high baritone voice has equal range and his captivating interpretation gives power and beauty to the full spectrum, from growling blues, to a Chilean lament, to a sweet croon. Learn more at: www.magpiemusic.com

Elizabeth Fulford Miller, music director

Elizabeth Miller as The DogaressaElizabeth Fulford Miller has performed with Washington Revels since 1993 and served as its Music Director since 2004. In addition to providing music direction for the annual Christmas Revels, she also directs or oversees the direction of all other Revels productions, including outreach performances, and personally directs the Gallery Voices (formerly, the Washington Revels Singers), a small ensemble that has performed at numerous venues. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM '80 and MM '82), where she performed roles in many operas, oratorios and chamber works.  She was awarded three separate fellowships to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School in the areas of choral music, vocal chamber music and opera theater. An active professional singer in the D.C. area, Elizabeth performs as soloist in local concerts and events, sings as a professional chorister with the National Master Chorale, and serves as section leader and cantor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Washington, DC. She has also sung with many local groups, including the Wolftap Chamber Singers, Washington Bach Consort, Master Chorale of Washington, Washington National Opera Chorus, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. By day, a librarian and Webmaster at the Library of Congress, Elizabeth also designs and maintains many Web sites for local artists and musicians, including the Washington Revels (www.revelsdc.org).

Andrea Blackford, associate music director

Andrea BlackfordSince 1993, Andrea Jones Blackford has been affiliated with the Washington Revels in many roles--chorus member; Board member for 10 years; and now, music director of the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices. Andrea, a native of Detroit, served as unit director for the 2006 American Christmas Revels, directing the production's "Jonkonnu" sequence; portrayed educator Nannie Helen Burroughs in the Washington Revels/Library of Congress presentation, Discovering Hidden Washington; and served as assistant director and performer for the initial production of Bridges of Song, Revels' collaboration with THEARC and Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast Washington.

In addition to her work with Washington Revels, Andrea served as artistic director for The Joyful Noise, a women's quintet devoted to performance of early American sacred music she founded at the Church of the Resurrection (Alexandria,VA), and in 2008, served as artistic director for From Africa to America, a Black History Month production featuring the City of Alexandria Choir and local performing organizations. She also spent six seasons as a member of the Capriccio Catch Club, an musical troupe featured at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Currently, Andrea is a member of Foundry United Methodist Choir of Washington D.C. She has also sung with the Church of the Resurrection Choir; St. Augustine Gospel Choir and Chorale (Washington, D.C); and the Nevilla Ottley Singers (Silver Spring, MD).

Charlie Pilzer, recording engineer & producer

Charlie PilzerMusician. Producer. Sound engineer. Event organizer. Charlie Pilzer is a busy man, always devoting himself to creating award-winning Scandinavian, Celtic, folk, and acoustic music and sharing his love of the traditions with audiences, listeners, and other musicians around the world. Well known as a dance musician (piano and bass) for New England folk dances, Charlie began his involvement with Scandinavian music in 1978, when he met the Faroe Islands-based band Spælimenninir ("the folk musicians") during their first U.S. tour. Reflecting the international group's membership (Faroese, Danish, Swedish, and American), Spælimenninir's repertoire is pan-Scandinavian, with a good helping of American contra dance music. In addition to being a performer, Charlie is a strong supporter of promoting folk music and dance as part of everday life. He has been on the staff at camps run by the Country Dance & Song Society and the Christmas Country Dance School at Berea College, and has served as program director for the CDSS Family Week program at Pinewoods Camp. Involved with the Washington Revels for years, Charlie is currently an Artistic Associate for Music. When not performing, Charlie is chief engineer at Airshow Mastering in Springfield, VA. His success with mastering all the genres of music made in the mid-Atlantic region - from gospel to folk, world music to alternative -- can be attributed to his broad base of experience and musical knowledge. Charlie's attention to detail is well known and is best exemplified in the audio restoration of vintage recordings. In addition to mastering a dozen GRAMMY-nominated projects, Charlie received a GRAMMY for mastering and restoration on the Anthology of American Folk Music (1997). Learn more at: charliepilzer.com