Tim Macdonald & Jeremy Ward are a touring Scottish fiddle duo who combine traditional fiddling with historical scholarship to create a musical experience that has been described as everything from “cutting-edge” and “metal” to “classic” and “baroque”. Using period instruments and mixing High Baroque chamber music with high-energy dance tunes, their tunes are at times soulful and at times electrifying, but always moving.
This concert will celebrate the release of their debut album, The Wilds, featuring a mix of rare tunes from early modern Scotland, traditional favorites, and original compositions.
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About the Performers
Praised for his “athletic” and “impressive and stylistically Scottish playing” (Dr. John Turner & Melinda Crawford), Tim Macdonald is a regular performer, scholar, composer, and teacher of Scottish-Baroque music.
Tim was the first US National Scottish Fiddling Champion to win on a Baroque violin, and his performances with Trio Settecento, Susie Petrov, Colyn Fischer, the Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, and many others have taken him from New York City’s Frick Collection to the villages of Indonesia, countless country and contra dances, Scotland’s Blair Castle, and beyond. Recent projects include helping to perform Scotland’s first opera, The Gentle Shepherd, in full for the first time in over two centuries, lecturing on applying the rhetorical ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment to modern fiddling, joining classical superstar Rachel Barton Pine for an encore of traditional tunes following her performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and serving as music and dancing master at a thoroughly-researched recreation of a 1770s American tavern. His radio appearances include WQXR classical radio (New York City), BBC Scotland’s Take the Floor, and WBOM radio (Rockford, IL).
He is the chairman of the Chicago Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, the Musician-in-Residence for the Oak Park English Country Dancers, and is in demand for SCD balls, English country dances, contras, and “Playing for Dance” classes. He is perennially in charge of dance music at The Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling and has also played for English-Scottish-Contra Week (ESCape) at Pinewoods.
In addition to performing, Tim runs a private teaching studio and teaches at fiddle camps and clubs. His compositions won first place at the first two Scottish FIRE Composition Competitions and are now available in print. A “remarkably capable” scholar as well as a player (Johann Buis), Tim was an Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, where he researched the period-correct performance of Scottish-Baroque music, focusing on the work of Robert Mackintosh. He has guest lectured at Wheaton College (IL), the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music (Plockton, Scotland), and elsewhere, and presented his paper on Mackintosh at the 2017 Musica Scotica conference in Stirling. He also plays the viola d’amore, harpsichord, and concertina, serves on the board of the Great Lakes Baroque (with artistic director Jory Vinikour) and on the leadership team of his local church, and is an award-winning software developer.
Jeremy David Ward is a cellist whose musical inspiration and repertoire spans from Renaissance dance music to the post-tonal works of Saariaho and Dutilleux. As a performer of early bass instruments, he is a founding member of the 16th and 17th century brass and strings ensemble Rook. Rook has performed at the Boston and Madison Early Music Fringe Festivals. It was also chosen to participate in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training Workshop with L’Arpeggiata. In 2014, the group held a weekend residency at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and released its premier album, Eleven. Jeremy has also teamed up with Scottish fiddler, Tim Macdonald, to form a historically informed Scottish fiddling duo that has toured internationally. Jeremy also enjoys musicking with other early music ensembles such as Three Notch’d Road and The Newberry Consort, where he has performed with historical performance luminaries Bruce Dickey, Paige Whitley-Bauguess and Tom Zajac. He is also a member of the Newberry Violin Band.
His contemporary music collaborations have included performances with Chicago new music groups Eighth Blackbird and Dal Niente as well as Chicago Opera Vanguard and members of the Pacifica Quartet. He was also a member of the ensemble Oberlin 21, with whom he recorded works of Debussy and Takamitsu with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis on the Telarc label.
Jeremy is a guest lecturer at Wheaton Conservatory where he teaches historical performance practice. He is also an adjunct faculty at Triton College where he teaches cello and music theory. He is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and currently lives in and loves the great city of Chicago.