B i o g r a p h y
Kate was born in Newfoundland but moved to Brockville, Ontario before she was one year old. From the moment she picked up a violin at age five, Kate was hooked. It just sat so naturally in her arms and she has never lost her passion for and attachment to the instrument. Along the way she also learned to play the piano, harp, flute, and took voice lessons. After growing up and winning numerous awards in the Brockville and Ottawa music festivals, in 2003, her family moved to PEI where she continued to develop her musical talents.
Trained classically, Kate has always loved to experiment with other genres such as traditional and jazz music. She has performed with orchestras in Russia, folk bands across North America, and the Newfoundland rock band Hey Rosetta! She spent two summers playing with The National Youth Orchestra of Canada, where she traveled across the country and played under conductors Jacques Lacombe and Alain Trudel.
Kate went on to study music at Memorial University where she enjoyed great success. The musical environment in St. John’s allowed Kate to maintain her love of fiddling and gave her lots of opportunities vocally, as well as nurturing her classical talents. Kate was the winner of the Memorial University Concerto Competition and was featured with the university chamber orchestra in the fall of 2009. She is a founding member of the ECMA nominated traditional band, The Dardanelles, based in St. John’s. Kate was Assistant Concertmaster of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed four wonderful years of playing with the orchestra. She was pleased to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2009 National Music Festival in Saskatchewan, and was thrilled to be one of the violinists playing for Michael Bublé’s performance at the 2010 Juno Awards St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Along the way, Kate has recorded two solo CDs. Her first, Snapshot, recorded when she was still in high school, is a mix of folk, jazz and classical elements, reflecting Kate’s diverse musical interests and talent. Her second recording, Come Fly With Me, is a collection of jazz vocal standards which was recorded over the summer of 2009 on PEI with one of her closest musical friends and mentors, Sonny Caulfield, a jazz legend on the Canadian scene having played with the likes of Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. Snapshot was nominated for the PEI Music Award, “Roots, Traditional Solo Album of the Year”, and Come Fly With Me received two nominations: “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Jazz Album of the Year.” Although the second CD is all jazz, Kate continues to keep all her musical doors open.
In an article penned following Kate’s winning of a significant scholarship, one of the jurors stated, “ ...the rule of thumb with young musicians headed towards a serious career is that the nearer the goal, the narrower the path. Kate is flagrant in breaking that rule.” Just how Kate’s musical career will unfold is anyone’s guess, but as the article concludes, “In many of her fields of endeavour she stands well above her peers in her potential to achieve a highly successful career as a concert artist.” She can be heard on over thirty CDs and videogame sountracks varying in styles from celtic to jazz and classical.
Kate received her Bachelor of Music Performance from Memorial University of Newfoundland in May 2010. That spring and summer she was delighted to tour North America and China with Hey Rosetta! and perform at the World Expo. She completed her Master’s degree in Violin Performance at McGill University in 2012, studying with Mark Fewer.
Since moving to Montreal, Kate has enjoyed the many performance opportunities that have come her way. She has been concertmaster of the McGill Symphony Orchestra, played concertmaster under maestro Kent Nagano, was awarded a Schulich Scholarship at the McGill School of Music as well as a SSHRC grant to study relations between classical and fiddling styles. Kate has been heavily involved with the newly formed all-female quartet, Birds On A Wire, made up of classically trained players sharing an interest in other musical styles such as celtic, bluegrass, rock and jazz, and dedicated to stretching the boundaries of typical string quartet playing.
Being both a violinist and fiddler has provided Kate with unique performance opportunities, giving her a wealth of knowledge to share with the music community as a whole. With an educational background in fiddling, she spent numerous summers attending fiddle programs in Cape Breton, Scotland, and most recently Boston at the Mark O’Connor/Berklee String Program. Past experience has also included being violin mentor at the Canada Games 2009, which involved giving private lessons and masterclasses to young musicians across the country. Kate’s skills as a fiddler have allowed her to pursue acting work in productions such as Follow the Fiddler in PEI during the summer of 2009.
Kate began her PhD studies in September 2013 at Concordia University in Montreal, through the School of Irish Studies. Her research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and focused on Irish fiddling on Prince Edward Island. Kate's supervisor, Dr. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, is an internationally acclaimed musician, anthropologist, and ethnomusicologist. Thanks to his invaluable support, Kate has presented her research at conferences in Canada and Europe, and completed her PhD in 2018.
Kate plays fiddle and sings in the Celtic trio, Solstice, along with singer/guitarist Patrick Lesyk, and flutist Dave Gossage. Solstice can be heard at Hurley's Irish Pub in Montreal most weekends. Kate is a former teacher at the Siamsa School of Irish Music in Montreal, and currently teaches private lessons in violin and fiddle at Concordia University.
Kate is also a member of the award-winning Choeur Adleisia.
In 2015, Bùmarang was formed, featuring Sarah Pagé on harp, Dave Gossage on flute, and Kate on violin and vocals.
Kate is also a founding member of Archetype Trad, a fiddle duo exploring a range of traditional styles.
Kate balances an active performance and teaching career. She has performed at notable Canadian festivals including Festival of the Sound, Sound Symposium, Mariposa Folk Festival, Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, Stratford Summer Music Festival, Festival de la Voix, Canmore Highland Games, Celtic Harmonies International Festival, North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, Scaramella Festival, Montreal Baroque Festival, OFF Festival de Montreal, Montreal International Jazz Festival, and the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.