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THE CHIEFTAINS ever since, touring worldwide. Her most recent collaboration is with Nashville Country Star Trace Adkins with whom she toured extensively last year following the release of Trace’s album The King’s Gift, on which McCormack was featured. She has sung in most of the best-known concert venues in America and Europe including Carnegie Hall in New York, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and The Festival and Albert Halls in London, and has performed with the Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta, the Pacific Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. McCormack’s performance is inspired by the beautiful and harsh, natural landscape of her childhood, its vibrant oral and musical tradition and the passion of the songs she learnt as she grew up. It’s this passion, which drives her interpretation and performance as an adult. She has recorded as a guest on well over 20 albums and has three solo albums to date. The latest, Homelands, was released at Hebridean Celtic Festival, on Lewis, in 2015.

TARA BREEN VIOLIN Tara Breen started playing fiddle at the tender age of 7. She has achieved All Ireland titles in every age category over the years, culminating with the Senior Fiddle Title in 2012. She is a member of the Awbeg Céilí Band who won the Senior Céilí Band competition in 2013. Breen has played all over the world including the U.S., China, India, Philippines and most European countries. She was selected by Donal Lunny for the band Ciorras, and from there went on to join the Galician piper Carlos Núñez, with whom she continues to play on a regular basis in Europe. She is also a member of The Tri Tones with Conor Moriarty and Stephen Rooney and they released their debut album in 2015. Breen is very much in demand as a music teacher and tutor and has taught at the Willie Clancy School in Miltown Malbay for the past few years. She has also taught at numerous music festivals abroad.

JEFF WHITE GUITAR Jeff White has been a part of the North American bluegrass music scene since the mid-1980s appearing first as singer and guitarist with Alison Krauss and Union Station. He recorded two CDs with Krauss, one of which won the Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Recording. He has since worked with artists such as Tim O’Brien, Lyle Lovett, Patty Loveless and for nearly 20 years has been touring and recording with Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill. In 1992 White did his first tour with The Chieftains and has returned over the ensuing 50    MONDAVIART S.ORG

years to add his guitar and vocal style to their concerts. He helped Paddy Moloney produce the Grammy- nominated Down the Old Plank Road and Further Down the Old Plank Road recordings. He is still active in the bluegrass world these days producing the last four recordings of the fiddler Michael Cleveland, who has been voted best fiddler for seven years running by the International Bluegrass Music Association. He tours with the bluegrass group the Travelin’ McCoury’s part of the time and has had his songs recorded by Del McCoury, Dan Tyminski, and Alison Krauss and Union Station.

JON PILATZKE FIDDLE PLAYER, OTTAWA VALLEY STEPDANCER Jon Pilatzke is a creator of and performer in one of the most dynamic and unique dance shows touring the world today called The StepCrew. This production brings together Irish, tap, and Ottawa Valley stepdancing and boasts an entire collective of virtuosic percussive dancers and musicians. Hailing from the Ottawa Valley of Ontario, Canada, Pilatzke has been stepdancing and playing the fiddle for over three decades and is the three-time winner of the Canadian Open Stepdancing Championships. He has had the pleasure of performing in many different musical and theatre productions including Bowfire, a virtuosic display featuring 10 of Canada’s best violinists from all different genres. For the past 15 years, Pilatzke has been ecstatic to stepdance and play lead fiddle all over the world as a permanent fixture with The Chieftains. Performances with them have included everything from Late Night with David Letterman to the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Awards to the wedding reception of Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. In recognition for their talents, Pilatzke and his brother received a Gemini Award (the Canadian equivalent of an American Emmy) in 2005 and performed alongside The Chieftains for the 2006 Grammy-nominated album The Chieftains Live From Dublin: A Tribute to Derek Bell. Pilatzke was happy to expand his horizons in the summers of 2009 and 2012 as the violinist for international sensation Loreena McKennitt, playing at some of the most prominent outdoor music festivals across Canada and throughout Europe. Summer 2013 saw him join forces with longtime friend and European folk music superstar Carlos Nunez, touring western Europe and much of South America. At one time or another, Pilatzke has been proud to share the stage with trailblazers of Irish music such as Cherish The Ladies, Altan, Dervish, Lunasa, and Danu.

NATHAN PILATZKE IRISH STEPDANCER Undoubtedly one of the most dynamic and energetic stepdancers to ever hit the stage, Nathan Pilatzke has been performing since the age of 8. Hailing from the Ottawa Valley of Ontario, Canada, Pilatzke (who has been aptly nicknamed “Crazy Legs”) started stepdancing at the tender age of 5. He has performed everywhere from The Ryman Auditorium with Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, and Allison Krauss to Late Night with David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. 2005 proved triumphant for Pilatzke when, together with his brother they garnered a Gemini Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy) for Best Performance in a Variety Program on The Chieftains in Canada. Since 2002 Pilatzke has been touring the world with Irish supergroup The Chieftains, visiting countries including Sweden, Norway, China, Japan, Australia and most of Europe and North America.

CARA BUTLER IRISH STEPDANCER Cara Butler is a six-time national champion and student of renowned Irish dance master Donny Golden. For over 20 years she has toured the world with the greatest of Irish bands including Solas, Cherish the Ladies, Danu and Dervish and in 1992 became the principal Irish dancer for six-time Grammy winners The Chieftains. Butler starred in the nationwide Folgers commercial “A Dancer’s Morning”, was featured in Shania Twain’s video, “Don’t Be Stupid”, and throughout her career has worked closely with sister and original star of Riverdance Jean Butler. Together with Jon and Nathan Pilatzke she created The StepCrew, an electrifying dance show featuring Irish, tap, and Ottawa Valley stepdancing. Butler’s expertise lies in her formal Irish dance training but is not limited by it. She is a performer at heart and her various talents have enabled her to excel in many mediums. From her adopted home in Canada, she has toured as both a singer and dancer with multi-platinum recording artist Ashley MacIssac and recorded with Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. In 2015 she received high acclaim as the choreographer of A Celtic Sojourn with the Boston Pops and was recently inducted into the Irish American Young Leaders Hall of Fame. For the past two years she has had the pleasure of being the Dance Director for Brian O’Donovan’s A Christmas Celtic Sojourn in Boston and continues to work with young people around the world promoting her love of dance and Irish culture.


Mondavi Center Program Book Jan-Feb 2017