Alistair Anderson

Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian.

Alistair Anderson's official bio

As a touring soloist, with no less than 37 tours of the USA, 5 trips to Australia and countless European tours to his credit, Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian Pipes. He delights audiences with traditional music from Northumberland and beyond, as well as his own music, which has grown out of his love of these traditions.

“His appeal as a musician lies not only in his remarkable handling of the English Concertina and Northumbrian Pipes. It is also a result of his total involvement in his music, his absolute sincerity, which succeeds in reaching a far wider audience than his classification as a folk musician would suggest.”
The Stage and Television Today

“The pleasure comes chiefly from the excellence of the playing; that particular delight which comes from anything superbly done. The concertina emerges as a flexible and sensitive instrument; in the hands of a player of Anderson’s quality it is amazing what it can achieve.”
The Guardian

“He remains one of this country’s most majestic and inclusive instrumentalists.”
Colin Irwin – fROOTS March 2010

A “Musical Catalyst”

Anderson’s passionate belief that traditional music had an important place in contemporary society led him to find ways to excite a new generation of young musicians and draw them into playing, singing, dancing and making the tradition their own.

  • He founded Folkworks an organisation that helped to change the face of folk music, with large numbers of young people discovering traditional music, song and dance through their summer schools, workshops and education projects.
  • Folkworks became one of the two founding partners of The Sage Gateshead and Anderson continued as its Artistic Director until 2008.
  • Working with the Music Department of Newcastle University, Anderson developed England’s first degree course in folk and traditional music launched in Sept 2001.

Despite the huge amount of energy he poured into this work he continued to perform as a soloist and he took his great friends and mentors, the retired shepherds, Will Atkinson, Willy Taylor and Joe Hutton to festivals the length and breadth of the country. He wrote music for a leading string quartet, for professional theatre even for an ensemble of ancient Chinese instruments. He collaborated with jazz musicians and wrote for a mixed ensemble of Northumbrian and Moravian musicians and spent October 2010 touring South Africa with traditional Xhosa musicians, singers and dancers. The success of his varied performance and composing work grows out of his deep understanding of traditional music balanced with an adventurous sense of its constantly changing nature and creative potential.

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