Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music


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The team of international tutors is made up of master performers with proven track records as teachers and educationalists. The primary means of teaching and learning is ‘by ear’ with an emphasis in the less experienced classes of assisting pupils to develop oral/aural skills in addition to instrumental competency and developing core repertoire.

  • Classes take place Monday 30th July - Friday 3rd August 2018 10:00am - 1:00pm at Ulster University Belfast Campus on York Street.
  • Classes are designed for intermediate to advanced (minimum 2 years instrument experience) adults and children over 6 years of age with exception of the Traditional Singing Classes, Fiddle Classes and unless specifically titled a 'Beginners Class'. See individual classes for full details. 
  • Fee includes admission to all programme events with exception of evening concerts and the Trad Trail.



Fiddle - Bríd Harper, Martin Dowling & other Tutors TBC

Fiddle - Bríd Harper, Martin Dowling & other Tutors TBC


Classes take place Monday 30th July - Friday 3rd August 2018 10:00am - 1:00pm at Ulster University Belfast Campus.

Fiddle classes are designed for all abilities from Beginners to Advanced adults and children over 6 years of age.

Students will be graded by tutors on first morning and placed in the appropriate class. 

Fee includes admission to all programme events with exception of evening concerts & Trad trail. 

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Bríd Harper

Bríd Harper is undoubtably the doyenne of Irish fiddlers. From Castlefinn in Co Donegal, Bríd started learning the fiddle at 9 years of age. She won all the underage competitions at All Ireland level and in 1988 was recipient of Senior All Ireland, The Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas na Gaeilge titles. Many traditional musicians cite Bríd as a major influence on their playing and she has been described as one of the finest exponents of traditional fiddle playing of our time. As well as performing solo Bríd teams up with Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney, Tony O’Connell and Cyril O’ Donoghue on a regular basis. She continues to tour extensively and has featured on many RTE and BBC TV and Radio broadcasts. Her debut album in 2015 has enjoyed much success to date and she is much in demand today as a performer and teacher.

Martin Dowling

Martin Dowling was born in Chicago of Irish parents in 1960. He began to play the fiddle professionally in the early 1980s while studying economics and history. His early influences included Liz Carroll and Kevin Burke, and he absorbed and studied the styles of all the great Sligo fiddlers, past and present. He married flute player and singer Christine Dowling in 1987 and they moved to Belfast in 1994 to further pursue music and Irish history. In 1998 he became Traditional Arts Officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and supported the traditional music community in Northern Ireland for the next five years. In 1998 he produced and performed on the CD "A Thousand Farewells" with Christine and Daithi Sproule, and has performed and recorded with many other Belfast traditional musicians over the years. In recent years he has been involved with experimental projects in traditional music. In 2013 he collaborated with harper and sound artist Úna Monaghan and poet Ciaran Carson to create "Owenvarragh: A Belfast Circus on the Star Factory", a historic realisation of a score by John Cage. He was also a member of the "Trad Noise Trio" with Úna Monaghan and pianist/composer Ryan Molloy which explored chance determined strategies for performing traditional music devised by composer and programmer Eric Lyon. The group released a CD in 2013 titled "TwentyTwelve."

Martin is also a sociologist and historian of Irish music, having held fellowships and lectureships in University College Dublin and Queen’s University of Belfast. Numerous academic publications on Irish music were followed in 2014 by the publication of Traditional Music and Irish Society: Historical Perspectives (Ashgate), a book which traces the evolution of Irish traditional music from the 18th to the twentieth century and gives his perspective on traditional music in Belfast during and after the troubles. Martin is a highly regarded fiddle teacher, appearing at festival workshops and summer schools in Europe and America and has taught at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Clare since 1998.