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Myron Bretholz: Biography and Class Description

Class Description

We will cover the various dance rhythms prevalent in Irish dance music, relying heavily on recorded examples, and hopefully also having one or more melody players join us by the end of the week.  Triplets, tempo and meter changes, and related exercises will be covered.  We’ll also discuss the all-important issue of session etiquette (especially as it relates to bodhran players), and other topics, including care of the bodhran, various playing techniques, and whatever else you might want to find out about.

Although my class is described as “Intermediate”, it will also cover more basic material, and will definitely be tailored to meet the needs of all participants.  I play and teach by ear, so no written music will be used.  You are encouraged to bring an audio recording device to class, but it is not required.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at myron.bretholz@gmail.com.

Biography

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Myron has lent his talents as a percussionist to nearly fifty recordings of Irish, Scottish, and other folk music, including albums by Irish fiddlers Brian Conway and Jim Eagan; singers Aoife Clancy, Danny Doyle, Lisa Moscatiello, and Grace Griffith; Uillean piper Jerry O’Sullivan; accordionists Billy McComiskey and Patty Furlong; flutists Jimmy Noonan and Laura Byrne; Scottish fiddlers Elke Baker and Bonnie Rideout; bluegrass banjoist Tom Adams; keyboardist/songwriter Jennifer Cutting, and the groups Brave Combo, the Irish Tradition, Ensemble Galilei, and Magpie. In addition, Myron has contributed liner notes to a number of recordings over the past quarter century, and he is often called on to emcee at concerts and festivals as well.

Since the late 1980’s, Myron has taught bodhran and rhythm bones at many workshops throughout the United States and Canada, including Boston College’s Gaelic Roots, Gaelic College in Cape Breton, and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York.  He was also Catskills Irish Arts Week’s Artistic Director in 2001, and currently serves as an artistic consultant for CIAW.

Myron received early inspiration and instruction in bodhran from Jesse Winch and in rhythm bones from Karen Seime Singleton, and also counts among his influences the playing of Robin Morton, Peadar Mercier, Jim Sutherland, and Johnny McDonagh. And although not a dancer himself, he also draws inspiration from Irish step dancers, and he reckons that the ideal percussionist should be able to do with his or her hands what dancers do with their feet. Myron’s relaxed and humorous teaching style has made him an in-demand workshop leader and instructor, and he is always willing to encourage novice players.

[Photo by Scott Ortel]
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