Alex Boatright is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, performer, and teacher known for her effortless musicality and sensitive musicianship on Harp and Concertina. Alex is the Artistic Director of the Baltimore-Washington Academy of Irish Culture, a non-profit that she founded together with Fiddler Mitch Fanning, which provides children in the DMV area with a rich education in traditional Irish music as well as Irish language, dance, and history while connecting the students with free instrument access and financially equitable travel and learning opportunities. Through the Academy, Alex is the director of the well loved youth performance group, The Bog Band, which performs widely in the DC-area festival circuit as well as the coach for many classes including BWAIC’s competition Grúpa Ceol and Ceili Band.
A multiple regional and All Ireland award winner herself, Alex’s private studio has consistently produced award winning students both at the national/regional and All-Ireland level. Alex has worked to increase the accessibility and prevalence of Irish Harp and Concertina playing in America, from nurturing newcomers at all ages, to working to provide children with financially accessible instruments, to a student’s recent achievement as an artistic consultant for an original televised mini-series, bringing the visibility of the Concertina to a household platform.
Alex is a prominent advocate for equity in the field of traditional music, and in 2021 received an Irish Echo Arts and Culture Award for her work with FairPlé, an organization that “aims to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion, and development of Irish traditional and folk music.”
Alex has taught and performed at a number of top festivals and summer schools including Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Baltimore Trad Fest, and CCÉ MAD Week and is a sought after adjudicator for Fleadhanna and other regional music competitions. Her performance and teaching style is deeply influenced by her long-time teacher and mentor, Gráinne Hambly (Harp/Concertina) as well as from studying Concertina with Tim Collins and Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh. Her unique approach to bellows-driven Concertina fingering technique was shaped by her years studying Fiddle under NY Sligo Fiddlers Rose Flanagan and Brian Conway and mirrors their famous bowing style.
Alex holds a Master of Music from the University of Maryland, where she studied Cello Performance with a concentration in String Pedagogy and Music Theory Pedagogy. She lives near Baltimore, MD where she hosts, together with Accordion player Sean McComiskey, both a weekly session and a beginners session entrance class known as TuneUp: The Session Club.
Instructor – Concertina Fundamentals | Enrichment Class – How to Practice Effectively