Don Penzien has long been a top-flight performer of Irish traditional music. He frequently is on the road playing concerts and festivals with Gailfean (featuring Brian Conway, John Whelan & Máirtín de Cógáin), The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, and Shared Madness (featuring Haley Richardson & Megan Irby). Widely recognized for his reserved backing style, Don’s dexterous work on DADGAD-tuned guitar provides solid, driving rhythms to traditional tunes as well as perceptive and sensitive accompaniments to songs and airs.
Don is a Michigan native with strong roots in Irish culture and an affinity for Celtic music. Upon relocating south, he found Mississippi sorely lacking as per it’s appreciation of the Irish and Scottish traditions native to many of the state’s citizens. So, in 1992, he founded and for 25 years he directed what has evolved into a much-revered celebration of traditional Celtic music and dance—CelticFest Mississippi. Don has now relocated to North Carolina (where he works as Professor of Psychiatry, Anesthesiology and Neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine).
And if there’s an Irish trad. tune session anywhere nearby, odds are, you’ll find him there.
Instructor – Guitar