Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic (lever) harp to new levels of performance and visibility. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home as a soloist with an internationally renowned orchestra as she is playing with a traditional Irish folk group or using electronic augmentation in a more contemporary, improvisatory setting.
She tours internationally as a band leader as well as maintaining a number of collaborations including the progressive folk quartet, DuoDuo (featuring percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, cellist Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet of Quebecois super-group Genticorum), a more electronics based project with Viktor Krauss and as a member of the Irish Music Network-commissioned Edges of Light quartet: a multidisciplinary group featuring the piper David Power, dancer Colin Dunne and the fiddler Tola Custy. Maeve is
also a member of the prestigious Silkroad Ensemble.
She has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the historic opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka, Ambrose Akinmusire, Darol Anger and Kathy Mattea.
Maeve has released five albums to date, including her most recent recording, Vignette, on Adventure Records, with bassist Viktor Krausse while, on her own label, her solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration
of the possibilities of her instrument. In 2018 Maeve was a featured soloist on the Dreamworks blockbuster movie soundtrack, How to Tame Your dragon: The Hidden World.
Maeve was the first lever harpist to be employed as an instructor by her alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she taught for five years before switching to being a visiting artist in 2018. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music. She is also an in-demand composer and arranger, with past commissions including a ground-breaking concerto for lever harp and symphony orchestra co-written with North Carolina-based composer Luke Benton and most recently a new piece for harp and string quartet premiered at the Edinburgh International Harp festival last spring. Maeve is the the co-artistic director of the new Celtic Roots and Branches Festival launching in
Rockport MA this summer and the assistant music director of WGBH’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn.