Winnie Horan was born in New York City, New York to Irish parents and studied piano (taught by her father, a carpenter and musician) and Irish fiddle playing at a young age.of seven. She attended and graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, where she studied classical violin and the Aspen Music Festival and School in Aspen, Colorado. She played with multiple orchestras, including the Boston Pops Orchestra, and string quartets, before joining the all-female Celtic music ensemble Cherish the Ladies in 1990.
She co-founded the group Solas in 1994, and plays fiddle and sings backup vocals. On her participation in Solas and, in particular, touring with the group, Horan expressed in a 2008 interview: “Traveling the world with Solas has been one of the best things about being in the band.”
Outside of her work with Solas, Horan was a member of and toured with The Sharon Shannon Band, and also performed with Irish singer-songwriter Pierce Turner. She was “featured fiddler” on When Juniper Sleeps, a 1996 solo album by Séamus Egan, and co-writer of certain tracks for the 1995 film The Brothers McMullen.
She is, as of 2004, a nine-time champion Irish stepdancer and an All-Ireland fiddle champion, having won an All-Ireland Junior Championship at age eleven. In a December 2001 interview, Horan identified Liz Carroll, Egan, and Sharon Shannon as her top musical influences. Horan released her first solo album, Just One Wish, in October 2002 on Shanachie Records. In 2006, she and fellow Solas member Mick McAuley, an accordionist, released Serenade on Compass Records, with covers of “After the Gold Rush” by Neil Young and “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan. Siobhán Long, writing for The Irish Times, listed Serenade as fifth on her list of top five Irish traditional music albums released in 2006. Horan composed two of the album’s tracks: “Little Mona Lisa” and “A Daisy in December”, which were featured during the third season of the American reality television competitive dance series “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Instructor – Fiddle