Biography

Owen Kennedy is a sixteen-year-old fiddler from Maine whose love of traditional music and enthusiasm for performing has captivated audiences from San Diego to the Shetland Islands and all over New England. In 2021, Owen's musicality and commitment to traditional music were recognized with several awards, including the Jr US National Scottish Fiddle Champion title and the Young Stars of Maine "Glenn Jenks Future in Music” Prize. Owen performs with the Pineland Fiddlers, the Maine Folque Co-op, and Vermont’s Young Tradition Touring Group and has shared the stage with Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, Genticorum, Claude Méthé, Pete Sutherland & Oliver Scanlon, Seán Heely, Andrea Beaton & Troy MacGillivray, and Owen Marshall.

Owen is a seasoned solo performer as well, frequently playing at local markets & festivals, kicking off the Boys & Girls Club National Conference in San Diego with an audience of several thousand, and performing at The Big Gig, the final Shetland Folk Frenzy concert at The Mareel. During the pandemic, he has been part of livestream events from Club Passim's Campfire Festival to Make Music Portland and Virtual New England Folk Festival, with more recent in-person performances including the New World Festival, an opening set for the Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas Burlington, VT show, and a Maine tour with Seán Heely.

Whether capturing the jazzy bounce of a Maritime reel, mimicking the sound of pipes in a Scottish march, or driving a good ol' New England contradance tune, Owen's powerful playing, clean articulation, and artistic ornamentation are a delight.

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Quote from Alasdair Fraser

After my opening set for the 10/2/21 show in Colchester, VT Alasdair Fraser shared: "What a lovely way to begin – it made me feel so homesick and very comfortable… I’m in familiar surroundings. Owen, it’s just a beautiful recital you gave there. I loved everything about it!"

Short Bio

Junior US National Scottish Fiddle Champion Owen Kennedy is a sixteen-year-old Maine fiddler whose love of traditional music and enthusiasm for performing has captivated audiences from San Diego to the Shetland Islands and all over New England.

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Long Bio

Owen Kennedy is a sixteen-year-old fiddler from Maine whose love of traditional music and enthusiasm for performing has captivated audiences from San Diego to the Shetland Islands and all over New England. Whether capturing the jazzy bounce of a Maritime reel, mimicking the sound of pipes in a Scottish march, or driving a good ol' New England contradance tune, Owen's powerful playing, clean articulation, and artistic ornamentation are a delight.

Though young, Owen is a seasoned performer – entertaining at the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors dinner and kicking off their National Conference in San Diego with an audience of several thousand, to performing solo at The Big Gig, the final Shetland Folk Frenzy concert in Lerwick at the Mareel. He has opened for Pete’s Posse and an Acadia Trad Festival concert in Bar Harbor, and has shared the stage with Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, The Outside Track, Genticorum, Claude Méthé, Pete Sutherland & Oliver Scanlon, Andrea Beaton & Troy MacGillivray, and Owen Marshall. Also comfortable in a more intimate setting, Owen has given house concerts in Florida and Pennsylvania and as well as at The MacArthur House in Vermont.

In 2021, Owen's musicality and commitment to traditional music have been recognized with several awards. Owen won the Junior US National Fiddle Championship competition and received the Young Stars of Maine "Glenn Jenks Future in Music” Prize from Bay Chamber Music School. He also earned 3rd place in the highly competitive Young Tradition Festival Contest.

Like many musicians, Owen made the best of Covid19 challenges with various video projects, including the ongoing "50 Fiddlers from 50 States” project and sharing music online on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. He performed for many livestream events from Club Passim's Campfire Festival to Cabot Arts' Celtic Equinox celebration to Make Music Portland and the Virtual New England Folk Festival.

Owen began playing the violin at four years old as a Pineland Suzuki School student, learning music by ear; his first violin was a box with ruler stuck in it “played” with a wooden dowel rod. He studied with Betsy Kobayashi for ten years and continues to participate in several chamber & orchestral ensembles including Mozart Mentors Orchestra, Maine All State Orchestra (2020), and Mid-Maine Youth Orchestra.

Although he enjoys the challenge and intricate harmonies of classical music, Owen's true love is fiddling. He began fiddling with Maine Master Fiddler, Ellen Gawler, and performing with the youth group she leads, the Pineland Fiddlers. From his very first fiddle performance of Shetland tunes at the beloved Skye Theatre, it became clear that Owen has a gift: his infectious joy in sharing traditional music. Owen continues to work with Ellen Gawler and has a deep affection for the Maine Maritime style he plays for contradances, at Maine Fiddle Camp, and at various celebrations and local events.

Owen’s connection to the Scottish style was ignited in Cape Breton, when he first visited with the Pineland Fiddlers in 2015 and when he returned for Celtic Colours 2018. The flame grew in 2019, with an immersion into the music of the otherworldly Shetland Islands at the Shetland Folk Frenzy and jam sessions in Edinburgh. Soon after, Owen met champion Celtic fiddler Seán Heely and was inspired by Seán’s performances and workshops at the Acadia Traditional School of Music and Dance and Fiddle Hell, motivating him to dive into the Scottish fiddling tradition and join Seán’s studio in 2020, and culminating in his own recent win at the Junior US National Scottish Fiddle Championship competition.

In addition to performing with the Pineland Fiddlers, Owen has played with the Maine Folque Co-op since 2015, when the group performed at the American Folk Festival in Bangor. Led by Cindy Larock and based in the Lewiston/Auburn area, the Maine Folque Co-op provides music for contradances and various special events like St. Patrick’s Day, the Great Falls Balloon Festival, and Maine Maple Sunday. In 2019, Owen joined the Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group, an auditioned trad band of teen musicians, singers, and dancers who focus on learning traditional music and dance repertoire, performing monthly in Vermont at venues like the Barre Opera House, the Chandler Center for the Arts, and the Highland Center for the Arts.

Whether jamming with friends, playing with the Pineland Fiddlers, the Maine Folque Co-op, or the Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group, performing solo, or offering music at markets, churches, and retirement communities, Owen's love of traditional fiddle music charms the audience with his artistry, authenticity, and infectious grin. When he’s not fiddling, Owen can be found outside swimming, kayaking, biking, skiing, and fishing; snuggling with his dogs Daisy and Finn; or in the kitchen cooking.

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Selected Performances

2021

  • Concert with Mid-Maine Youth Orchestra – Farmington, ME

  • Young Tradition Touring Group Online Event with Chandler Center for the Arts

  • Virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Portland video project

  • Virtual Celtic Equinox with Cabot Arts

  • Young Tradition Touring Group Online Event with Town Hall Theater in Middlebury VT

  • Solo Trad Fiddle Show with Virtual New England Folk Festival

  • Prizewinner Set with Virtual Young Tradition Festival & Duo Video with mentor & teacher, Seán Heely

  • Virtual Campfire Festival In the Round solo sets with Club Passim

  • Young Stars of Maine Prizewinners Concert – Rockport, ME

  • Make Music Portland at Bell Buoy Park and Lobsterman Park – Portland, ME

  • Virtual Old Songs Festival with Young Tradition Touring Group – Burlington, VT

  • Fiddle on the Front Porch solo show at Cumston Hall – Monmouth, ME

  • New World Festival, solo & with Owen Marshall – Randolph, VT

  • Edinboro Highland Games Junior US Nat’l Scottish Fiddle Competition (virtual)

  • Open for Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas – Colchester, VT

  • Fiddle in the Forest with Seán Heely – Auburn, ME

  • Boothbay Railway Village Fall Foliage Festival with Seán Heely – Boothbay, ME

  • Searsport Shores Pop-up Trip to Scotland with Seán Heely - Searsport, ME

  • Hometown Show with Seán Heely – Winthrop, ME

  • Waldo Fiddle Fest with Pineland Fiddlers – Waldoboro, ME

  • Solo at Down East Singers American Music Concert – Camden, ME

2020

  • Concert with Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group – Barre, VT

  • Concert with Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group – Greensboro, VT

  • Irish Night at Blue Set for Hornpipe Night with Owen Marshall – Portland, ME

  • February Frolix Solo Show – Mount Vernon, ME

  • House Concert – Sarasota, FL

  • Mardi Gras Celebration with Maine Folque Co-op – Orono, ME

  • Vassalboro Dance with the Pineland Fiddlers – Vassalboro, ME

  • Concert with Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group – Randolph, VT

  • Maine All State Orchestra video project

  • Make Music Portland livestream shows

  • Floating Fiddle Concert – Belgrade Lakes, ME

  • Clover Manor with Maine Folque Co-op – Auburn, ME

  • Club Passim Virtual Open Mic

  • Live Interview + Solo Set for Young Tradition Vermont

  • Solo Scottish Fiddle Show for Oasis Music Series – Lewiston, ME


2019

  • St. Patrick’s Day at Maine Craft Distilling (Portland) and Governor’s Restaurant (Lewiston)

  • DownEast Country Dance Festival with the Maine Folque Co-op – Topsham, ME

  • Young Tradition Vermont Contest Finals Concert – Burlington, VT

  • Pineland Fiddlers Show with Gawler Family Band – Belfast, ME

  • Bangor Contradance with Maine Folque Co-op – Bangor, ME

  • Concert Opener for Acadia Trad Festival with Troy MacGillivray – Bar Harbor, ME

  • Windjammer Festival with Ben Foss – Boothbay Harbor, ME

  • The Big Gig solo set at the Shetland Folk Frenzy – Lerwick

  • Solo set & set with Pineland Fiddlers at joint show with Hjaltibonhoga – Lerwick, Shetland

  • Concert Opener for Pete’s Posse – Farmington, ME

  • MacArthur House Concert – Marlboro, VT

  • Oasis of Music show – Lewiston, ME

  • St. Andrew’s Day Show – Winthrop, ME

2014 to 2018

  • August 2014: American Folk Festival Maine Folklife Center with Maine Folque Co-op – Bangor, ME

  • June 2015: Cape Breton with Pineland Fiddlers – Gaelic College, Red Shoe Pub, Celtic Interpretive Center

  • September 2015: With Lisa Ornstein and Le Bruit Court dans la Ville at Olin Arts Center – Lewiston, ME

  • March 2016, 2017: Franco Day at the Maine State House with Maine Folque Co-op – Augusta, ME

  • August 2016: Maine Highland Games with Pineland Fiddlers Topsham, ME

  • March 2017 & 2018: Maine Acoustic Festival – Hannaford Hall – Portland, ME

  • July 2017 & 2018: solo at Celebrity Chef Gala – Carrabassett Valley, ME

  • November 2017: solo at Tree for Boston Centennial Commemoration – Augusta, ME

  • March 2018: Contradance at Colby with Claude Méthé and Dana Whittle – Waterville, ME

  • April 2018: Boys & Girls Club of America Conference National Youth Talent Performers – San Diego, CA

  • April 2018: solo at Boys and Girls Club of America Board of Directors Dinner – San Diego, CA

  • August 2018: American Folk Festival Dance Tent with Genticorum – Bangor, ME

  • October 2018: visited Cape Breton for Celtic Colours with various open mics & sessions

Press Photos - Download via EPK folder below

Cumston Hall

5976 x 3728 300dpi

Portland

1965 x 1933 96dpi

Headshot

2769 x 3693 300dpi

Press Photo

4000 x 6000 300 dpi

Kilt: 2887 x 4205 300dpi

Announcement: 1111 x 798 72dpi

Social Media Links & Contact Information


Website: www.fiddlerokennedy.com

Email: fiddlerokennedy@gmail.com

Facebook & Instagram: @fiddlerokennedy

www.facebook.com/fiddlerokennedy

www.instagram.com/fiddlerokennedy

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCweSvXG8RAMfyLFFCBkAxGw

Booking: Christina Kennedy at (207) 620-2355 or fiddlerokennedy@gmail.com

Hometown: Winthrop, Maine

Press

“Jr. National Scottish fiddler champion to play Fall Foliage Festival” – September 21, 2021

Lisa Kristoff at the Wiscasset Newspaper

https://www.wiscassetnewspaper.com/article/jr-national-scottish-fiddler-champion-play-fall-foliage-festival/151928

“14-year-old Winthrop fiddler plays to see people smile” – November 16, 2019

Abigail Austin at the Kennebec Journal

https://www.centralmaine.com/2019/11/16/video-14-year-old-winthrop-fiddler-plays-to-see-people-smile/

“Kennedy to perform at national conference” – March 1, 2018

https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/03/01/kennedy-to-perform-at-national-conference/


Owen Kennedy Poster Front.pdf
Owen Kennedy Poster Back.pdf