Bonnie Rideout may have received a formal education on the violin, but ever since she picked the instrument up at the age of eight, she has been a fiddler at heart. On Sunday, April 18, she will demonstrate her musical gift at The Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry Street.
In 1985, Rideout earned two degrees—one in violin performance and another in fine arts. "I'm indebted to the teachers who taught me the value of reading music and the discipline of learning the 'masters,'" she said. "But the more I played 'serious' music, the more I missed my fiddling."
Rideout charms her audiences with a unique style of fiddling and a vast knowledge of traditional Scottish dance tunes, Highland bagpipe music and ancient Gaelic melodies, each reflecting the rich musical tradition of her heritage.
She is the only American to hold the honor of representing Scottish fiddle music at the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival. She is the first woman to hold a national Scottish fiddle title and the youngest to have garnered the U.S. championship, winning it three consecutive years.
Rideout has been featured on BBC, CBS's Sunday Morning, and NPR's Performance Today, Morning Edition and The Thistle and Shamrock.
She has recorded 10 solo albums and appeared as a guest musician on dozens of CDs with Sony, BMG, Ryco Disc, Dorian, Maggie's Music and Rounder Records. Some of her solo recordings include the newly released CD Scottish Fire, Parent's Choice Gold winner- Gi'me Elbow Room and award winning Scottish Rant, Kindred Spirits, Celtic Circles and Soft May Morn.
Another of Rideout's hit CD's, A Scottish Christmas, became a New York Times "Top Ten Holiday Best Seller" and has continued to sell in record numbers since 1996.
In September 2001, BMG studios released a new DVD featuring her internationally-acclaimed touring show of the same title receiving glowing reviews from critics.
A writer from Glasgow's Herald once wrote of Rideout, "Her playing is so intensely personal and emotional that one feels like an eavesdropper. But she can make mischief, too, as illustrated by her opening, leg-pulling bluegrass salvo."
Rideout's show at The Grand Opera House will be not only with her usual Scottish Trio (guitar and percussion), but with the world champion City of Washington Pipe Band (CWPB) as well.
The program is entitled "Scottish Rant," which, as defined by the Scots, is "boisterous and riotous merry-making."
Rideout and the 26-member pipe band are touring to support their CD, also entitled Scottish Rant. The album has received glowing reviews, including one from Mike Joyce of The Washington Post. Joyce described Rideout and the CWPB as a combination that "generates plenty of spirit, especially when the troupe infuses a surprising variety of tunes with all the rhythmic drive and vitality it can muster. Whether opening ears with a set of Spanish reels and jigs or sticking closer to home with the Congressional Reel Set, the sound of Rideout and the CWPB, alone or together, often makes for inspired ranting."
The performance will be on Sunday, April 18, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $24 and $12 for students. For tickets, call 478-301-5470 or visit The Grand's Web site at thegrand.mercer.edu.