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Máiréad Nesbitt

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Subject: Waterford Institute of Technology, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Afro Celt Sound System
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Máiréad Nesbitt

Máiréad Nesbitt
Máiréad Nesbitt at Macquarie Shopping Centre, Sydney, in August 2012
Background information
Born Loughmore, County Tipperary, Ireland[1]
Genres Celtic, classical
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Fiddle, violin, piano
Years active 1996—present
Labels Vertical, Manhattan
Associated acts Celtic Woman, Coolfin
Website .com.maireadnesbittwww

Máiréad Nesbitt (pronounced "mah-raid") is an Irish classical and Celtic music performer, most notably as a fiddle player and violinist. She is currently the fiddler for the group Celtic Woman.


Nesbitt was born to John and Kathleen Nesbitt, both music teachers. She has a sister, Frances, and four brothers, Seán, Michael, Noel and Karl, all of whom are musicians. She has been a piano player since the age of four, and began playing the violin at age six.

Her formal musical studies began at The Ursuline Convent in Thurles, County Tipperary and progressed through the Waterford Institute of Technology and the Cork School of Music, during which time she participated in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Nesbitt completed postgraduate studies at Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music in London under Emanuel Hurwitz.[2]

Besides her family, Nesbitt has stated that her influences range from Itzhak Perlman and Michael Coleman to bluegrass artist Alison Krauss and rock's David Bowie and Sting.[3]


After finishing her post-graduate studies, Nesbitt joined the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, thus beginning her professional career as a violinist at age 16.[4] She later moved into solo performances, working with a variety of performers, including Van Morrison, Clannad and Sharon Shannon. She also spent some time as fiddler for the Irish group Coolfin, and recorded an album with them.[5]

Nesbitt broke into the wider world in 1996 when she was invited to perform in the Michael Flatley show Lord of the Dance.[6] There, she played lead fiddle until 1998, at which time she went with Flatley to his second show, Feet of Flames. She toured in this production, again as lead fiddler, until leaving in 2001. Nesbitt also played on the original soundtracks to both shows, as well as for the soundtrack to Riverdance.

Nesbitt released her début solo album in 2001, Raining Up, which features a broad range of musical styles, both traditional and contemporary. The album features a number of guest performers and members of Nesbitt's own family: her mother, sister, and brothers Seán and Karl. In promotion of the album, she tours with her own band.[7]

In 2004, Nesbitt was invited to play violin for a performance at the Helix Theatre in Dublin, called Celtic Woman.[8] The popularity of this and subsequent performances on television and live albums has led to five tours across the United States. Celtic Woman has released a total of eight albums to date: Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, Celtic Woman: A New Journey, Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey, Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart, Celtic Woman: Lullaby, Celtic Woman: Believe, and Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas.

Nesbitt has worked with the bhangra fusion band The Dhol Foundation on their 2005 album Drum-Believable, has composed the original music score alongside Tibor Kasza for the tour of Irish Dance Invasion, a production based in Budapest, and has played and recorded with the group Afro Celt Sound System. Nesbitt also performed privately for HRH The Princess Anne during her visit to Dublin in September 2004. The Celtic Tenors Live in Concert DVD released in 2006 also features Nesbitt on several tracks.

Nesbitt is featured as a soloist on Walt Disney's direct to DVD film Tinker Bell. Joel McNeely composed music specifically to fit Nesbitt's distinctive style, and collaborated with her to further polish the music for Celtic authenticity.[6][9]

As of March 2010, Nesbitt was working on a second solo album, as well as an album with her very musical family.[9][10]

Shortly before Thanksgiving, 2011, Nesbitt married Jim Mustapha, Jr., lighting director for Celtic Woman, in Maui, Hawaiʻi.




  1. ^ Máiréad Nesbitt at IMdB]
  2. ^ Fennell, Hilary (2007). "How I got here: Playing it cool". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "Biography, Paragraph 1". 
  4. ^ "Máiréad" bio in Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart Souvenir Program (2010), pp. 12-13 (paraphrased information appears on p. 12).
  5. ^ "Biography, Paragraph 5". 
  6. ^ a b "Talk Time: Interview with Máiréad".  
  7. ^ "Active Artists: Mairead Nesbitt". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  8. ^ "Celtic Woman". Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Celtic Woman plays two shows at Radio City this weekend".  
  10. ^ Nesbitt, Máiréad (May 2007). "Newsletter no. 11". Retrieved 16 December 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "Recordings". Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  • "Invasion Dance Press Release". Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  • Carlin, Michael. "Irish Music Magazine 2003 Awards Review". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  • "Irish Music Magazine Oct. 2003 Backissue". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 

External links

  • - Official website
  • Profile at
  • Máiréad Nesbitt at the Internet Movie Database
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