"Excellent playing, really excellent playing."

--Ben Stein
Actor, Game Show Host, Speech Writer, etc.
I got my start playing violin when I was quite young. When I was just four
years old, my parents asked me "Would you like to learn how to play the
violin?" and I said "Sure!" I learned to play through the Suzuki Method studying
under Diana Peelle. I played in school and youth orchestras starting in 3rd
grade; ensemble playing was part of my musical life up until I left for college.

After college, I moved to North Carolina and thought I'd give fiddle a try. North
Carolina is real bluegrass country and I started playing bluegrass (after a short
dabbling in Country Western). While playing bluegrass, I began listening to the
roots of that music; the Celtic fiddling of New England and Ireland that I had
heard in my youth.

I knew I had to dive into this music seriously. I was very fortunate to meet up
with Jason Cade, an outstanding Irish fiddler and fiddle teacher living in my
town. I studied under Jason for several years and fell in love with the drive,
swing, and beautiful melodies of Celtic fiddle.

So how did I decide to take up Nordic Fiddling too? I have Swedish blood in me
and several of my ancestors were writers, artists, and musicians. I thought I'd try
out Swedish fiddle and was again lucky to have one of America's best Swedish
fiddle players, Bart Brashers, living in my town. He had formed a music group
(a "spelmanslag" in Swedish) which I joined right away. I played with the
spelmanslag for several years until I moved to the D.C. area.

I have completed Suzuki Violin Method teacher training under master teacher
Ronda Cole. I have also returned from three weeks in Finland attending the
Nordlek and Kaustinen Folk Music Festivals. There I played with and spent time
discussing teaching and music with some of the top players and legends of
traditional Nordic music. My thanks to the Finlandia Foundation and the
American Scandinavian Association for their generous grants which made this
trip possible.

Here in Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area, I play with the Nordic music
group, Skandal, as well as the Washington Spelmanslag. I play for the Nordic
Dancers of Washington, D.C. and do freelance performances also. Please let me
know if you would like me to play for your event!
About Paul Carlson
(703) 532-6727