Winifred Horan

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Winifred Horan
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
Genres[[Classical][Celtic music|Celtic]], Irish folk
LabelsCompass, Shanachie
Associated actsCherish the Ladies
[Sharon Shannon Band]Solas

Winifred Horan is an American violinist/fiddler of Irish descent. After classical training, she played with the all-female Celtic music ensemble Cherish the Ladies before becoming an original member[1][2] of the Irish traditional music group Solas.[3]


Horan was born in New York City, New York[4] to Irish parents[5] and studied piano (taught by her father, a carpenter and musician)[6] and Irish fiddle playing at a young age.[7] She attended and graduated from the New England Conservatory[8] in Boston, Massachusetts, where she studied classical violin,[7][9] and the Aspen Music Festival and School in Aspen, Colorado.[5] 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.[7] She co-founded[2][10][11] Solas in 1994,[12] and is on fiddle and backing vocals.[8][13] 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."[12]

Outside of her work with Solas, Horan was a member of and toured with The Sharon Shannon Band,[8] and also performed with Irish singer-songwriter Pierce Turner.[7] 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.[7] She is also a nine-time champion Irish stepdancer and an All-Ireland fiddle champion,[14][15] having won an All-Ireland Junior Championship at age eleven.[7] In a December 2001 interview, Horan identified Liz Carroll, Egan, and Sharon Shannon as her top musical influences.[6]

Horan released her first solo album, Just One Wish, in October 2002 on Shanachie Records.[7][16] In 2006, she and fellow Solas member Mick McAuley, an accordionist, released Serenade on Compass Records,[17] with covers of "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young and "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan.[18] Siobhán Long, writing for The Irish Times, listed Serenade as fifth on her list of top five Irish traditional music albums released in 2006.[17] Horan composed two of the album's tracks: "Little Mona Lisa" and "A Daisy in December",[19] which was featured during the third season of the American reality television competitive dance series So You Think You Can Dance.[20]

Horan lives in Dover, New Hampshire and is currently a member of the faculty of The New England Conservatory[21]

Selected Discography[edit]

with Cherish The Ladies[edit]

with Solas[edit]

  • 1996 — Solas
  • 1997 — Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers
  • 1998 — The Words That Remain
  • 2000 — The Hour Before Dawn
  • 2002 — The Edge of Silence
  • 2003 — Another Day
  • 2005 — Waiting for an Echo
  • 2006 — Reunion: A Decade of Solas - CD and DVD
  • 2008 — For Love and Laughter
  • 2010 — The Turning Tide
  • 2013 — Shamrock City

Solo and other selected albums[edit]

  • 1996 — The Irish Isle: Traditional Irish Music (James Keane with Winifred, Seamus Egan, Sue Richards)
  • 2002 — Just One Wish
  • 2002 — Pleasures Of Home (Cracker Barrel label)
  • 2006 — Serenade (with Mick McAuley)
  • 2014 — Lost Girl Found


  1. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (August 6, 2004). "Sound of Solas: Irish-American band reaches beyond its roots". Aspen Times. Retrieved February 16, 2010. Of the current quintet, only Egan and Horan are original members.
  2. ^ a b Alarik, Scott (December 18, 2003). "A harpist's trip to the other side". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 16, 2010. ... Solas founders Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan ...
  3. ^ Daley, Dave (August 16, 1996). "Good-time Irish Rovers bring their blarney to Irish Fest". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. CUE 3E. Retrieved February 16, 2010. The group boasts three Americans: ... John Williams; Seamus Eagan ...; and Winifred Horan on fiddle.
  4. ^ "Just one word - Wonderful!". The Irish Emigrant. January 30, 2003. Retrieved February 26, 2010. ... Winnie was born in the melting pot metropolis of New York City.
  5. ^ a b Oksenhorn, Stewart (November 5, 2009). "Solas brings its take on Irish folk to Aspen". Aspen Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010. Winifred Horan, a fiddler, former Aspen Music School student, founding member of Solas and Egan's one-time offstage partner ... was born in New York to Irish parents, and spent extensive time in her formative years in Ireland.
  6. ^ a b Horgan, Candace (December 2001). "Winifred Horan: Classical Fiddling; Interview with Winnie Horan". (republished from Fiddler Magazine). Retrieved February 26, 2010. My dad was a trumpeter in a jazz band and played piano. ... He was a carpenter by trade. ... I started on piano when I was six and he was my first teacher. ... Seamus[,] Sharon Shannon[, and] Liz Carroll [...] are my top influences.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "World music present Celtic sensation Solas". EDGE Boston. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Crean, Ellen (March 16, 2002). "Solas: Irish Music Supergroup". CBS News. Retrieved February 16, 2010. Native New Yorker Winifred Horan (fiddle, backing vocals) is a graduate of the New England Conservatory as well as former core member of Cherish The Ladies and The Sharon Shannon Band.
  9. ^ Lewis, Alan (April 7, 2006). "Cultural ambassadors: Super group Solas looks back on a decade of accolades". Vermont Guardian. Retrieved February 22, 2010. ... fiddler Winifred Horan has a New England Conservatory background in classical music.
  10. ^ Laban, Linda (December 22, 2007). "A joyous Christmas with Celtic Sojourn". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 22, 2010. Solas's founding member, fiddle player Winifred Horan ...
  11. ^ Doran, Bob (February 17, 2005). "PREVIEW - What we know". North Coast Journal. Retrieved February 26, 2010. Originally founded by Irish American musicians Seamus Egan and Winnie Horan ...
  12. ^ a b Leahey, Andrew (August 29, 2008). "RIFFS: Solas at its best: Veteran band plays traditional Irish-American music with a twist". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 26, 2010. The storied band was formed in 1994 ... Winifred Horan, a fiddler who has remained with Solas throughout the group's existence.
  13. ^ Day, Suzanne (March 14, 2006). "Celtic musicians make a Lyric performance". Collegiate Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010. The band also includes native New Yorker Winifred Horan (fiddle, backing vocals) ...
  14. ^ Lay, Jennie (August 12, 2004). "Solas plays contemporary traditional Irish music". Steamboat Pilot & Today. Retrieved February 16, 2010. In addition to being a nine-time Irish stepdancing champion and an all-Ireland fiddle champion, Solas fiddle player Horan has played with Eileen Ivers ...
  15. ^ Cook, Robert M (August 16, 2009). "Beautiful day, great music at Americana fest in Portsmouth". Foster's Daily Democrat. Retrieved February 22, 2010. All-Ireland fiddle champion Winifred Horan ...
  16. ^ "Just One Wish". Allmusic. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Long, Siobhán (December 15, 2006). "Beginner's luck". The Irish Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010. Solas's Winifred Horan and Mick McAuley lost little time in pursuing their own particular pathways through the tradition with the gorgeously understated Serenade (Compass).
  18. ^ "Franchize Boyz get crunked". USA Today. February 13, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2010. The accordionist and fiddle player from Celtic band Solas ... . The gentle lilt of "The Joyous Waltz" and "Little Mona Lisa" adds charming rhythmic variety, and the duo tops things with a pair of gorgeous covers, Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" and a version of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" worthy of the Everly Brothers.
  19. ^ Wallis, Geoff. "Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan: Serenade". Irish Music Review (republished from Songlines). Retrieved February 26, 2010. Winifred's two compositions, Little Mona Lisa and A Daisy in December ...
  20. ^ Scarpa, Gina (August 9, 2008). "So You Think You Can Dance: Top 6 Performance Music". BuddyTV. Retrieved February 22, 2010. Pasha and Lacey were back in the second half of the show with a slow waltz to "A Daisy In December" by Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan.
  21. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]