“Music, like math, is a discipline with its own set of rules and patterns. The scales and chords, the time signatures of the rhythms are all there, so you know where you’re going when playing with other musicians. But sometimes, in the moment, the logic drops, and your heart takes over. Maybe you’re improvising and you’re holding a note longer than it should be held, and the chords are changing …and it’s a little egregious and might rub those chords the wrong way. The logic starts to panic, but it is tugging at your heart and it feels so, so right …so you give in to the instinct. That’s when the really great moments of art happen.”
So says virtuoso fiddler Eileen Ivers, the Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated performer, composer, producer, and female bandleader, who the New York Times has called “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin”. Growing up in the Bronx, the daughter of Irish immigrants, with a natural talent for the music of her parents’ homeland and a sharp mind for mathematics—a field in which she pursued post-graduate studies—Ivers has lived and breathed the interplay of discipline and improvisation for years and knows how to combine heart and passion with incredible technical precision. She has been awarded a Doctor of Arts, honoris causa for her “lifelong commitment to innovation, excellence and deep dedication to bringing people together through music.”
On her latest album, Scatter the Light (Musical Bridge Records, March 13, 2020), Ivers puts heart over head and brings together a gorgeous array of tracks inspired by everything from meditations on family, faith, gratitude, and loss to calls-of-action for living in the moment, taking chances, and finding the strength to survive sexual assault. Comprised of eleven airs, jigs, reels, instrumentals and songs, all but two of the album’s tracks are original compositions.