Boxwood Australia


February 22-25, 2019

Boxwood returns to beautiful & historic Queenscliff February 22-25, 2019 for a long-weekend of immersion in traditional & early music. Join us for four days of musical discovery and fun with John Carty (Irish fiddle & flute), Chris Norman (flutes, small pipes), Rennie Pearson (flutes, whistle & chef), Shane Lestideau (baroque strings), and Andy Rigby (Harps - presenting Boxwood's Harp Day*). Boxwood Australia is a magical experience with very limited enrollment and small class sizes, so please register early. Our venues for classe include the historic Whitehall Lodge, and St. Georges Church Hall, both in the heart of Queenscliff just a short stroll to the waterfront. While the week in Queenscliff emphasizes the fiddle, flutes, whistles & pipes. The course will suit those with basic playing experience and up, will cater to a wide range of ability and is designed to challenge as well as inspire.


2019 Tutors & Performers:

A schedule will be available as the event draws closer; classes and activities will include:

  • Irish fiddle - (all bowed strings welcome including viola, cello, etc)
  • Flute - simple system and modern flutes; Scottish, Irish, Quebecois & Cape Breton tunes
  • Baroque & renaissance flute - a daily session exploring repertoire & style for art and poular music of the 16th - 18th centuries
  • Whistle - in D
  • Scottish small pipes - ancient and unusual tunes are explored
  • Harp - Celtic tunes and techniques and ensemble playing
  • Songs & ballads - from the Celtic and North American traditions
  • Celtic Ensemble - led by Chris Norman & John Carty
  • Baroque Ensemble - led by Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby
  • Sessions
  • Seaside walks
  • Local craft beer & wine tastings - (BYO-pot-luck)

February 22 - 25, 2019:

Friday February 22
Arrive at Whitehall late afternoon and gather for an evening meal of home-made local specialties. A session will follow.

Saturday February 23
Daily classes with John Carty, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson, Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby
*Andy Rigby presents Boxwood Harp Day! - Harp Day is on Saturday 23 Feb, but harpists are most welcome to come for the entire weekend as Andy will be teaching each day.

7:30pm Evening Concert at Queenscliff Town Hall

Sunday February 24
Daily classes with John Carty, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson, Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby

7:30 Session at the Queenscliff Brewhouse

Monday February 25
Daily classes with John Carty, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson, Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby
Afternoon session
Departure by 4pm

See the full schedule here

Pricing Structure:

Prices for the 2019 weekend in Queenscliff, VIC are in Australian dollars (AUD)

Full Tuition: $290 - Includes classes, activities & meals
$110 Harp Day only (1-day tuition)

Work Study/Teens/Guest Pass: $190 - Includes classes, activities & meals
Work Study participants will assist with meal prep & clean-up as well as concert operations.
The Guest Pass is reserved for guests & family of Boxwood participants.

Teens age 12-17 are welcome with adult supervision. Contact Sarah Wade for more information about Boxwood Teens.

A La Carte day rate:

Saturday: $110 includes Saturday classes, activities and meals
Sunday: $100 includes Sunday classes, activities and meals
Monday: $90 includes Monday classes, activities and meals

$170 per person for all three nights with shared bedroom and shared bathroom
$130 per person for two nights with shared bedroom and shared bathroom (any combination of 2-nights)
$300 for single room with shared bathroom (Limited Availability. Applicable to 1-person for 3-night bookings only)

Work-Study positions available!

Many hands make light work, and new friends. Boxwood's Work-Study program is a great way to be at the center of the event, meet lots of amazing people, have fun helping out, and reduce the cost of attending. Work-Study tasks relate to initial food prep, dining room set-up for meals, kitchen clean-up as well as some box office, publicity and logisitcal support. Working on a rotational schedule, students will likely not miss the various festival offerings. Scheduling may be negotiated in advance.

All Work-Study participants MUST be present at 3PM on Friday 22, February at the Whitehall Guest House for an orientation and scheduling meeting and to commence work. Please make your travel plans accordingly - later arrivals (except in the case of travel delays) will not be eligible for the Work Study Program. For further information contact us by e.mail.

How to Register:

Registration is an easy 2-step process:

Step 1: Complete the registration form via the button below. Be sure to scroll all the way down and click 'SUBMIT'.


Step 2: Pay . A direct transfer is best, and bank details will be shown in your confirmation email. Credit card payments & PayPal add 3%.

That's it! We'll be in touch with further details as the week approaches. If you're planning to come, please fill the form out ASAP so we can plan early. Registration is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis upon receipt of both a registration form and payment.


John CARTY - Irish fiddle

John Carty is one of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians having been awarded the Irish Television station, TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year in 2003. Born in London, fiddle and banjo player Carty has established himself among the elite in Irish traditional music and as a staunch supporter of its preservation. He developed his love for fiddle, banjo, and flute, all of which he has mastered,through his multi-instrumentalist father who was a member of the Glenside Ceili Band in London in the 1960’s. John performs regularly with Chieftain’s flautist Matt Molloy exploring the North Connaught tradition they both love. In 2008 they released Pathway to the Well a CD of their music accompanied by Arty McGlynn. A new release by the pair is due out in late 2016. In 2011 John released The Crimson Path, collaboration with Sligo poet Ann Joyce, which is a CD of original poetry and music for which John composed all the music. This was quickly followed by the release of At Complete Ease, a duet fiddle album with Brian Rooney from Kiltclogher, Co Leitrim. This CD has already been described as one of the all times greats of duet playing. John is also a member of super group, Patrick Street which includes legendary musicians Andy Irvine and Kevin Burke. He has also appeared as a special guest with the Chieftains and De Danaan. Apart from performing and recording John has also been instrumental in getting many other musicians to record and has produced many albums such as Brian Rooney’s acclaimed albums ‘The Godfather’ and ‘From Leitrim to London’. John has recently put together a new eight piece band, The John Carty Festival band which was launched in summer 2012 and has since played at festivals in Ireland and the UK.

Chris NORMAN - director, traditional & early flutes, small pipes, song

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia into a music loving family, Chris’ influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flutemaker has earned him worldwide recognition. His flute playing has appeared on more than 40 recordings and can be heard featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. Chris is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 20 years in Canada, New Zealand, and the US, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music. The Senate of Dalhousie University voted to award Chris a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in 2015 in recognition of his artistic achievements and contributions to the community.

“. . .Norman stands out for his spirited eclecticism . . . His rootsy heritage shines through in every nuanced embellishment, trill, triple tonguing, and silky slide. It’s clear that Norman is having a ball, with the chops to make it sound effortless.” -- Billboard Magazine

“ . . .a flute player of spectacular & imaginative virtuosity” -- The New Yorker Magazine

“A flute superstar . . .the musicianship just came wailing out” --Toronto Globe & Mail

Rennie PEARSON - flutes, whistle, chef

Rennie is a multi-instrumentalist based in Golden Bay, NZ specializing in flutes, whistles, vocals and DADGAD tuned guitar.The journey started for Rennie before he was even born, with his mother playing him the music of flute virtuoso Chris Norman whilst still in her womb. By 15 he was immersed in the New Zealand traditional Irish music culture, attending weekly sessions and learning off stalwarts of Irish flute playing tradition in New Zealand; Pat Higgins and Brendyn Montgomery. With a firm footing in Irish music, Rennie has delved into the traditions of Scottish and Canadian music, sparking a great thirst for knowledge with has led him to pursue music from all over the world including the ancient classical music from India. Ren works with fiddler/piper Oscar West in the duo Polytropos and has collaborated with a wide range of musicians in performance and recording.


Shane LESTIDEAU- baroque violin & fiddle fundamentals

Shane is a musician with a variety of experiences gathered over nearly every continent of the globe. Fortunate enough to have aquired a parallel education in both Classical and Traditional Irish and Scottish music in Australia, she has gone on to work with baroque ensembles on some of the most prestigious stages in France, fiddled her way around Ireland and Scotland, and performed and recorded with dozens of top musicians all over Europe.

Director of Evergreen Ensemble, she's recently been awarded the National Folk Fellowship for 2019, a research fellowship between National Library of Australia and National Folk Festival. Her specialisation on the baroque violin lead her to become a member of the Collegium Orpheus Ensemble in France during a 10 yr period, the Sarabande Ensemble and Viva Voce, as well as performing with the Brest Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble and the Sligo Baroque Ensemble in Ireland. Recent performances in Australia include concerts with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Melbourne Baroque Orchestra, Ludovico's Band, La Compania, Accademia Arcadia, Australian Baroque Brass and St John's Bach Orchestra.


Andy RIGBY - Celtic and South American harp

ANDY has carved out a unique niche for himself in the world of music, as one of Australia’s leading designers, makers, players and teachers of the harp. His performance interests include most folk traditions involving the harp, while his harp-making orders cover modern folk harps as well as medieval Gaelic brass-strung harps, Spanish Baroque chromatic harps, Welsh triple harps, and West African koras. Since 1990 Andy has been a full-time musician and instrument maker. After several years of intensive school and community workshops in marimba and flute making, Andy is now busy making folk harps to order. His designs take features from the Celtic and Paraguayan traditions, leading to a unique hybrid style of harp which he has called the “Paraceltic Harp”. Demand is considerable, and after making 200 harps, Andy now makes only the larger harps while his assistant Stephen Oram makes the smaller “lap harps”. Andy runs harp-making workshops in central Victoria, where people make their own instruments under supervision. Andy and Stephen make extensive use of Australian timbers in their harps. Andy performs mainly on a Paraceltic harp, and has made research trips to the Celtic countries and South America in search of music and ideas. He is well known around Australia as a teacher and solo performer of folk harp.



Registration for Boxwood 2019 is limited and is filled on a first come first serve basis upon full payment of tuition. Places cannot be held with a deposit. No Refunds will be made after January 15, 2019. Refund requests made on or before January 15, 2019 will receive a refund within 30 days of receipt of the full amount paid minus a $50 administrative charge. There are no refunds for work study participants. Cancellations prior to this time will be subject to the abovementioned $50 administrative charge.


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