Gordon Swift, violin -- Celtic, old-time fiddle, Gypsy, spirituals & more
Early on I studied Western classical violin for seven years. Later I became involved in South Indian (Carnatic) music, in which the violin plays a key role but is held and tuned differently than in Western music. This centuries-old tradition, rich in melodic ornamentation and complex rhythms, requires the player to be proficient in various kinds of improvisation. I eventually accompanied in concert a number of distinguished South Indian musicians and dancers, earned a master's degree in the world music program of California Institute of the Arts and spent a year in Chennai on a Fulbright grant.
On returning to the U.S.A., I turned to home-grown American music, playing electric violin for country, rock and fusion bands in New England. Moving to New York City, I wrote a body of music for electric violin/baritone violectra, guitar, bass and percussion. My band, The Gordon Swift Group, performed in nightclubs and concert venues throughout the City.
I hold a doctorate in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, for which I wrote The Violin as Cross-Cultural Vehicle. This is a study of violin technique in light of the instrument's amazing versatility and its role as an agent of influence between musical cultures. If you would like to read an academic article based on that study, Click Here.
Now I've returned to the unamplified violin, performing solo for social functions like weddings, receptions and memorial services. My sets include Celtic airs, old-time and Appalachian fiddle tunes, Gypsy dances, rags and blues, Mexican waltzes and several originals. Careful listeners say my style is distinctive, showing influences of the many musics I've worked with over the years.