For nearly 40 years, the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles have delighted audiences throughout Southern California with the lively, energetic and irresistibly uplifting music of Scotland, the Shetland Islands, Cape Breton Island and Ireland. Their playing is characterized by hard-driving reels and strathspeys, hauntingly beautiful airs and sweet waltzes. Directed by internationally known Scottish fiddler Jan Tappan, and frequently joined by world-renowned guest artists, the Scottish Fiddlers have become a Southland favorite.
Jan Tappan is an internationally known Scottish fiddler, educator, competition judge and performer. She has been playing the fiddle since 1981 and counts John Turner, Alasdair Fraser and Alastair Hardie among her mentors. Ms. Tappan has played with the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles since the group was founded in 1981, and assumed the role of director in 1989.
Jan Tappan is a co-founder, with Alasdair Fraser, Sally Ashcraft and Bonnie Thompson, of the prestigious Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp in Northern California. She has taught Scottish fiddle workshops across the U.S., including in Virginia, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina. Locally, Ms. Tappan has taught at Camp Kiya in Tehachapi, and at the California Traditional Music Society’s Summer Solstice Festivals. She also teaches private lessons.
Fiddle competitions throughout the U.S. have relied on Jan Tappan’s abilities as a competition judge. She has judged the U.S. National Scottish Fiddling championship on multiple occasions, as well as competitions at the Virginia Scottish Games and Festival, the New Hampshire Highland Games, the Skagit Valley Games, the Houston Highland Games, the Portland Highland Games and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
Jan Tappan started Fiddlers Crossing in 1986, which sells Scottish music and books and is now run by Debby Hand. She is currently the Vice President of the Scottish Fiddlers of California, and of Scottish Fiddling Revival. She served on the Board of the California Traditional Music Society as Vice President and in other capacities for over twenty years. Ms. Tappan is credited in Ken Perlman’s book Fiddle Tunes of Prince Edward Island for her help in his Earthwatch study of Prince Edward Island music.
Jan Tappan has toured Scotland twice, once with the New Hampshire Strathspey and Reel Society, and once with the Scottish Fiddlers of San Francisco. She has also performed in Germany, Italy, and at Niji No Sato in Japan. In the U.S., she has performed at Highland Games in many different states, the Asilomar Dance Camp, the Pinewoods Dance Camp, and Scottish Country Dance weekends and Robert Burns’ suppers throughout Southern California. Locally, she has also given performances at the Canadian Embassy in Beverly Hills, Cal Tech, the Queen Mary, Marineland and the Wiltern Theater. With the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, Ms. Tappan performed with the Waterboys and Sharon Shannon when they were on tour in Los Angeles.
Chris Peoples began his musical studies with classical violin at the age of 7 years and through his middle school and high school years added oboe, saxophone, and xylophone to the mix. Passing up music scholarships, he decided to pursue studies in molecular biology at MIT and put music on hold. Sixteen years later he resumed playing the oboe and violin, and in 2009 started to focus mainly on Scottish fiddling. Chris has been playing with the Scottish Fiddlers of L.A. since 2011 and has been Chair of the Tune Selection Committee for two years.
The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles was founded by Colin Gordon in 1981, shortly after he won the first Scottish Fiddle Competition in Southern California. The group is now directed by Jan Tappan, an internationally known fiddler, fiddle teacher and Scottish fiddle competition judge. The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles is the oldest Strathspey and Reel Society in the United States. Strathspey and Reel Societies, common in Scotland, are made up of professional and amateur musicians who play Scottish fiddle music.
The Fiddlers primarily perform traditional music from Scotland, Cape Breton, and the Shetland Islands, as well as standard American and Irish fiddle tunes. Its repertoire includes marches, jigs, strathspeys, reels, waltzes and slow airs. Concerts typically include Scottish dancers and singers. Stacey Tappan, who sings professionally in operas across the country, frequently performs with the Fiddlers, along with her sister Christina Tappan Forst.
The Fiddlers are passionate about Scottish music. Professionals and amateurs alike join the orchestra for the joy of playing the hauntingly beautiful melodies and hard driving rhythms of Scottish music, and sharing the experience with the public. The group currently has over 40 members, including fiddlers, guitarists, cellists, bass players, clarinetists, accordion players, drummers and a pianist.
The Fiddlers have issued four recordings to date. The most recent, “Our Best to You,” is a compilation of the best numbers recorded at the Fiddlers’ past annual spring concerts. Other recordings include “California Ceilidh,” “Scottish Fiddlers and Friends,” and “Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles in Concert.” The group has also recorded two videos: “15th Anniversary Concert,” and “A Celtic Celebration.”
2016 marks the Fiddlers 35th Annual Spring Concert in the Los Angeles area. Held at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse, the Annual Spring Concert routinely draws a full house of close to 500 Scottish music fans for an evening of lively performances by the Fiddlers and guest fiddlers, pipers and dancers.
Under the inspired direction of Jan Tappan, the Fiddlers perform at Highland Games all over Southern California, including Scottish Fest in Costa Mesa, and the Seaside Games in Ventura. The Fiddlers also perform at the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest, fundraisers, concerts, traditional music gatherings, weddings and private events