Boxwood Australia


February 27-March 1, 2020

Boxwood returns to beautiful & historic Queenscliff February 27-March 1, 2020 for a long-weekend of immersion in traditional & early music. Join us for four days of musical discovery and fun with Rob Zielinski (Irish fiddle), Catherine McEvoy (Irish flute & whistle), Chris Norman (flutes, small pipes), Rennie Pearson (flutes, whistle & chef), Shane Lestideau (baroque strings), and Andy Rigby (Harps). 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.


2020 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; Irish, Scottish, 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 27 - March 1, 2020:

Thursday February 27
Arrive at Whitehall late afternoon and gather for an evening meal of home-made local specialties. A session will follow.

Friday February 28
Daily classes with Catherine McEvoy, Rob Zielinski, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson, Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby

7:30pm Evening Concert at Queenscliff Town Hall

Saturday February 29
Daily classes with Catherine McEvoy, Rob Zielinski, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson, Shane Lestideau & Andy Rigby

7:30 Session at the Queenscliff Brewhouse

Sunday March 1
Daily classes with Catherine McEvoy, Rob Zielinski, 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

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:

Friday: $110 includes Saturday classes, activities and meals
Saturday: $110 includes Sunday classes, activities and meals
Monday: $100 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 Thursday 27, 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: Fill out the registration form here, available in October 2019.

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.


Catherine McEVOY- Irish flute & whistle

Winner of the TG 4 Musician of the Year 2019, Catherine McEVOY stands out as one of the finest exponents of the North Connacht tradition of flute playing and this reflects her strong family links with the area – her parents were from the Strokestown area of County Roscommon. Catherine’s approach to flute-playing, through her performances in sessions and on the stage, has inspired and influenced other musicians and listeners, most particularly through her visionary work as an educator and a teacher. Her early years in Birmingham, England, introduced her to the wealth of Roscommon music that was in the city at that time and Catherine has followed a musical path that reaches back to the older generations of players, whilst putting her own distinct and authoritative stamp on the flute. At a time when traditional flute-playing has rarely been stronger, Catherine McEvoy is admired as an exceptional and influential musician, teacher and advocate for traditional music. More about Catherine and her music:

Chris NORMAN - traditional & early flutes, small pipes, flutemaker

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


Rob ZIELINSKI - Irish fiddle, violin maker

Rob started playing the fiddle at age eight, learning to play by ear from his mentors Sean Doherty and later Mick Doherty (no relation) in Perth, Western Australia. Sean introduced Rob to Mick Doherty when he was twelve and it changed his life. Mick hailed from a long line of travelling fiddle players, storytellers and tinsmiths from Donegal. His Uncle Johnny Doherty was an iconic fiddler and featured in Ireland’s RTE documentary The Fiddler On The Road.

 At seventeen Rob travelled to Ireland where he spent fourteen years on the West coast immersing himself in the music of the older players. There, he played with and was influenced by musicians such as P.J and Martin Hayes, Paddy Canny, Martin Rochford, Francie Donnolly, Junior Creehan, Bobby Casey and Joe Ryan. Andy Davey, master of the Sligo style of fiddle playing, became the most musical man Robert ever met and his mentor for ten years. Robert’s other musical influences include Paddy Fahey, Andy Mgann, Tommy Potts, Michael Coleman, Lad O'Bourne, Ally Bain and Johnny Doherty.

Over the years Robert has developed a large repertoire of slow airs, jigs, reels, strathpeys, highlands, and original compositions. In the year 2012 Mick Doherty and Rob released their albumOut West to preserve the musical legacy of Mick's family, in particular, previously unheard versions of tunes handed down by Mick's father Hughie and grandfather Mickey Mor. This album was produced by The National Library of Australia and launched at Fairbridge Festival when Mick was 88 years old. Rob released his debut album The Day Dawn in 2018. Robert has toured in Europe and America and in the year 2000, he won Ireland's Michael Coleman Traditional Fiddle Player of the Year Award.

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 2020 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, 2020. Refund requests made on or before January 15, 2020 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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