The American Symphonia 2005-06
Mark O'Connor
Natalie Haas
  • Biography
  • Quotes
  • Shedd Appearances

At 18, cellist Natalie Haas is already a seasoned performer. Currently a student of the visionary performer and recording artist Fred Sherry at the Juilliard School in New York City, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. Three years later, she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, where director Alasdair Fraser inspired her and encouraged her to investigate the cello's potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes.

Over the past three years, Natalie has joined Alasdair Fraser for festival and concert appearances in Scotland, New York, Alaska and throughout California, including the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland, the California World Music Festival, and the Sebastopol Celtic Festival. She performs as guest artist on Alasdair's latest recording with pianist Paul Machlis, Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Volume One, on Culburnie Records.

Natalie Haas has been featured cellist with the 100-member San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers orchestra, beginning with their Alaska tour in 1999. She has appeared with her sister, fiddler Brittany Haas, at festivals and concerts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In classical music, Natalie has performed and toured as a soloist; with various chamber groups; and as co-principal cellist of the California Youth Symphony, touring with the orchestra in Spain, Germany and Switzerland.

"People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound, but they're surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands. Natalie Haas unleashes textures and deep, powerful rhythms that drive fiddle tunes. We can "duck and dive" around each other - swap melody & harmony lines, and improvise on each other's rhythmic riffs. She has such a great sense of exploration and excitement for the music; it's a joy to play with her!" -- Alasdair Fraser

"A welcome trend of recent years has been the cello's reinvention as a folk instrument (or rather, in Scotland its re-emergence - it used to be a regular fixture in dance bands). As 18-year-old Natalie Haas brilliantly demonstrated on Thursday, accompanying the California-based Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, it's depth of resonance and percussive potential put a potent spin on the rhythms of Celtic music." -- Sue Wilson, Sunday Herald

"Haas can make her instrument sound like the drone of a hurdy-gurdy, the jangle of a guitar or the thump of a string bass and she can carry the tune of fast gigs and reels as well. It is a fascinating combination, one that occasionally sounds like a baroque duo. And then you realize that some of the great fiddle tunes by people such as Neil Gow were indeed written in the 18th century. When he played, often with a cellist, at Blair Castle, it probably sounded just like that. " -- Robert Dawson Scott, The Times

May 15NHT 2003-04Alasdair FraserJaqua
May 17NHT 2005-06Mark O'ConnorJaqua
Nov 12NHT 2006-07Highland, Heath & HollerJaqua
Mar 20NHT 2007-08Alasdair Fraser & Natalie HaasJaqua
Natalie Haas appears in these American Symphonia 2005-06 events:
Wednesday May 17
7:30 pMark O'Connor