Kathryn Tickell is the foremost exponent of the Northumbrian pipes, a composer, performer and successful recording artist whose work is deeply rooted in the landscape and people of Northumbria.
Kathryn also works collaboratively across many genres, making her work contemporary and exciting. She first took up the Northumbrian smallpipes at the age of nine, learning in the traditional way from shepherd musicians in outlying hill farms near her home. All the elements of landscape, weather and stories of the people that lived and worked there were part of her childhood. Kathryn’s personal evocation of this is heard through the traditional tunes and songs that she brings to audiences all over the world. She has released 14 of her own albums to date and has also recorded and performed with Sting, The Chieftains, The Penguin Café Orchestra, Evelyn Glennie, Andy Sheppard and many others.
Kathryn’s BBC Proms commission for London Sinfonietta, Muzsikas and Folkestra was premiered in 2008. Then in 2009 she received the Queen's Medal for Music, awarded to artists judged to have made an exceptional contribution to British music. Celebrating Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ 75th birthday in 2009, Kathryn worked with the Nash Ensemble, performing ‘Kettletoft Inn’ the piece he composed specially for her.
As the Artistic Director of Folkworks, the folk development agency for the north east, Kathryn provides artistic leadership and inspiration for Folkworks programmes and is also the founder and Director of Folkestra, the north east’s dynamic young folk ensemble.
Earlier this year she composed and performed new work with Joanna MacGregor. Another visit to the BBC Proms saw her performing with the Penguin Café Orchestra. In 2011 she continues her collaboration with Sting, as well as touring with the Kathryn Tickell Band.