Charismatic fiddling has brought Hanneke Cassel many honors and awards. She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across the U.S., in Scotland, and in Canada.
In addition to her solo act, Hanneke plays fiddle with the Cathie Ryan Band, and has performed withCherish the Ladies, Alasdair Fraser, Matt Glaser and the Wayfaring Strangers, Ensemble Galilei, and Aine Minogue. Her fiddling has graced the stages of Boston's Symphony Hall (opening for Judy Collins) and Mountain Stage, The Plaza Hotel, and the Lincoln Center in NYC (with Cathie Ryan). She is also part of the newly formed band, Halali, with fiddler/step-dancer/singer Laura Cortese, fiddlerLissa Schneckenburger, and guitarist Flynn Cohen.
Hanneke started playing classical violin when she was 8-years old. She met Portland-based fiddlerCarol Ann Wheeler when she was 10 at an Oldtime fiddle contest. She soon quit classical, started taking fiddle lessons with Carol Ann, and began competing in Texas-style fiddle contests throughout the Northwest. A few years later, Carol Ann encouraged Hanneke to learn some Scottish tunes. In 1991, Hanneke entered the Columbia-Pacific Scottish Fiddle Contest in Portland, Oregon. She won the Jr. contest and went on a year later to capture the U.S. National Scottish Jr. Championship in New Hampshire. With this honor came a scholarship to study on the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and Cape Breton Master Buddy MacMaster. These two quickly became her fiddle heroes and she has returned to Skye every summer for the fiddle course.
Hanneke's interest in and exuberance for fiddling is definitely a product of the ever-increasing presence of fiddle camps across the globe. The summers of her teen years were spent between Scotland, Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Camp in Nashville, and Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Fiddle School in California. She was inspired by the amazing musicians at these camps. Among them was Matt Glaser, Chair of Berklee College of Music's String Department. With encouragement from Glaser and Evan Price (fiddle camp friend, former Berklee student, and current member of the Turtle Island String Quartet), Hanneke set off for Boston in 1996 to attend Berklee College of Music on a string scholarship.
Hanneke's debut album, my Joy, features a mix of Scottish, Cape Breton and Irish fiddling, including several original compositions.
1998 Berklee College of Music String Department Award
1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion
1996 Oregon State Texas-style Grand Fiddle Champion
1996 Berklee College of Music U.S. Scholarship Tour Award
1992 and 1994 U.S. National Junior Scottish Fiddle Champion