Máiréad Nesbitt – Celtic Woman violin virtuoso

Máiréad Nesbitt is a classically trained Irish musician and composer.

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She is the lead fiddle player for Celtic Woman and has performed in front of thousands of people including HRH Princess Anne.

With Celtic Woman she often runs and dances across the stage as she plays in a mesmerising display of athleticism and virtuosity.

Máiréad Nesbitt is a classically trained Irish musician and composer - fiddle player with Celtic Woman
Máiréad Nesbitt

Her performances often earn her a standing ovation from audiences.

She draws inspiration from a wide range of influences from David Bowie to Alison Krauss, Michael Coleman to Itzhak Perlman.

She has also spent years working with Michael Flatley of Riverdance fame, and has also worked alongside Tibor Kasza to create original music for a tour by Irish Dance Invasion. To date she has released two solo albums.

A very musical family

Nesbitt comes from a very musical family. Both of her parents were music teachers and all of her brothers and sisters became musicians. By the age of six, Nesbitt had started to learn the piano and violin.

When she was growing up she studied at the Cork School of Music and became part of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. At 16 she joined the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. She soon moved on to performing solo pieces for artists such as Van Morrison, Sharon Shannon and Clannad. She also recorded an album with Irish group, Coolfin.

Working with Michael Flatley

In 1996, Nesbit became lead fiddle player for Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance show. She did this for two years before she joined another of Flatley’s shows, Feet of Flames.


She spent three years with the production and played on the original soundtrack to both shows and also another Flatley production, Riverdance.

She released her debut album, Raining Up, in 2001. The album is a mixture of contemporary and traditional styles and features several guest appearances, some of which come from members of her family.

Best Traditional Female

Celtic Woman’s debut album was number one in the Billboard World Music Charts for a record 68 weeks.

In 2003, Nesbit was named ‘Best Traditional Female’ by Irish Music Magazine. The following year she gave a private performance for Princess Anne who was visiting Dublin. In 2004, she also became part of the show, Celtic Woman, which went on to be hugely successful.

The original show was at the Helix in Dublin and it was extremely popular. They took the show on tour in the United States and released several hit albums.

Collaborations and solo work

In 2005, she featured on Drum-believable, an album by The Dohl Foundation who are a bhangra fusion band. She also featured in several songs on the Celtic Tenors Live DVD which came out in 2006. She has also recorded and performed with Afro Celt Sound System.

In 2008 she worked with Joel McNeely to create music for the Walt Disney film, Tinker Bell. McNeeley and Nesbitt worked hard to ensure the score had a strong Celtic feel, and the music was composed to suit her free-flowing style.

In 2011, Nesbitt married Celtic Woman’s lighting director, Jim Mustapha.

She continues to pursue solo projects while remaining a committed member of Celtic Woman.

Máiréad Nesbitt
Máiréad Nesbitt videos
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