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Liz Knowles’ fascination with music has always been rooted in how one can arrive, land, and leave a note. Liz’s early foundations on the violin were grounded in classical music but while living in New York City, she began to explore other genres, performing with such artists as Marcus Roberts, The Bang-on-a-Can Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Paula Cole, Steve Reich, Eliot Goldenthal, Rachel Barton, and Don Henley. Through these explorations, Irish traditional music emerged as the most resonant musical language for her and she has since established herself as a dynamic performer and recording artist in Irish traditional music as fiddler for Riverdance, a member of Cherish the Ladies, The String Sisters, and The Martin Hayes Quartet, and with her trio, Open the Door for Three. She was featured as soloist on the film soundtrack for “Michael Collins”, performed on Broadway with “The Pirate Queen” and has been a featured soloist with many orchestras across America, including The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. Her compositions and arrangements of tunes and songs have been recorded and performed by artists around the world and she has acted as music director and producer for several international stage shows and recording projects including collaborations with such institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Notredame and the University of Toronto. In addition to serving on the faculty at the New England Conservatory, she has an active online teaching schedule of lessons, seminars, and presentations on various topics, some of which have been presented by organizations such as New York’s Irish Arts Center, and Music Network Ireland and is a highly sought after teacher in the Irish music world both here in the United States and abroad. She writes a bi-monthly newsletter, LizNotes, and produces a podcast with fiddler Liz Carroll called The Lizzes.

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The Schools

Bachelor of Arts in Music, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY


Associates Degree in Interior Architecture, Harrington College of Design, Chicago, IL


Archeworks, residency and internship

Chicago, IL

Teaching highlights

New England Conservatory | Adjunct faculty | ensemble, private lessons

University of Limerick | Irish World Academy | master class

Camps | Swannanoa Gathering | Acadia Trad Fest | MAD Week | Catskills Irish Arts Week |  

Tionols | St. Louis, Southeast, Northeast, Willie Kennedy | 

Theatrical highlights

Riverdance the Show

The Pirate Queen, Broadway

The Green Bird, Off-Broadway

Phantom of the Opera, tour


Celtic Legends | France US Asia South America | 2010-2014

Celtic Dances | France 2012-2016

Musical director/performer/composer

Selected discography

The Celtic Fiddle of Liz Knowles

Art Institute of Chicago: Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design 

Martin Hayes Quartet: Blue

Open the Door for Three

Open the Door for Three: The Pennywager

Open the Door for Three: The Joyful Hour

Kieran O’Hare: Kieran O’Hare

Cherish the Ladies: The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone

Liz Carroll: Lake Effect

String Sisters: Live album

String Sisters: Between Wind and Water

Ensemble Galilei: Alta

Ensemble Galilei: From the Isles to the Courts

Ensemble Galilei: A Winter’s Night: Christmas in the Great Hall

Ensemble Galilei: Come Gentle Night

John Whelan: Flirting with the Edge

John Whelan: Passage of Time

Lifescapes (Target store): Celtic Passion

Cincinnati Pops Orchestra: A Celtic Spectacular

J.P. Cormier | Michael Black | Christa Burch | Pamela Wyn Shannon | K.P. Devlin

String arrangements on recordings with:

Dance shows (producer):

Celtic Legends: The Show

Celtic Dances: The Show

The Cincinnati Pops: A Celtic Spectacular

With orchestra:

Other recording highlights:

Waukegan city project proposal (composer/performer)

Michael Collins, Neil Jordan film (solo violinist)

Paula Cole (w/Peter Gabriel): This Fire

The Pirate Queen (Broadway)

Where the Wild Things Are

Eight Lines (Steve Reich)

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