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NAAFC Festival

ADJUDICATORS

Judi Nicolson - Fiddle

Scottish fiddler Judi Nicolson is a consummate performer, her dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland's music has created a demand for her solo appearances, concerts and dances throughout the UK and Americas with a variety of groups. Judi has adjudicated many Fiddle competitions including the Glenfiddich Scottish Championship, and is also a USA approved Scottish F.I.R.E. judge (Scottish Fiddling Revival, Ltd. of North America).

Although classically trained from an early age, her passion was to play Traditional Scottish Fiddle Music. By the age of fifteen, she had won three major Open Scottish Fiddle Championships. Judi went on to play throughout the UK both as a soloist and with some of the finest Scottish Dance Bands.

Judi moved to Shetland in 1989 and married accordionist, Ian Nicolson. She was Musical Archivist for the Shetland Musical Heritage Trust and has remained a Trustee, her main task was transcribing the late Dr. Tom Andersons music. After moving with her family to Aberdeenshire in 2004 Judi qualified as a violin teacher teaching both classical and traditional fiddle in Scotland. In Summer 2008 Judi, husband Ian and their two children relocated to Katy, Texas.

For more than a decade, Judi has been teaching and playing for Concerts, Ceilidhs, Scottish Country dances, workshops, and RSCDS Balls throughout the US and Canada. She has played for both Adelaide and Melbourne Winter Schools, and several TAC (Teachers Association of Canada) Summer Schools both in Canada and the US.

Ian Muir - Accordion

Ian Muir has been playing the accordion since the age of 8 and progressed through The British College of Accordionists exam programme to final grade. He played a variety of styles including: Classical, Continental and Traditional Scottish music in his early years but now mainly concentrates on Scottish Traditional music. Ian has appeared with many of the stalwarts of The Scottish Variety Theatre including Johnnie Beattie, Jack Milroy, Rikki Fulton, Kenneth McKellar, Andy Stewart, Denny Willis, Calum Kennedy and Peter Morrison to mention only a few. In 1996, he took a step into musical theatre when he was invited to play the part of “Le Accordeoniste” in the musical play PIAF the life story of the legendary French singer Édith Piaf. The tour took in all major theatres in Scotland and finished its run in London. Ian has combined his playing duties with his tutorial role as Principal Accordion Tutor in the Scottish Music Department at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a post he has now held for 25 years. Ian is looking forward to hearing some great music at the festival this year.

James Coutts - Accordion

James started accordion lessons on his 6th birthday and from the age of 13 was tutored by Peter Bruce of Scone. He enjoyed success as a competitor at all the major festivals, both as a soloist and as part of trios and bands.

In the late 1980s he started appearing at Accordion and Fiddle Clubs a guest artiste with his trio and over the next few years it gradually augmented into a full band. The band made their first appearance on ‘Take the Floor’ in 1994 and their 20th recording was due to be broadcast shortly after the 2020 Festival.

They released their debut CD ‘Not Before Time’ in 1999 and this was followed by ‘On the Rocks’ in 2010 and ‘The Joy of Sets’ in 2015.

After retiring from playing in competitions in 1992, James retained his enthusiasm for the festivals and was delighted to be invited to join the NAAFC Festival Committee in 1998, eventually succeeding Neil Copland as chairman in 2003, a position he held until 2014 when he handed over the reins to Richard Ross.

Having adjudicated at the NAAFC Festival in 2018 and 2020, as well as many other Festivals including Perth, Ayr, Dumfries, Newtongrange and Newcastleton, James is looking forward to the new ‘virtual’ experience.

Graham Laurie - Accordion

Graham Laurie is an accomplished accordionist, teacher, composer and ambassador for this marvellous instrument that we all love and share. He holds (and has held) a wide variety of posts.

• Vice Principal of the British College of Accordionists

• Examiner for the British College of Accordionists & LSM

• Honorary Vice President of the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom

• Past Chairman of the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom (2008)

• Member of the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom Executive Committee for 25+ years

• Chairman of the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom Music Committee for 15 years

• UK Delegate to the World Federation: Confederation Internationale des Accordionistes (CIA)

• UK Delegate to the World Federation: Confédération Mondiale de l'Accordéon (CMA)

• Member of the Performing Rights Society (PRS)

• Member of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society

Graham started teaching music in 1978 and turned professional in 1980. He is well known for his excellent Orchestras, Soloists, Duettists and Ensemble Players.

He was a Consultant to the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA); this involved developing an accordion syllabus to identify music that met the requirements of the different academic levels for use in the National Curriculum for Scottish Schools.

He has been on the International Adjudicating Panels at festivals in:

Finland, France, Slovakia, Italy, Eire, Portugal, Norway, USA, New Zealand, Croatia, China, Canada, Austria, Russia, Lithuania and Northern Ireland.

As a holder of the British College of Accordionists, Teaching and Performing Diplomas, he holds the position of Vice Principal and regularly examines at its centres throughout the UK and Malta.

Graham was the NAO Merit Award recipient in 2010 for his services to the Accordion and to the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom.

In 2012, he was awarded the highest award from the NAO and given the honorary position of “Vice President’.

Claire Telford - Fiddle

Born in Aberdeen, Claire Telford began the Violin aged eight. Having graduated from the Royal College of Music, London, gaining a First Class, BMus(Hons) and Distinction in PGDiploma (Solo Performance) Claire went on to become a principal teacher of violin and viola at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London and St Mary’s School of Music, Edinburgh.

Claire has been a multi prize-winner in music festivals across Scotland and beyond, including Gold at the Royal National MOD in 1994, and Silver at the 1997 Glenfiddich Fiddle Championships. She was also a frequent guest artist of the National Trust for Scotland and collaborated with Wayne Robertson and the late George Donald on several occasions including performances in North America, Iceland, Greenland, France & Norway.

Claire has given numerous solo and chamber music performances for the Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh and The Earl and Countess of Wessex at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. She was also invited by the British Ambassador to perform at the British Embassy in Paris as well as for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Other performances have taken Claire across Britain, Canada and to Europe as a solo/chamber musician and as a member of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, English Sinfonia and London Chamber Orchestra as well as National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Camerata Scotland, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the Banchory Strathspey and Reel Society.

In 2007, Claire released her debut CD, Ceol Dee with George Donald on piano, a CD of both classical and traditional Scottish music. Claire is married to Wayne Robertson and they live in Perth with their two sons. 

Wayne Robertson - Accordion

Wayne Robertson started playing the accordion at the age of 7, and won the scottish junior championship for the first time in 1986, aged 12, and successfully defended the title 3 times.

His first television appearance was in the Grampian Television programme 'A Touch Of Music' in 1987, and first appeared on the popular 'Take The Floor' programme on BBC Radio Scotland with his own band at the age of 19 in 1993, and has broadcasted almost every year since.

Further afield, Wayne has performed regularly on the National Trust for Scotland cruises which have travelled to Greenland, Norway, The Faroe Islands, and the Western Isles of Scotland, Ireland, The Channel Islands, France and the Baltics. Wayne also perfomed in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA in October 2006, 2007 & 2008 and is a frequent adjudicator at music festivals across Scotland.

Music plays a huge part in Wayne's life and he enjoys both listening to and performing traditional Scottish music, pop, classical & jazz, and indeed this variety of taste is displayed in the CD, 'Diversity. In 2012, Wayne graduated with a Degree in Arts and Humanities from the Open University.

In 2016, Wayne and his dance band travelled to Florence to play for the “Scots in Italy” which included performances at the world famous Pallazzo Vecchio and Pallazzo Strozzi for the Strozzi family. In 2018 he has accepted an invitation to take the band to Muscat in Oman for a similar “Reel Party” gathering of Scots from all over the world.