Performing Arts

Celtic Musicians at Diana Wortham Theatre

Diana Wortham Theatre (DWT) presents Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Billy McComiskey as part of its Celtic Series on Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m. The concert, presented in partnership with The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College, will feature Irish music with an American twist and will include familiar songs as well as original music.

“Liz Carroll and John Doyle are very familiar to our audiences,” says Jim Magill, director of The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College, “and although Billy McComiskey will be making his first appearance at DWT, he has been well-known for years, if not decades, as one of the top button accordion players in Irish music.”

Carroll, a junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, has toured as a solo artist as well as with Greenfields of America, Trian, String Sisters and as part of the duo Liz Carroll and John Doyle, with whom she’s featured on eleven albums. Carroll is a recipient of the 1994 National Heritage Fellowship Award. In 2010 she became the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy and in 2011 she became the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize.

Asheville resident John Doyle is known as an extraordinary acoustic guitarist who has pioneered a rhythmic, sophisticated approach to Irish guitar accompaniment. He is also an accomplished singer and songwriter. Doyle went on the road at age 16 with the group Chanting House, formed with Susan McKeown. He also helped form the highly acclaimed group Solas, which has performed for sold-out audiences nationally and internationally, and received three National Association of Independent Record Distributors awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Doyle has performed with many other greats in the folk, Celtic and bluegrass worlds and has appeared on soundtracks for The Brothers McMullen, Soldier, PBS’s Out of Ireland and Uncle Robert’s Footsteps.

“I look forward to playing with Liz and Billy, which is a special occasion all on its own,” says Doyle. “We rarely perform together so it’s really fun when we have the opportunity.”

Brooklyn native Billy McComiskey is a highly regarded player and composer of Irish traditional music. He began studying accordion with the late Sean McGlynn in his early teens and won the All-Ireland Senior title in 1986. McComiskey formed and played with two legendary trios: Washington DC’s Irish Tradition and the internationally acclaimed Trian. He is known on both sides of the Atlantic as an indefatigable session player, teacher and promulgator of Irish music. Outside the Box, McComiskey’s first solo CD in almost 25 years, showcases his versatility, style and mastery of the button accordion.

“Audiences at DWT will appreciate the dazzling virtuosity of all the players, delivered with energy, joy and Irish music’s typically laid-back sense of good fun,” says Magill.

Diana Wortham Theatre is at 2 South Pack Square, in Asheville. Tickets are $32 for adults, $27 for students and $20 for children. To purchase, visit or call 828.257.4530.

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