Philippe Varlet

Irish fiddle for all occasions
Washington DC / Baltimore area, and beyond
                  Lectures / demonstrations
                                                             Private / group lessons
Phone: 301-873-3850
This page was last updated on: April 19, 2012

Philippe Varlet has been performing and teaching Irish music in the Washington DC area for over 30 years. While his primary instrument is the fiddle, Philippe is also proficient on the bouzouki, mandolin, tenor banjo, and guitar, and can also play the tinwhistle and the button accordion. Over the years, Philippe has performed at the White House, the Irish Embassy, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and other venues in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area, as well as at local festivals, ceilis and fleadhs, and countless private events, weddings, parties, etc. A past member and leader of the Silver Spring-based Blackthorn Ceili Band during the 1990s, Philippe has a wealth of experience playing for dancers in social and performance settings. Currently, Philippe can be heard most often playing at the Limerick Irish Pub in Wheaton MD on Wednesday evenings (8-11pm) and Sunday afternoons (5-8pm). SEE Concerts

Philippe is also an ethnomusicologist and has conducted research on Irish traditional music for many years. He is a specialist of the history of early recordings of Irish music, and has produced several reissue CDs of Irish music from the 78 era for the Copley and Rounder labels. Philippe has given guest lectures on this subject at the University of Maryland, Boston College, and for the Gaelic League. He has also spent many years tracing the history of the Irish dance repertoire, and is often called upon to supply information on Irish tunes for record notes. SEE Lectures / Demonstrations

Over the years, Philippe has taught many students of all ages in his home studio in Silver Spring, MD, and, more recently, online through the Skype video chat program. While most were learning the fiddle, several have been taught other instruments, such as the whistle, button accordion, or tenor banjo, or the bouzouki or guitar for the accompaniment of Irish dance music. To all of them, Philippe passes on his knowledge of the intricacies of the traditional style, following a progressive curriculum he has tested and perfected over the years, and making sure to expose his students to the art of improvisation. Lesson times are arranged by appointment and can be scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. SEE Lessons
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Profile of Philippe published in Bethesda Magazine September/October 2009 (page 136)