Kristan was brought up on a farm in Birsay, Orkney where she was immersed in the island’s rich musical heritage. From the age of 8 she began learning classical music on both violin and piano, and from there went onto join the Orkney Traditional Music Project where she was introduced to traditional fiddle music by renowned instructor Jean Leonard, alongside many other fantastic players. Kristan continued to play with the project and with a variety of other ensembles until finishing school, when she left to study BMus Violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow aged 17. During her time at the Conservatoire, Kristan was lucky enough to study under violinist Katie Hull, as well as fiddlers Alistair McCulloch and Pete Clark.
In 2011 Kristan entered the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year and was named the winner at Celtic Connections Festival that year. Since then, she has performed at festivals across the UK such as BLAS, Orkney, Shetland, Celtic Connections, The Scots Fiddle Fest and many more as both a solo artist and alongside several bands, including her own lineup ‘The Sanna’. She has represented Scotland at a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for Young People in the Performing Arts, and performed with Rod Stewart at the opening of Glasgow’s Hydro venue in 2013. Kristan’s most notable solo performances came when she appeared alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at Proms in Park, broadcast live on television from Caird Hall and, in 2012 when she took to the stage at Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium to perform a beautiful arrangement of Willie Hunter’s ‘Leaving Lerwick Harbour’ with Violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Kristan currently enjoys playing with several bands, including Orkney’s ‘The Gathering’, the Rua Macmillan Big Band, Alistair Ogilvy, The Paul McKenna Band and with guitarist Sean Gray as well as her continued role as a member of Live Music Now, with whom she has performed across the UK and Europe. Over the years she has also gigged with bands such as The Kris Drever Festival Quartet, toured Europe with dance show IrishCeltic and performed with indie pop group Belle & Sebastian, with whom she also appeared in a film directed by lead singer Stuart Murdoch.
Now in 2014, Kristan is delighted to be the newest member of Blazin’ Fiddles and is looking forward to many more years of musical adventures ahead.
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