Learn Celtic Cello from the Award-Winning Clíodhna Ní Aodáin

Cliodhna Ni Aodain Photo credit Owen O’Connor

Learn Celtic Cello from the Award-Winning Clíodhna Ní Aodáin

We are thrilled to have Clíodhna Ní Aodáin, cellist, composer, conductor, and teacher, join us at the Cello Guild with her course, An Introduction to the Celtic Cello. This course is a great way to get started playing Celtic music on the cello.

A Family of Musicians

In a Cello Museum interview, Clíodhna talked about how she got into playing Celtic music:

My grandfather was a traditional Irish fiddler, and my great uncle – there was a lot of music in the family. My grandfather died before I was born, but the music was definitely there. And then the next generation, my parents’ generation, played classical music.

At the time, growing up in Ireland, there was a big divide – it’s still there – that you were one or the other [type of musician], and there was no way the camps would meet. I’m immersed in the Irish culture; I have an Irish name, I went to an all Irish school, and I love the tradition, but there was nobody playing the cello – and I wanted to play the cello!


In addition to many fantastic YouTube videos, Clíodhna has recorded the album, Celtic Rituals as well as The Celtic Cello:

Sheet Music

In her Cello Guild course, An Introduction to the Celtic Cello, in addition to the instructional videos, you’ll receive a PDF booklet that includes sheet music to three Celtic tunes, including “The Skye Boat Song,” which some of you may know as the theme to Outlander.

In addition, you can purchase her book of Celtic Cello Duets and more sheet music from her website.

Celtic Cello Club

Want even more? Clíodhna runs an online Celtic Cello Club that meets once a month. She also runs in-person workshops. Check her website for upcoming workshops.

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Dr. Brenda Neece

Cello Museum curator Dr. Brenda Neece, DPhil (Oxon.), is a cellist and a researcher specializing in the history of the cello. Before starting the Cello Museum in the autumn of 2019, she worked as a freelancer and served for just over a decade as the first curator of the musical instrument collections at Duke University. In addition to playing the cello, doing cello research, and writing about cellos, she enjoys experimenting with variant cellos. In addition to her modern instrument, she also plays a 5-string baroque cello, a small 5-string cello, and sometimes travels with her folding prakticello. She studied cello with Fred Raimi at Duke while she did her undergraduate work at UNC-CH. As part of her interdisciplinary major in music history, art history, and archaeology, she wrote an undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision of Prof. Jon Finson, on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evolution of the cello. She earned a master’s in cello performance at Auburn University, studying with Martha Gerschefski, and then went on for her musicology doctorate at the University of Oxford (Somerville College) where she was mentored by Prof. Jeremy Montagu and Prof. Hélène La Rue. While in England, she continued her cello studies with William Pleeth. Dr. Neece lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and cats. When not playing or writing about the cello, she enjoys reading, photography, and martial arts.