Dave Wiesler

Biography

Discography

Bands and Ensembles

Tunes and Compositions

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Biography

Photo of Dave with his fur hat

Since he began playing for folk dances in 1992, Dave Wiesler has built a national reputation for his rhythmic and innovative piano playing. At home in a huge range of styles, Dave plays for events ranging from studio work to concerts to dances of many flavors -- contra, swing, vintage, couple dance, English and Scottish country dance. He has given concerts at venues including the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, the Washington Folk-Life Festival, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and Club Passim in the Boston area. For two years he led popular performance tours, playing and describing antique pianos for the Smithsonian Museum's Piano 300 Exhibit. Dave has played at festivals and camps across the country as well as in Canada, Scotland, and England. He is a prolific composer of tunes and songs, and is also a capable guitarist and singer. He lives in Newark, DE, with his wife, two sons, and three cats to which he is allergic.

staff positions | teaching | concerts | personal

Noteworthy Music and Dance Staff Positions:

  • Dance and Music Camps
    • Timber Ridge CDSS Adult and Family Week (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
    • Pinewoods Scottish Sessions (1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013)
    • Pinewoods English-Scottish session (1997, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014)
    • Pinewoods CDSS English Week (2015)
    • Pinewoods CDSS American Week (2012)
    • Pinewoods CDSS English-American Week (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2014)
    • Pinewoods CDSS Family Week (2007)
    • Hey Days (BACDS) English dance week (2016)
    • Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School (2009)
    • Ogontz CDSS Family Week (2004)
    • Augusta Heritage Dance Week (2002)
    • Sierra Swing (2002)
    • Buffalo Gap CDSS Dance Week (2000)
    • Ashokan Fiddle and Dance: Northern Week (2000)
  • Dance Vacations
    • Ken McFarland Tour: Scottish Dancing in French Chateaux (2005)
    • Ken McFarland Tour: Scottish Dancing in Scottish Castles (1999, 2004)
    • Ken McFarland Tour: Contra dancing in Scotland (2004)
    • Ken McFarland Tour: Dancing Through the Galapagos (2002)
    • Ken McFarland Tour: Scottish Dancing and English Manors (2001)
  • Predominantly Contra dance weekends and events:
    • Ski-Dance Weekends (1993-2017)
    • Orange Blossom Ball (2016)
    • Footfall, High View, WV (2011, 2014)
    • Baltimore Mid-Winter Ball (1998, 1999, 2014)
    • Monte Toyon Spring Fever (2013)
    • Contracopia, Philadelphia, PA (2011)
    • Ann Arbor, MI, Dawn Dance Weekend (2003, 2011, 2015, 2016)
    • Stellar Days and Nights, CO (2010)
    • Springforth, Richmond, VA (2005, 2010)
    • Northwest Passage, Portland, OR(2003, 2007, 2010)
    • Flamingo Fling, Oklahoma City (2008)
    • Vernal's, northern Florida, (2007)
    • Almost Heaven (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007)
    • New Mexico FolkMADS (2006)
    • Buffalo Gap Dance Weekend (1998, 2000, 2001, 2006)
    • Charlottesville Fall Festival (1998, 2006)
    • Victoria's Revenge (2000, 2005)
    • Michigan Dance Heritage Spring Weekend (2000, 2001)
    • Spring Dance Romance [Triangle Country Dancers of NC] (2000)
    • Still Dancing (2000)
    • Asheville Summer Soiree (1998, 1999)
    • Charleston Bug Stomp (1999)
    • Alta Sierra (1998)
    • Spring Dance Weekend at Circle Lodge (1997)
    • Greensboro December Dance Delight (1996)
    • Frederick MD Wintersong Festival (1996)
  • Predominantly English Country Dance Events:
    • Harvest Moon English weekend, Chicago area (2016)
    • Fandango!, Atlanta (2016)
    • Jefferson Ball, Richmond (1997, 2011-2014)
    • Baltimore Playford Ball (1999, 2010, 2012, 2014)
    • Spring Dance Weekend at Circle Lodge (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016)
    • Dover, DE, Ball (1995, 2011, 2013, 2014)
    • Monte Toyon Spring Fever (2013)
    • Pitts Maggot, Pittsburgh, PA, English dance weekend (2012, 2015)
    • Swarthmore English-Scottish Ball (1997, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013)
    • Footfall, High View, WV (2011)
    • Nashville, TN, English country dance weekend (2011)
    • Ann Arbor Dawn Dance Weekend (2003, 2011, 2015, 2016)
    • Set for Spring, Austin, TX (2009,2015)
    • Weekend Whirligig, Circle Lodge, NY (2008)
    • Washington Spring Ball (2003, 2008, 2014)
    • Little Rock Twelth Night Ball (2005, 2006, 2007)
    • London, ON spring weekend (2004)
    • George Washington Ball, Williamsburg (2000-2002)
    • Ski-Dance Weekends (1993-2001)
    • February Fling, Trenton, NJ (2001)
    • Washington New Year's Ball (1996)
    • Richmond Ball (1994, 1995)
  • Predominantly Scottish Country Dance Events:
    • Charlottesville Burns Dance (1999-2015, 2017)
    • Delaware Valley Hogmanay (1997, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016)
    • Jeannie Carmichael Ball, NY (2007, 2014, 2016)
    • Scottish Weekend, Ramblewood/Timber Ridge (1996-2016)
    • Columbus, OH, SCD weekend (2015)
    • Capital Weekend, Washington, DC (1997, 1999-2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014)
    • Pittsburgh Workshop and Scottish Ball (2013, 2014, 2015)
    • Ottawa Scottish Ball (2007, 2013)
    • Richmond Silver Thistle Ball (2003, 2004, 2009, 2013)
    • Boston Highland Ball (2003 welcome dance, 2004, 2013)
    • Swarthmore English-Scottish Ball (1997, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013)
    • Ann Arbor, MI, Scottish ball (2012)
    • San Antonio, TX, Scottish ball (2012)
    • Unicoi Weekend (2012)
    • Argyle Weekend, Arlington VA (1997-2003, 2006, 2011, 2015)
    • Austin, TX, Scottish ball (2011)
    • Stone Mountain, GA, Highland Games dances (2011)
    • Gainesville, FL, weekend (2010)
    • Midwest Scottish weekend (Chicago Branch) (2010, 2016)
    • Gatlinburg, TN, Scottish games weekend (2010)
    • Asilomar Scottish Weekend, CA (2009)
    • New Haven Ball (1998,2004,2007,2008,2016)
    • Cary, NC, Valentines SCD Weekend (2007)
    • Little Rock Twelfth Night Ball (2005, 2006, 2007)
    • Raleigh, NC, Valentines' Ball (2000, 2004, 2007)
    • Flora MacDonald Ball, NC (2006)
    • Dillard House, GA, SCD weekend (2006)
    • Delaware Valley Spring Ball (2001, 2006)
    • Chicago Burns Dance (2000, 2003)
    • Tidewater Dance (2002)
    • Delaware Ball (1998, 2002)
    • Vancouver Burns Dance (2001)
    • Hillsborough Highlands (2000)
    • Fort Worden Weekend (1997)
    • Dance Flurry Scottish dance (1997)
    • Long Island Fling (1996)
    • Albany Fall Frolic (1996)
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Music Teaching:

  • Private lessons
    • Basic to advanced folk piano technique, chords, and theory
    • Scottish, English, and Irish styling
    • Rhythmic and melodic variation and improvisation
  • Group music classes: These have included:
    • Upper Potomac Fiddle Retreat (2013, 2015, 2017). Intensive weekend classes.
    • SummerTunes (2015). Daylong intensive contra dance band class, Frederick, MD.
    • Pinewoods American Week (2012). A week-long contra dance piano class (mixed levels).
    • Intensive music workshops for Scottish Country Dance playing, St. Paul, MN (2012)
    • Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School (2009). Several week-long piano classes at different levels
    • American Dance Musicians' class at English-American Week, Pinewoods 2001. Week-long session with pianists.
    • Ashokan Northern Week (2000). Week-long sessions on ECD piano and ensemble playing.
    • Numerous workshops and open band leading for Scottish, English, and contra dances; and numerous music classes during dance weekends on topics including:
      • Putting together contra dance sets and Scottish country dance sets.
      • Improvisation in dance music.
      • Playing in the idiom; regional and ethnic differences in backup styles.
      • Rhythmic and melodic variety in dance music.
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Selected Concerts:

  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage concerts
    Millennium Stage concerts are all archived on the Kennedy Center website
    • Jan 24, 2005, with Hanneke Cassel
    • Nov 12, 2004, with Cabaret Sauvignon
    • Nov 6, 2002, with Hanneke Cassel
    • May 16, 2002, with Cabaret Sauvignon
    • Nov 6, 2001, with Dave Wiesler ensemble, performing selections from "Cracks and Shadows"
    • Apr 13, 2001, with Karen Ashbrook and Paul Oorts, performing selections from "Celtic Cafe"
  • Solo Performances or with the Dave Wiesler Ensemble
    • PEAK Center, Lansdale, PA, solo concerts (2008 waltzes; 2011 origins of jazz)
    • Performance Tours: Piano 300 Exhibition, Smithsonian Museum of American History (2000-2001)
    • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (2001)
    • Institute of Musical Traditions (Takoma Park, MD), CD Release Concert for Cracks and Shadows (2001)
  • With Cabaret Sauvignon or Andrea Hoag
    • Upper Potomac Fiddle Retreat (2013,2015,2017)
    • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (2001, 2002, 2004)
    • Coolfont Foundation (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)
    • Celtic Cafe Release Concerts, Birchmere and Ram's Head (2001)
    • FSGW and Dancing Planet (2000)
    • Fire and Water Release (1999)
    • FSGW house concert (1997)
  • With Laura Light and/or Avant Gardeners
    • CD Release concert for Tulip Bandits, Institute of Musical Traditions (DC area) (2006)
    • Annapolis, MD (2003)
    • Lancaster, PA (2003)
    • Fredericksburg,VA, Songwriter's Showcase (2002)
    • Acoustic Charlottesville (2001)
    • CD Release Concert for No Gravity (2001)
    • Dinner concerts and music, Papagallo Restaurant (2001)
  • With Hanneke Cassel
    • Jenkins House concert, NYC (2016)
    • Institute of Musical Traditions, DC (2015)
    • Dot the Dragon's Eye Release concerts (2014), Cambridge, MA
    • Celtic Junction, St. Paul, MN (2012)
    • Boston RSCDS concert [also with Tony McManus] (2009)
    • Rasputin's, Ottawa (2007)
    • Silver Release concert (2006)
    • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (2002, 2005)
    • Prism Coffee House, Charlottesville, VA (2003, 2005)
    • Some Melodious Sonnet Release Concert (2004)
    • Follen Church, Boston area (2003)
    • My Joy Release Concert, Johnny D's, Boston (2001)
  • With Elke Baker
    • Over the Border release concert (1997)
    • Blarney Star, NYC (1996)
    • Big Grey Concert Series (1996)
    • Honolulu Academy of Arts (1996)
    • Oatlands Celtic Festival (1996)
    • Minstrel Coffeehouse (1996)
    • Leesburg First Night (1995)
    • Music under the Dome, Baltimore (1995)
  • Other concerts
    • with Josh Burdick and Susie Lorand, Barnes Museum, Philadelphia (2016)
    • with Alexander Mitchell, Church of the Epiphany, Washington DC (2010)
    • With Gigmeisters, Hill and Hollow Concert Series, Adirondack area (2006)
    • With Gigmeisters, Chameleon release concert, Institute of Musical Traditions (DC area) (2006)
    • With David Knight, Richmond Highland Games (2001,2010)
    • With Susan Brandt, Rockville Unitarian Church (2001)
    • With Laura and the Lava Lamps, Washington Folk-Life Festival (2000)
    • With Microchasm, Charlottesville Fall Festival (1998)
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Personal:

Photo of Dave with his fur hat (aka Ceilidh, the white cat).

I learned piano as a kid from my father, going through the first three grades of the John Thompson series at warp speed. After grade three my hand wasn't big enough to play most of the pieces, so my dad stalled, teaching me about chords and how to play by ear. That turned out to be a long-term diversion. I never went back to formal lessons, except sporadically, but kept on improvising and reading through classical and popular literature on my own.

During high school in North Carolina, I got interested in folk music and learned the guitar on a plastic-body instrument that made my fingers bleed. It had a seriously bowed neck, so I always capoed up five or six frets to keep it in tune. In North Carolina I also joined a garage band as a keyboardist and the "guy who could figure out all the chords" to the pop songs of the day. I picked up three-finger style banjo in college. That instrument (which I still own) was only slightly better than the guitar!

Music was very much an avocation until this millennium. Instead, I kept busy earning a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics at the University of Illinois, then working at IBM in San Jose, CA; the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD; as a visiting professor at the George Washington University in DC; then as a researcher in magnetic resonance imaging and medical sensors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. In March, 1999, I got married, quit my job at NIH, and moved down to Charlottesville, VA, where my wife lived. An intended short musical sabbatical became indefinite, as I concentrated on music pursuits and fixing up our house. In 2003 we moved to Newark, DE, and in 2005 I became a stay-home dad.

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