Our staff musicians

 Matthew Robertson
fiddle (Melbourne, Australia)

Our musical director for the 2019 Melbourne Winter School is Matthew Robertson, a veteran of Australia’s Scottish dance scene since the 1980s.

Known for his musical versatility as a Scottish fiddler, composer/arranger, and as a dancer, SCD teacher and ceilidh caller, Matthew is at the centre of a renaissance of tradition-informed dance music performance in Melbourne and further afield. He’s passionate about how traditional and newer Scots music partners social dance, and how the dance pulse enlivens our grand tunes.

With our international and local musicians, we’re awaiting a week of musical merry-making for our dancing pleasure.

Judi Nicolson
fiddle (Scotland)

Scottish fiddler Judi Nicolson is a consummate performer. Her dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland's music has created a demand for solo appearances, concerts and dances.

Classically trained from an early age, her passion was to play traditional Scottish fiddle music. By fifteen, she had won three Open Scottish Championships, then went on to play at music venues throughout the UK as a soloist and with some of the finest Scottish Dance Bands.

She has recorded for radio, appeared on television and in theatre. Judi moved to Shetland in 1989 and married accordionist, Ian Nicolson, taught traditional fiddle music in local schools and played with musicians including Aly Bain and Willie Hunter. Judi qualified as a violin teacher teaching both classical and traditional fiddle in Scotland.

In 2008 Judi and family moved to Texas where she teaches, and plays for concerts, ceilidhs, Scottish country dances balls and workshops in the US and Canada, where she has played for the TAC Summer School for several years. In 2017 Judi launched her FiddleMyStyle CD with Kathy Fraser Collins (Piano, Accordion), Fred Collins (Drums) and Rob Wolanski (Double Bass and Guitar). She has recorded 2 solo albums and 14 albums with various musicians and bands, and has released two tune books.

(In 2017 Judi played fiddle for the Adelaide RSCDS Winter School, and we are delighted to have her here again on the music staff at the Melbourne Winter School).

 Ian Muir
accordion (Scotland)

Ian Muir is one of the most accomplished and versatile accordionists in the Scottish music scene. His musical career has taken him all over the world performing in a variety of genres.

Ian started his professional career aged 14 at the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr and since then, as well as his busy schedule in the UK, has travelled throughout Europe, the US and the Middle East.

His band debut was with Kenny Thomson and the Wardlaw Scottish Dancce Band in 1979, and made his band broadcasting debut on BBC Radio Scotland's Take the Floor and Radio Forth's Folk around Robin programmes. He formed his own Scottish Dance Band in 1984, and broadcasts regularly for BBC Radio Scotland, and has made so many album recordings that he's lost count!

Ian is also Senior Accordion Tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

TV appearances include Thingummyjig, Shindig, Welcome to the Ceilidh and Northern Nights. In recent years he has featured on GMTV live at Hogmanay from the shores of Loch Lomond.

(The Melbourne Branch RSCDS Winter School will be Ian's first musical visit to Australia).

Kathleen Fraser-Collins
piano (Canada)

Kathy was born in Ste. Anne de Prescott, Ontario, Canada in a farming community near the Scottish settlement of Glengarry County where she grew up surrounded by fiddlers, pipers and highland dancers. She began playing the piano at age 5 and was soon playing with a number of the local fiddlers and dance bands.  

In the early 1970’s, Kathy made the career choice of music educator and went on to receive a B. Mus from McGill University and a B. Ed from the University of Toronto. In 1976 she met Bobby Brown and spent the next 35 years touring and recording with The Scottish Accent and Cape Breton Symphony Fiddlers. During this time she found herself in a variety of musical roles including piano, bass, second box, vocalist, bagpipes and even managed a few saxophone solos! Kathy taught high school music from 1980 to 2009, retiring from her home town school in Vankleek Hill, Ontario and along with her husband Fred, remains very involved in the local music scene. They perform and compete with their local pipe band and also play for many ceilidh and Scottish Country dances in Ontario with their recently formed “Torridon Scottish Dance Band”. In the past several years they have had a number of opportunities to perform throughout North America with Judi Nicolson and Ian Muir and are always thrilled to work with these fantastic musicians!. Kathy was recently inducted into the Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame and was honoured to be named Music Director for the 2015 and 2016 TAC Summer School. 

This is Kathy’s first trip to Australia and she is extremely excited to be joining the music staff of the Melbourne Winter School.

In addition to our full-week music staff, the Winter School will see a rich involvement of other Scottish dance musicians from around Melbourne and Victoria.