Northumberland National Park
Composer and performer of traditional Northumbrian pipes folk music.
Kathryn took up the smallpipes aged just nine years old
Picking up the pipes
Kathryn took up the smallpipes, a type of Northumbrian bagpipes, aged nine – she was inspired by her family, especially her father Mike who was heavily involved in the local traditional music scene.
By the age of 13 she’d won a host of smallpipes competitions and was also making a name for herself as a player of the Shetland fiddle – which she learned from fiddle master Tom Anderson at Stirling University’s traditional folk summer school.
Kathryn released her first album, On Kielder Side, in 1984 aged just 14 and in 1986 she turned professional. She has since toured extensively, both solo and with The Kathryn Tickell Band.
Artists Kathryn has recorded with include:
- The Chieftans
- Beth Nielsen-Chapman
- Andy Sheppard
As well as composing her own music she has collaborated with musicians including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and has also worked with Sting on four albums and performed with him at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Kathryn and the National Park
Katherine’s music is a product of her childhood in Northumberland and she learned her craft at remove farmhouses in the National Park where traditional music is still part of the community.
Recent years have seen Kathryn concentrating mostly on her teaching, composition and her work with the Kathryn Tickell Band.
She is now Artistic Director of the Folkworks at Sage Gateshead.
Kathryn's musical achievements were recognised at the highest level when in 2009 she was awarded the Queen's Medal for Music. It's a true honour as Kathryn was only the fourth person to have received the award and the first from a folk background - previous winners have been from the world of classical music.
Did you know?
Jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard wrote a piece for Kathryn which was premiered at the opening of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge which was officially opened by the Queen in 2002.