Meet the Dovetail Ensemble!

Jodi Beder

Jodi BederJodi Beder, a freelance classical cellist performing widely from NY to DC (including work with the National Philharmonic, Washington Bach Consort, the Folger Consort, the Vivaldi Project, and the Low End String Quartet), is an expert in both baroque continuo playing and microtonal music. She plays her famous plugged-in painted cello Zizi in the innovative cabaret-rock band Zen for Primates (CDs on Bummer Tent Records). She has collaborated with many poets and dance and theater companies over the years, including writer, director, and American University theater professor Caleen Jennings; she is currently at work composing music for an upcoming AU theater production. Dr. Beder earned her PhD in music theory from the City University of NY Graduate Center, and attended the Professional Studies program at the Mannes College of Music, where she studied cello with Paul Tobias. She edits music, philosophy, poetry, and other books for W.W. Norton and Princeton University Press, and is an avid native plant gardener at her home in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

Daron Douglas

Daron new photoDaron Douglas brings to the meeting years of living in the mountains, playing Renaissance music, leading contra and English country dance bands, some music school, the spell of New Orleans, and much old-time music making. She weaves on her grandmother’s loom, fiddles on a violin her father made, and gardens in zone 9…hibiscus, beauty berry, and arugula. This year she’s making music with the dance bands Foxfire and Goldcrest, performing French musettes with the 7 piece Wazozo Zorchestra, and celebrating her recording of her great-grandmother’s ballads.

Daron’s bands: By & By String Band . Wazozo . Foxfire

Nic Gareiss

shetland08_tapfeet_001_liev-001-e1310569501844Described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and, “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene,” by the Boston Herald, Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss has performed as a featured soloist with string music luminaries The Chieftains, Solas, Darol Anger, Dervish, Liz Carroll, Bruce Molsky, Alasdair Fraser and Martin Hayes.  He was commissioned to create new work for the 75th birthday of composer Steve Reich, which premiered at the Cork Opera House in 2011.  A fiddler’s dancer, his work re-imagines movement as a musical activity, morphing dance into a medium that appeals to both the eyes and the ears. Nic draws from many percussive dance traditions to weave together a technique in service of his love of improvisation, traditional footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. Nic holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University and recently completed his MA in ethnochoreology at the University of Limerick.

Andrea Hoag

Andrea Hoag photo copyright Michael G. StewartAndrea Hoag is a leading performer of Swedish folk fiddling in America. The first American to graduate from the Folk Violin Pedagogy program at Malungs Folkhögskola (Sweden), Andrea also studied with elder tradition-bearers Pekkos Gustaf and Nils Agenmark. She’s a composer and an interpreter of American fiddle styles, known for her versatility and imagination. Her music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today. A big fan of surprises and unexpected connections, Andrea hatched the idea for Old Doors/New Worlds while driving a slow route home one summer. She serves as Dovetail’s coordinator. Andrea is avid about passing on tradition, has taught at many music camps including The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan, and Swannanoa Fiddle Week, and has presented at Berklee College of Music, the University of New Mexico, and the American String Teachers Association National Conference.

Agi (Agnes) Kovacs

Agi KovacsAgi Kovacs was born and raised in Hungary where she studied at the Hungarian National Ballet Institute where she was trained in classical ballet, Hungarian folk dances and Historical dances. She moved to the USA 20 years ago and she has been a principal dancer with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble for the last 8 years and a teacher at Knock On Wood Tap Studio for the past 3 years. Agi has been performing Worldwide for many years now, entertaining all ages with all of her diverse styles of dances. From Old Style Irish (Sean Nos) to Appalachian clogging and Flatfooting, English clogging and Cape Breton Styles and American Tap, Hungarian Folk, just to name a few. She has taught and continues to teach and perform in schools in the DC, MD,VA, NC, NY area. Her tours and performances include venues like the Ram’s Head, Institute of Musical Traditions,Delfest, Greyfox,Catskills Irish Week, The Birchmere, The Kennedy Center, Vancouver Folk Festival,CA, Ireland Folk Festival,IR, Shrewsbury Folk Festival,England, Irish-Schottish Music Workshop Weekend, Konstanz,Germany. Agi presents a variety of traditional dance styles and as always, she only performs to live music. She feels very fortunate to know and work with amazing musicians throughout the years and she is looking forward to working with many more in the years to come.

Owen Morrison

Owen-Morrison-150x150Owen Morrison has been accompanying fiddle tunes on the guitar for most of his life. He began playing for contra dances at age 15 and he now makes his living playing for many types of dancing. While steeped in fiddle music, Owen has also studied classical, jazz and flamenco guitar, and graduated from Guilford College with a degree in music/classical guitar performance. He has taught guitar styles at Ashokan, Augusta and Pinewoods Camp, and has been a featured performer at many festivals, including the National Folk Festival, LEAF and the Old Songs Festival. His dance bands include Elixir, Night Watch, House Red and The Morrison Brothers Band. Owen has also worked extensively as an accompanist with fiddlers such as Rodney Miller and Jamie Laval.

Mark Puryear

Dovetail-photo-copyright-Michael-G.-Stewart011-compressed-and-cropped-square.jpgMark Puryear performs in a variety of musical styles including blues, jazz, and Afro-pop. Over the decades he has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festivals, the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center, the D.C. Blues Society Festival, Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, in clubs, on college campuses and at private events. He toured and recorded with the acoustic blues trio BluesWorks. While residing in Micronesia he led a jazz trio and performed many styles of popular music. Mark has had the pleasure of working with blues artists such as Phil Wiggins, Gaye Adegbalola, Nat Reese, Jay Summerour, Warner Williams and Daryl Davis. Recently Mark has performed in a trio with Harold Anderson and Phil Wiggins and with the Dovetail ensemble.

Phil Wiggins
Harmonica, Vocals

Phil-Wiggins-150x1501Phil Wiggins, Blues harmonica player, singer, songmaker and teacher, was born on May 8th, 1954 in Washington D.C. He learned from some of the most notable acoustic blues musicians in the area:  Flora Molton, Ester Mae “Mother” Scott, Chief Ellis, John Jackson, Archie Edwards, John Cephas, and others.  He performed with Flora Molton at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 1972-1976, where he met John Cephas.  He performed with John as the Blues duo Cephas and Wiggins for over 30 years.  As ambassadors of the Piedmont Blues, Cephas and Wiggins took their music all over America and the world.  This included such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, and the White House.  Phil served for 5 years as Artistic Director for the Centrum Blues Week in Port Townsend, Washington, and has taught at numerous music camps dedicated to perpetuating traditional Blues for over 25 years.

Baakari Wilder


Baakari Portrait

Baakari Wilder is internationally known for starring in the Broadway musical Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk. He received a Bessie Award for his performance, and later assumed the lead role for a year. Baakari’s dancing has delighted audiences around the world in places such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, France, Africa, Brazil, Germany, and Japan. He appeared in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, the Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp”, and as a guest performer on FOX channel’s “So You Think You Can Dance”.  Baakari has a Bachelors of Arts degree in theatre from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the assistant artistic director of the Washington D.C. based company “Capitol Tap”.

We’ve also had the pleasure of working with:

David Greely
Violin, Vocals

david2-200sqDavid Greely is a Breaux Bridge, LA based fiddler, vocalist and songwriter. As a founding member and co-leader of the hugely popular Cajun band, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, he has appeared at major festivals and venues worldwide. He was a student of Dewey Balfa, having received a Louisiana Folklife Apprenticeship grant in 1992 to study with the master Cajun musician. David has also studied extensively the styles and repertoires of master fiddlers Varise Conner and Dennis McGee, and has developed his own distinctive approach to Cajun fiddle.

David was with the Old Doors/New Worlds project from 2009-2011. You can hear his fiddling and singing on our CD/DVD.

Leigh Pilzer
soprano saxophone and bass clarinet

leigh_pilzer_sepia-150x150Leigh Pilzer is a native of the Washington, DC area and earned her degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She has toured with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. She has arranged numerous compositions for a variety of big bands and brass quintets and co-leads the Jen Krupa-Leigh Pilzer Quintet. In addition to her academic work at Berklee, Leigh earned Masters degrees in Jazz Studies and in Saxophone Performance from the University of Maryland and is currently working on her doctorate in Music Theory at the Catholic University of America.

Leigh played soprano saxophone and bass clarinet with the Dovetail Ensemble from 2011-2012, and can be heard and seen on our CD/DVD.

Carson Reiners

carson-200sqOriginally from NJ, Carson Reiners started dancing at the age of 12 and has since studied and worked internationally in the field of dance. She has been a recipient of the fellowship program at Alvin Ailey and scholarship at Ballet Hispanico and has attended Jacobs Pillow Choreography Lab. She studied also at the Rotterdam Dans Academy in Holland and has a BA in Dance from the Anton Bruckner Universitat in Austria. She has performed in Holland, Germany, Austria, Spain, and the US. She currently dances with the Red String Dance Company/Loni Landon, Project 121/ Kate Grifler, and the CMDP/Cleo Mack. She collaborates with Likvid Theatre, a theatre group based in Moscow, Russia, and with Stop Irrational Music.

“I dance to forget why I dance. I need an edit button. I swim in rainwater and attempt to not fall off of rooftops. I like to collect things, like people. I like to take time to move about the world alone.”