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Watauga Musician Crowned Champion Fiddler at Prestigious Music Competition in Pitlochry, Scotland

Nov. 11, 2013. Maura Shawn Scanlin, of Watauga County, was crowned champion at the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition  on Oct. 27 at Blair Castle in Pitlochry, Scotland.  

Maura Shawn Scanlin
Maura Shawn Scanlin

Glenfiddich is considered to be the most prestigious competition in traditional Scottish fiddle music.  Musicians are invited based on musical merit, recognition and through other prestigious competitions.

“The Glenfiddich Championship is a competition brimming with amazing talent and it was an honor to be invited to Scotland to compete. Winning this year takes the experience to a whole new level,” Maura Shawn said.        

Blair Castle was built in 1265 and is the seat of the Dukes of Atholl, where 18th century Scottish fiddler Neil Gow was patronized by three Atholl Dukes throughout his career.  His portrait and fiddle grace the great hall where the competition was held.  The late violinist Yehudi Menhuin also drew  a band together at Blair Castle for a BBC documentary stating, “Scottish fiddle music is living proof that the origins of all music are in our pulse and the true and colourful folk heritage and tradition must always remain at the very source of culture and musical life.”      

Maura Shawn has been playing the violin for 15 years.  Her teachers have included Nan  Stricklen of Banner Elk, Dr. Nancy Bargerstock at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, Sarah Johnson at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem and currently Lucy Chapman at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Maura Shawn has played in ASU’s Chamber and Symphony Orchestras; the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra and Chamber groups where she attended high school; and currently in the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Chamber and improvisational groups where she is a college freshman.   Maura Shawn has attended various summer camps throughout the US and Canada studying both classical violin and traditional fiddling styles and has been a member of the local Celtic band the Forget-Me-Nots since the groups inception 10 years ago.          

Maura Shawn has won numerous awards including first place in the Charlotte, NC Young Artist’s Competition (junior division), the Charlotte Young Artists Competition (junior and senior strings), the North Carolina ASTA Competition and the Asheville Youth Concerto Competition.  She will appear as a soloist with the Asheville Symphony this week playing the third movement of the Tchiakovsky violin concerto. 

In addition in 2012, she was selected to be concertmaster of the NC All-State Honors Orchestra and the NC Regional Honors Orchestra.  Maura Shawn is a Junior US National Scottish Fiddling Champion (2008) and a two time Open US National Scottish Fiddling Champion (2010, 2012). Maura Shawn is the daughter of Dennis Scanlin and Charlene Trestain.