about Dréos

Dréos is a Celtic ensemble of performing composers who create new music and reimagine old music using a traditional vocabulary. Combining the blazing piping of Eliot Grasso, virtuosic fiddling of Brandon Vance, and powerhouse accompaniment of Glen Waddell, Dréos offers listeners exciting, handcrafted music in a living tradition, and brings audiences and students into a centuries-old cultural-artistic dialogue. Dréos has been engaging listeners in North America and in Europe since its inception.

The word “Dréos” comes from Scottish Gaelic, and translates into the English word “blaze” with the idea that it is light that helps us see the past, present, and future, and that it is the warmth of musical performance around which we gather for community and dialogue.

Dréos’s debut recording, The Clearing (2015), was hailed by New York’s Irish Echo as “a taut, accomplished work that plays at the crossroads between Irish and Scottish music” and was named one of the top ten recordings by Folk, World & Roots Music in the year of its release. Their second album, The Odyssey of These Days, a recording of original chamber music written in response to the abstract paintings of artist Wesley Hurd, was recognized by the Oregon Arts Commission with an Artist Fellowship in 2017. Having performed for the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh, U.K., the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, Ireland, the World Music Series, University of Oregon, Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle, and points beyond, Dréos offers compelling music, live and recorded. 


Performer-scholar, Eliot Grasso has taught, performed, and recorded throughout North America and Europe for over two decades. He has performed for President Clinton at the NEA Awards, appeared as a featured artist on "Prairie Home Companion," performed and taught for Armagh's William Kennedy International Piping Festival, and appeared as a soloist in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for Scotland's National Piping Festival, Piping Live. Grasso has over a dozen recordings to his name, including an album of unaccompanied uilleann piping, which is volume 1 of Na Píobairí Uilleann's series of master pipers, The Ace and Deuce of Piping. Grasso holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Oregon, and a M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick. Grasso's artistic and academic work as a performer, recording artist, and researcher has earned awards from the traditional music community, recording industry, and academic establishment.


Brandon Vance holds a B.M. and M.M. in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.  At the age of 14, he made history as the youngest fiddler to win the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship.   Vance has performed and taught at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy, University of Oregon, and served as a judge for the Columbia Pacific Regional Scottish Fiddle Competition.  Vance is also a composer with a distinctive melodic and harmonic vocabulary, having given the World Premiere of his original composition “Gael Storm” for fiddle and orchestra with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall.  In 2006, his composition, Twin Towers Lament, from Beyond the Borders received a nomination for “Best Celtic Instrumental Song” from Just Plain Folks Music Awards in LA. In addition to having co-produced five albums, Vance is much in demand as a recording artist.  His track with Steve Rice's klezmer band The Simchatonics, was featured on the 7th season of the TV-series Sons of Anarchy.  


A Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Glen Waddell was once punched in the face by his brother the day before a cornet competition, leaving him with the misfortune of having a split lip and the choice to play or sit out. He played.

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irish music magazine

"...lovely tight playing with the musicians sparring and bouncing off each other to give a very lively and natural sound ... Some of the best music of 2015."

Irish Music Magazine, Alex Monaghan

Irish Echo

“The Clearing is a taut, accomplished work that plays at the crossroads between Irish and Scottish music. Dréos as a group is very tight musically – each of the members has superior skills – but I think it’s the chemistry that Grasso, Vance and Waddell share that makes their music especially interesting."

 - The Irish EchoDaniel Neely






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