Founded in 1990, Ensemble Galilei is an ensemble of players from both classical and Celtic backgrounds, playing Irish and Scottish airs and dance tunes, early and medieval music, and original compositions. The Ensemble takes their name and inspiration from the life of composer Vincenzo Galilei, whose influence, some four hundred years ago, helped restore a vital element of passion to the music of the day. 

To achieve their unique Celtic sound, Ensemble Galilei has melded the elegance of chamber music with the energy and excitement of traditional music. An intricate blend of instruments grants listeners passage to another world, evoking musical images of the ancient Celts and bringing these images to life for today’s audiences. They have performed and toured globally for almost twenty-five years, and have been featured on multiple recordings and radio performances. They have notably collaborated with National Geographic to create First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World and collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art for First Person: Seeing America.

Virtuoso technique, an instinctive feeling for the idiom, and the courage to improvise . . . they play with energy, splendid ensemble, good humor and imagination. ”

— The Washington Post


Isaac Alderson
uillian pipes and Irish flute 

Ryan McKasson
fiddle and viola 

Jackie Moran

Kathryn Montoya
recorders, whistle, oboe 

Sue Richards
Celtic harp 

Carolyn Surrick
viola da gamba 

with Between War & Here collaborators 

Neal Conan 
Anne Garrels 

and infrequent but beloved co-conspirators 
Bob Berky 
Lily Knight 
Adrian LaTourelle 
Hanneke Cassel Block, fiddle 
Bill Pullman


 Uillian pipes and Irish flute

Isaac Alderson began playing Irish traditional music as a teenager and in 2002, at the age of 19 won the senior All-Ireland championship titles on Irish flute, whistle and uilleann pipes. He is the only American ever to achieve such a victory. He has toured with Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul, Celtic Crossroads, Runa, and Comas, and has worked in the pit orchestra work in Sting’s musical The Last Ship. He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed band, The Yanks, and tours regularly with Ensemble Galilei. Most recently he performed in the show Riverdance on their 20th anniversary three-month tour of China. He has also performed across the United States and in Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Colombia.


Fiddle and Viola 

Ryan McKasson claimed the National Scottish Junior Fiddle Championship in 1995 and went on to become the youngest National Scottish Fiddle Open Champion in 1996. He has shared the stage with Elvis Costello, Beck, Björk, Gavin Friday and composer Phillip Glass, among others. His Seattle-based band, McKassons, plays to packed houses, bringing an American sensibility to traditional Scottish folk—songs that have the feel of Celtic music blended with the spirit of folk rock and bluegrass.