“A versatile, soulful fiddler and vocalist, …Lauren is…powered by the Right Stuff: an irresistible sense of fun, and her endearing radiation of the pure joy of making music. “
“Lauren is an emerging gem on the contemporary string scene.”
Lauren Rioux was born in Portland, Maine, and grew up in DownEast Maine after spending her early years in California, Hawaii, and Florida.
At age 6, Lauren began studying classical violin. She continued her studies throughout her youth, and in high school started performing around Maine as part of an alternative folk-rock band named Kalliope, along with four students from the University of Maine, Machias. Her parents were supportive; “they were very cool, ” Lauren says, “about letting their sixteen year old pack up the station wagon with gear and head off for the weekend to play music with a bunch of dudes.”
Lauren was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Southern Maine, where she embarked on a rigorous study of music performance-classical and jazz, and music education. While still completing her degree, Lauren began her own string studio in 1999, and in 2003, eager to develop her skills as an educator, she attended the first convention of the American String Teacher’s Association. It was at this gathering that Lauren discovered her intense love of fiddle music. “The Saline Fiddlers came out on stage [for the opening ceremonies], …and [they] were fiddling and dancing around… and they sounded really great. I was completely blown away. I was like, ‘where was this when I was a kid!?’”
At this convention Lauren met many stars of the non-classical string scene, including Matt Glaser, Bruce Molsky, Liz Carroll, Jay Ungar, Natalie and Brittany Haas, and Jeremy Kittel. She immediately enrolled in Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camp and threw herself into the study of fiddle music with feverish intensity. Looking back on this transformative period in Lauren’s life, fiddler Darol Anger remarks:
Watching strong musicians advance has been one of my great joys in this life, and watching Lauren’s progress from strong violist to versatile, soulful fiddler and vocalist has been wonderful. Lauren applies a powerful methodical focus to everything she does, and her determined assault on the peaks of great fiddling is inspiring, not only to me, but to her enormous crowd of friends, students, and admirers.
Lauren picked up fiddling swiftly, skillfully, and whole-heartedly.
Lauren Rioux fiddles from the heart with soul and joy. This, in combination with her warm tone, elegantly expressive phrasing, and playful style, leads her to create beautiful, distinctive music. Lauren performs regularly with Darol Anger, Scott Law, and Mike Block in the band Republic of Strings, and Scott Nygaard and Joe Walsh in Crow Molly. Lauren also tours with fellow fiddler Brittany Haas of Crooked Still. She has shared the stage with Bruce Molsky, Tim O’Brien, Mike Marshall, Vasen, Laurie Lewis, Natalie Haas and others at such festivals as Wintergrass, Delfest, Rockygrass, and Celtic Connections.
In her debut album, All the Brighter, Rioux presents a beautiful collection of melodies that artfully explore themes of both heartache and hope, embracing and celebrating the richness of life. Rooted in the old-time tradition, and drawing inspiration from Sam Cooke to Hillary Hahn, her music is at once timeless and fresh.
Lauren Rioux fiddles from the heart with soul and joy. This, in combination with her warm tone, elegantly expressive phrasing and playful style, leads her to create music that artfully explores themes of both heartache and hope. With her debut album, All the Brighter, Lauren presents a beautiful collection of melodies that embrace and celebrate the richness of life. Rooted in the old-time tradition, and drawing inspiration from a wide swath of musicians, from Sam Cooke to Hillary Hahn, her music is at once timeless and fresh.
Lauren performs regularly with Darol Anger, Scott Law, and Mike Block in the band Republic of Strings, and Scott Nygaard and Joe Walsh in Crow Molly. She also tours with fellow fiddler and All the Brighter producer Brittany Haas of Crooked Still. She has shared the stage with Bruce Molsky, Tim O’Brien, Mike Marshall, Vasen, Laurie Lewis, Natalie Haas and others at such festivals as Wintergrass, Delfest, Rockygrass, and Celtic Connections.
In addition to her prowess as a performer, Lauren is enthusiastically sought out for her teaching expertise and leads classes and workshops across the country. She also maintains a very active private studio in her home state, Maine, through which she teaches a delightfully rowdy group of over thirty violinists, violists, and fiddlers ranging in age from 5 to 70.