Charlie Pilzer

Musician. Producer. Sound engineer. Event organizer. Charlie Pilzer is a busy man, always devoting himself to creating award-winning Scandinavian, Celtic, folk, and acoustic music and sharing his love of the traditions with audiences, listeners, and other musicians around the world.

Well known as a dance musician (piano and bass) for New England folk dances, Charlie began his involvement with Scandinavian music in 1978, when he met the Faroe Islands-based band Spælimenninir (“the folk musicians”) during their first U.S. tour. Reflecting the international group’s membership (Faroese, Danish, Swedish, and American), Spælimenninir’s repertoire is pan-Scandinavian, with a good helping of American contra dance music.

Spælimenninir is heard throughout the public radio system in Europe and the U.S. with frequent appearances on Radio Danmark, and on Garrison Keillor's “A Prairie Home Companion”. The band is a festival favorite, appearing at the Tønder Folk and Jazz Festival in Denmark, the Festival Belle Isle in France, and the prestigious Edinburgh Folk Festival, as well as festivals in the Shetland and Orkney Islands, and countless events in the U.S. and Canada.

Charlie’s performing and touring with a pan-Scandinavian band made him ideally qualified to work with two of America’s finest performers of Scandinavian fiddle music, Andrea Hoag and Loretta Kelley, on a pair of highly acclaimed CDs of traditional and recently-composed Scandinavian tunes. Hambo in the Barn (1996) and Hambo in the Snow (2006) were released on the Azalea City Recordings label, a musicians’ cooperative which Charlie helped found. Hambo in the Snow was nominated for a 2007 GRAMMY Award as Best Traditional World Music Album.

In addition to being a performer, Charlie is a strong supporter of  promoting folk music and dance as part of everday life.  He has been on the staff at camps run by the Country Dance & Song Society and the Christmas Country Dance School at Berea College, and has served as program director for the CDSS Family Week program at Pinewoods Camp. Involved with the Washington Revels for years, Charlie is currently an Artistic Associate for Music.

When not performing, Charlie is chief engineer at Airshow Mastering in Springfield, VA. His success with mastering all the genres of music made in the mid-Atlantic region - from gospel to folk, world music to alternative - can be attributed to his broad base of experience and musical knowledge. Charlie's attention to detail is well known and is best exemplified in the audio restoration of vintage recordings. In addition to mastering a dozen GRAMMY-nominated projects, Charlie received a GRAMMY for mastering and restoration on the Anthology of American Folk Music (1997).

Following his belief that one should give back to one's community, Charlie currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Washington, DC Chapter of NARAS and works on projects for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. He is a proud member of Local 1000 of the American Federation of Musicians and a former board member of the Folk Alliance.

© Hoag Kelley Pilzer 2012