Oona Grady grew up in the rich musical community of Ithaca, NY, and has been been listening to and playing music as long as she can remember. She began her musical studies on violin with Jan Butler and Kirsten Marshall at the Suzuki school Ithaca Talent Education, and soon after added Irish fiddle with Ed McGowan. As a teenager she gradually shifted her focus from classical to Irish music when she began traveling to New York City, where she won the regional Fleadh Cheoil, and to Ireland to compete in the final Fleadh (the Fleadh is colloquially known as the All Ireland, a highly respected Irish music competition and festival). At the same time, her musical experiences were expanded by regularly attending world class music events in her own back yard— such as the Fingerlakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, where she began performing with her cousin, flutist Marie De Mott Grady, in various Irish music ensembles.
At eighteen, she decided to pursue a “Diploma in Irish Traditional Music” at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. While attending UCC she received the Donal “Doc” Gleeson Award for performance excellence, made many long lasting musical friendships, and traveled to Spain and the Isle of Man to perform with the UCC Irish Traditional Music Society (of which she was an active committee member). She graduated with honors from UCC with a Diploma in Irish Traditional Music (’05) and a Bachelor of Music (’08).
She returned home to Ithaca in 2009 and began performing regularly in the region with her Irish band The Grady Girls. While back in Ithaca, she was inspired and encouraged by many local musicians to branch out into playing other types of music on the fiddle (especially Old Time and Cajun) and also began playing the upright bass. These new musical adventures lead to many performance opportunities, projects, and band formations, including playing with: The Evil City String Band, Home Remedy, the Bouvin Lovers, and Luke G & the Candyhearts.
Recently relocated to Saratoga Springs, she is excited to make new musical connections and continue exploring new musical styles. She has added the electric bass to her repertoire, and has a Irish traditional guitar and fiddle duo with Saratoga Springs musician James Gascoyne called Drank the Gold. Stay tuned for more!
Oona Grady began her teaching career as a teenager when she co-organized and taught an Irish music camp for her cousins and siblings one summer. It was a grand experiment not without it’s pitfalls (imagine seven unruly students that you’re related to!), but she learned a lot and eventually deemed it a success. Since that auspicious beginning, she has always considered teaching to be part of her work as a musician.
While studying music in college in Ireland, she taught group classes for a few of the local Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) branches, as well as private lessons. Once back in Ithaca, she had the opportunity to study the Suzuki Method of teaching violin with Carrie Reuning-Hummel, and began applying the philosophical and theoretical concepts of Suzuki to all of her teaching.
During her five years in Ithaca, she developed a busy and successful private violin/fiddle studio, where she specialized both in Suzuki violin and Irish traditional music. Recently relocated to Saratoga Springs, she is developing a new studio right in the downtown (long-distance lessons also available over Skype), and is in demand both as a Suzuki teacher and an Irish music specialist.
Whatever the type of music she is teaching, she goes about it with a positive and infectious style, with the goal of instilling a love of music in all of her students.