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Andrew Collins

As a solo artist and founding member of some of Canada's most celebrated string bands, Andrew Collins is at the centre of a burgeoning Canadian acoustic music scene. He is a prolific composer, performer, educator and accomplished multi-instrumentalist. Andrew plays mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar, and fiddle, deftly navigating across the bluegrass, old-time, jazz, blues, swing, Celtic and classical traditions.

Andrew's two longest-standing collaborative projects, the Creaking Tree String Quartet (CTSQ) and the Foggy Hogtown Boys, bring together some of the most talented acoustic musicians in Canada. Both bands have received national and international recognition for their musicianship and creativity in composition and arrangement. CTSQ has earned four Juno Award Nominations and received four Canadian Folk Music Awards, while the Foggy Hogtown Boys have earned numerous awards from the Central Canada Bluegrass Association and were nominated as Best Ensemble at the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Andrew's career as a solo artist is no less impressive. The Central Canada Bluegrass Association nominated him five times as Mandolin Player of the Year, which he secured in 2005. He has engineered and produced several albums that showcase the breadth of his abilities as a composer and instrumentalist. In 2003, Andrew produced and recorded an album of ten instrumental duets entitled Likewise (2003), collaborating with guitar virtuoso and fellow Torontonian Marc Roy. His debut solo album, Little Widgets (2005), is a self-produced collection of genre-bending originals that earned him a Canadian Folk Music Award for Pushing the Boundaries in 2006. In 2007, Andrew took a different track and collaborated with world-renowned Celtic musician, Brian Taheney, to release Mando Lore (2007). Andrew and Brian's mutual love of traditional music is apparent on every track of the album, which features various instruments in the mandolin family on new renditions of old Celtic and American old-time tunes. In addition to working on his own albums, Andrew regularly contributes to other albums as a session musician.

Andrew is also a committed educator. With two years of training at Toronto's Humber College Jazz program, one year at the South Plains College Bluegrass Program, and many years of self-training under his belt, his students benefit from his knowledge of theory, technique, and diverse musical genres. In his twelve years as a private instructor and educator at many of the top North American and international Bluegrass, Celtic, and Jazz workshops, Andrew has developed a unique program for teaching improvisational method to mandolin players that remains popular with students of all levels. He has prepared curricula for several weeklong learning-intensive music camps, including the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop (Canada), Sore Fingers (United Kingdom), Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp (United States), and Goderich Celtic College (Goderich, ON).

Over the last seven years, Andrew has added engineering and producing to his list of professional skills. Working out of his Toronto-based studio, Sytesounds, he has recorded albums by The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Creaking Tree String Quartet, Chris Coole, Brad Keller, John Showman, and Tuxedo, and has produced and engineered albums for Annie Lou, The Unseen Strangers, Laura Repo, Kitgut Stringband, Sweet Lowdown, and Lickin' Good Fried, among many others.

Andrew's most recent self-produced and engineered solo project follows in the tradition of his 2005 album, Little Widgets. Cats and Dogs (2011) features twelve instrumental pieces and showcases Andrew's proficiency as a composer and versatility in the folk, contemporary jazz, and classical traditions. In the newest phase of his performance career, Andrew is now fronting his own trio and touring his music. In this project, he is supported by multi-instrumentalist Mike Mezzatesta (mando family, guitar and fiddle) and James Mceleney on upright bass.


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