Winston Fitzgerald

Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald. Fiddler, b White Point, Cape Breton, NS, 16 Feb 1914, d Sydney, NS, 2 Sep 1987.

Fitzgerald, Winston 'Scotty'

Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald. Fiddler, b White Point, Cape Breton, NS, 16 Feb 1914, d Sydney, NS, 2 Sep 1987. Taking up the violin at eight, Fitzgerald learned the traditional repertoire from other Cape Breton fiddlers, and played in his teens for local social events and with a minstrel show, the Maritime Merrimakers. Though in turn a fisherman and carpenter by vocation he appeared with Hank Snow in Halifax during the mid-1930s and formed the Radio Entertainers (with Beattie Wallace and Estwood Davidson) in Sydney in 1947. His recording with the latter of McNabb's Hornpipe and Farmer's Daughter on one of his four LPs for Celtic (CX-34) is considered a Canadian fiddling classic.

One of the most influential fiddlers in the Cape Breton style, Fitzgerald also recorded for the Mac label and appeared on many compilations of Celtic and Cape Breton music issued in the 1970s by Banff, Canadian Cavalcade, and Rodeo. In later years he performed at folk and fiddling festivals across Canada as a soloist and, beginning in 1975, with the fiddle group, The Cape Breton Symphony. He appeared with John Allan Cameron in the National Film Board's Celtic Spirits (1978). Fitzgerald was described as a 'strong and gutsy [fiddler], especially at lower and medium tempo, with his own style of phrasing and ornamentation. His versions of dance tunes are both polished and emotional' (Larry Sandberg and Dick Weissman, The Folk Music Source Book, New York 1976). The US fiddler Joseph Cormier was a Fitzgerald protégé.


Further Reading

  • MacGillivray, Allister. The Cape Breton Fiddler (Sydney 1981)

    Cranford, Paul Stewart, ed. Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes (Englishtown, N.S. 1997)

    "A visit with Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald," Talking Cape Breton Music, ed. Ronald Caplan (Wreck Cove, N.S. 2006)