Eileen Ivers ’87, ’19H

Women of Achievement Award Recipient

Eileen Ivers is a world-renowned fiddler who has been hailed as one of the great innovators and pioneers of Celtic and World music. A Grammy winner and Emmy-nominated fiddler, Ivers has brought her rousing performances to the London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops and over 40 orchestras across the world.

Dubbed the “Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by The New York Times and a “sensation” by Billboard magazine, Ivers has appeared before presidents and royalty around the world. A former member of the bands Cherish the Ladies, The Green Fields of America, Chanting House and The Hall and Oates Band, her recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums, and numerous movie scores, including “Gangs of New York” and “Back to Titanic.” Her 2016 album, “Beyond the Bog Road,” reached number one on the Alt-Country Roots Music Chart.

She thrilled audiences with her fiddle playing in the worldwide theater sensation “Riverdance,” and has shared the stage with The Chieftains, Patti Smith, Sting, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Al Di Meola, among others.

Ivers grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and as a child was rooted in Irish traditional music. At the early age of eight, she began competing in All-Ireland fiddle championships, earning first place nine times. She went on to become deeply interested in various genres of music, much of which she heard in her culturally diverse neighborhood, and incorporated those sounds in her recordings and performances. About one of her performances, The Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “Ivers’ presentation was music with the kind of life and spirit that come together when talented artists from different backgrounds find the linkages that connect all forms of music…no wonder the audience loved every minute.”

Ivers attended Iona College and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She focused intently on her studies but also maintained her love of music and of her fiddle. In 2019, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to innovation, excellence and deep dedication to bringing people together through music, Iona College conferred upon her the degree of Doctor of Arts.