Fiona Driver is a fiddler/violinist, composer and teacher from Orkney. Her parents moved to Hoy before she was two, and had a further three children. They home educated all four children, moving from Hoy to Harray and then finally to Stromness. For much of their childhood the family had no electricity, no bathroom and for a time no running water indoors. Fiona moved to Rendall aged eighteen where she spent another twenty years before moving to the Scottish Highlands recently.
Fiona taught herself to read music and play the fiddle at the age of fourteen, after discovering her great grandfather Percy Driver's fiddle and bow in the barn on the family croft. Prior to that, her only musical experience came from an out-of-tune recorder given to her aged five, although her parents' Jazz and Classical collections were often on the cassette player, and she discovered Scottish Dance Bands through 'Take the Floor' on Radio Scotland when she was very young. Fiona's progress was extremely fast, as she went straight into advanced fiddle tunes with no teacher and no idea what was meant to be difficult. She practised up to six hours per day, developing excellent ear skills as well as sight reading.
Percy Driver was well known as a gardener, growing orchids at Blenheim Palace a century ago, and also bred working terriers. He was a musician too and his fiddle and bow thankfully survived half a century of neglect before being rediscovered.
From the age of fifteen Fiona played with the local Strathspey and Reel Society, which gave her the opportunity to play in a large group, play solos, lead the group at times and also to enter competitions. She won many competitions for her playing and composing, including the Senior Orkney Young Musician of the Year Competition at sixteen; quite an achievement when she had only been playing for a couple of years. She also won the Ronnie Aim Memorial Trophy for Composition, twice.
Fiona started writing tunes just a year after she began playing, and has written over 275 to date. Many of her tunes have been played and recorded by fiddlers across the globe - including Troy MacGillivray, Katherine Wren, Sarah Deere Jones, Shane Cook, Douglas Montgomery and Manus McGuire.
Fiona met her husband, Shetland fiddler Trevor Hunter, at the age of fifteen, and he became one of the biggest influences on her playing and teaching. Fiona attended three of Trevor's fiddle workshops in her mid teens, and they married twenty two years later. They plan to record an album together as soon as time allows.
Fiona also plays with guitarist and drummer Graham Simpson. Fiona and Graham were members of The Lone Star Swing Band for many years, playing Western Swing and touring with the National Theatre of Scotland's show "Long Gone Lonesome". Fiona and Graham also recorded an album together, 'Orkney Fire' and are planning another album shortly. During lockdown they had a go at remote recording........
Fiona has a strong interest in classical music and played violin with Orkney Camerata and the Orkney Orchestra for many years. She now plays with orchestras and chamber groups in Inverness.
In 2018 Fiona graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands, receiving a BA (with Distinction) in Applied Music, and in her spare time likes hiking, gardening, photography, embroidery, cooking, sewing and knitting.
In December 2018 Fiona launched the first album of Orkney birdsong, 'Orkney at Dawn'. The first track can be heard here along with a slideshow of Orkney photographs:
In 2020, after waiting the entire duration of lockdown, Fiona and Trevor bought a house and moved 20 minutes away from Inverness to the lovely village of Beauly where Fiona is now very busy teaching, recording and composing with a fabulous view of the Beauly Firth towards Inverness. She is also trying to climb as many mountains as possible.
“Immensely accomplished and stylish” - FiddleOn Magazine
“Totally captivating” - Folk World
“Simply stunning fiddle playing” - Reading Folk Club