Matt Cranitch grew up in a musical family in County Cork in the south of Ireland. From a young age, he displayed a particular aptitude and talent for music, and went on to establish a significant reputation as a traditional fiddle-player. He has won All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles, The Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas Crotty Cup. He has performed in many parts of the world, at concerts and festivals, as well as on radio and television. Author of The Irish Fiddle Book, first published in 1988, and now in its fourth edition, he has also contributed to other books on Irish traditional music.
He has been involved in various performing groups, including Na Filí and Any Old Time, with each of whom he made a number of recordings, as well as Sliabh Notes, who have recorded three albums: Sliabh Notes (1995), Gleanntán (1999) and Along Blackwater’s Banks (2002). Among his other recordings are Éistigh Seal (LP, 1984; CD, 2005) which consists entirely of slow airs, and The Living Stream (2010), a highly-acclaimed recording with Jackie Daly, with whom he plays and tours regularly.
He has presented many master-classes and workshops on various aspects of Irish traditional music, particularly fiddle-playing, and has read papers at a range of conferences. An authority on the Sliabh Luachra fiddle style, he was awarded a ‘Government of Ireland Senior Research Scholarship’ in 2002 for his work on the music of this region. He received a PhD from the University of Limerick in 2006 for his study, ‘Pádraig O’Keeffe and The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Tradition’.
In parallel with his performance career, he has led a very active life in academia. Having graduated from University College Cork with degrees in electrical engineering and in music, he lectured for quite a number of years at Cork Institute of Technology, where his subject areas and interests embraced the domains of electronic engineering and music technology. He also taught courses in Irish traditional music at University College Cork. In addition, he has presented guest lectures in Irish traditional music at a number of other educational institutions including University of Limerick, University of Newcastle and Boston College, as well as at many summer schools and festivals.
He has been a long-time consultant for the Geantraí series of traditional music programmes on TG4, the Irish-language television service, as well as for the TG4 Gradam Ceoil music awards in the period 2000–2007. He has been an adviser for the Arts Council of Ireland Deis scheme for the traditional arts (2005–2013), and also a board member of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (2007–2010). In 2003, he received the ‘University College Cork Hall of Fame Award’ in recognition of his contribution to Irish traditional music. “An exceptional musician and an authority on Irish fiddle-playing, Matt Cranitch has been a major force in Irish music since the early 1970s.” – The Rough Guide to Irish Music.