Violinist and fiddler Miriam Sonstenes performs, composes and teaches music in Victoria, BC, Canada. She is a member of the award-winning acoustic roots trio The Sweet Lowdown
After emigrating to Canada from Germany at the age of 9, Miriam’s first musical studies began with classical violin and piano lessons. Upon graduating high school, Miriam began her post secondary music education at the Vancouver Academy of Music. After completing a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Victoria in 2006, and freelancing as a classical musician for a number of years, Miriam found herself drawn to fiddle music; Irish, Appalachian, swing and bluegrass, the roots music which has come to inspire her current playing, projects and compositions.
A decade of performing and recording with many west coast bands and solo artists has helped shape her original sound. Freelance study throughout the Pacific Northwest, Ireland, North Carolina and Louisiana has further enriched her knowledge and appreciation of diverse fiddle traditions.
A member of The Sweet Lowdown since 2009, Miriam has toured Canada, the US and the UK, performing for audiences of folk and roots music lovers to critical acclaim. The trio has produced 3 albums, all recipients of multiple awards and award nominations. Recent performances include the Canadian Folk Music Awards, and CBC’s Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean.
In 2015 Miriam was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Musician’s Grant to study with bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks in Marshall, North Carolina.
More recently, her original song ‘Don’t Walk Away’ was picked up and recorded by IBMA award winning bluegrass band Balsam Range, on their 2016 album ‘Mountain Voodoo’.
When not on the road, Miriam attends to a full teaching studio at home. Her innovative and patient style has made her a sought-after instructor, both in Victoria and across Canada. She regularly teaches at camps in BC and in the North West Territories. She led the Victoria Conservatory of Music group fiddle classes for 6 years. Recent camps and workshops include Nimblefingers Bluegrass and Old Time Workshop, Gavin Lake Fiddle Camp, Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Workshop, and Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.