Hailed by The Grand Rapids Press as “top-notch, instrumental wizardry,” The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best-known instruments through a young, progressive lens. Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn, often joined by percussionist, Fritz McGirr, all hold Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance, which have given each the technical foundation to explore the limits of his/her instrument and helped the group build a reputation for musical excellence. The Moxie Strings compose the majority of their pieces and arrange melodies from many traditions, resulting in a genre-blurring blend of ear-catching melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms. Alison performs on a newly-invented, electric cello, and Diana on a contemporary 5-string violin, both through a variety of audio effects pedals. Fritz performs on a mix of world percussionist instruments and drum kit. Their polished, high-energy show and unique sound are redefining strings' role in contemporary music, and have quickly made the band one of the country’s most promising instrumental acts.
Soon after forming in 2007, The Moxie Strings were inspired not only to perform, but also to teach. Having made the exploratory journey from classical music to a world of eclecticism and music creativity, the three have now dedicated their careers to helping young musicians make this life-changing and transformative transition. Moxie clinics focus on musical self-discovery and the importance of incorporating socially and culturally relevant genres of music in the music classroom. They have taught clinics in over 100 schools throughout the US, and also present on their research and methodologies to teachers at many music education professional development conferences. During most clinics, The Moxie Strings perform for students on electric instruments, teach music by ear, and introduce non-classical playing styles. The group has researched and created an innovative sequence of activities designed to introduce improvisation to classically trained musicians, which they employ at every clinic. The Moxie Strings deliver their message in a fun, accessible way, and stand before students as the illustration of the many opportunities that music holds. Current Magazine insists that “the future of music could not be in better hands.”
Diana co-founded the instrumental fusion trio and educational ensemble, The Moxie Strings, and also tours as the fiddle player for Irish super-group, The Elders. Diana graduated with highest honors from the University of Michigan School Of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance with Teaching Certification. While at UofM, she had the honor of studying with renowned violist, Yizhak Schotten, as well as highly acclaimed string instrument pedagogue, Robert Culver.
Diana is a studied Americana fiddler, song- writer and classical violist, and makes her living performing, recording, and teaching music. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference and Christian Howe’s Creative Strings Workshop, where she later returned as an instructor. She has studied with well-known string players such as Jeremy Kittel (Turtle Island String Quartet), Casey Driessen (Fiddler for Bela Fleck’s The Flecktones), Mike Block, Wendy MacIsaac, Christian Howes, and Alex Hargreaves.
You can find Diana as the face for Shar Music’s non-classical music campaign, and for D’Addario Strings’ line of orchestral strings. www.sharmusic.com/non-classical/
Alison is a studied contemporary cellist, specializing in rhythmic and percussive playing styles. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University under the instruction of revered cellist and conductor, Bruce Uchimura. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference, where she had the opportunity to study with renowned cellists Rushad Eggleston, Mike Block, and Tristan Clarridge. She has also studied with celebrated contemporary cellist, Natalie Haas.
Alison’s teaching experience includes 10 years of private instruction, and over 14 years as counselor, teacher and recreation director of the American String Teachers’ Association Summer Camp.
With various projects, Alison has performed with hip-hop icon Kanye West, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gaelic Storm, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Ragbirds, and as a soloist with the Battle Creek Symphony. She has performed at The Palace at Auburn Hills, The Breslin Center, The Ark, VanAndel Arena, Fifth Third Ballpark, Ann Arbor’s Top of the Park, The Intersection, Michigan Irish Music Festival, among many others, and for crowds of up to 25,000 people.
Fritz is an alumnus of the University of Michigan classical percussion program with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. Fritz had the pleasure of studying with world renowned Michigan faculty including multi-percussionist Joseph Gramley, vibraphonist Cary Kocher, and pedagogy legend Michael Udow.
Fritz is passionate about traditional percussion of many cultures, and has studied Brazilian and Afro-Cuban drumming with Michael Spiro (Indiana University) and Mark Lamson (Sol e Mar Music Collective), attending master classes and workshops taught by both. Fritz was selected to research and perform for Neil Sisauyhoat’s (University of Wisconsin, Madison) Doctor of Arts dissertation recital on the sacred Bata drumming of Cuba. This effort included the memorization of over 100 separate rhythms associated with the 23 Santeria Orishas. Fritz also studied at the University of Limerick, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance to broaden his knowledge of the traditional music of Ireland and obtained a bodhran performance certificate. His experience there included studying with bodhran greats Tommy Hayes (Riverdance), Mel Mercier (University College Cork) and Jim Higgins (Riverdance, Altan, Lunasa). While in Limerick, Fritz also studied ethnomusicology, focusing on the globalization of traditional Irish music. Drawing from his work in Ireland, Fritz was able to combine a very traditional style of bodhran performance with an adapted technique to create a modern rhythmic style applicable to folk, rock, and pop drumset rhythms and idioms.
"Top-notch instrumental wizardry"
The Grand Rapids Press, Local Spins