Bill Ochs learned to play the uilleann pipes from master pipers Andy Conroy (Roscommon), Pat Mitchell (Dublin) and Tom Standeven (Philadelphia). Ochs’s piping studies in Ireland were supported by a 1976 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ochs was the piper in the original touring lineup of The Green Fields of America, which included Liz Carroll, Jack and Charlie Coen, Michael Flatley, Sean McGlynn and Mick Moloney. Other performing credits include playing for José Quintero’s Broadway production of A Touch of the Poet, Pilobolus Dance Company’s Broadway début, the soundtrack for Bob Rafelson’s film Mountains of the Moon and the première of Wind by Eiko and Koma at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. His piping and tin whistle playing can be heard on the Rounder CD Light Through the Leaves.
Ochs is author of The Clarke Tin Whistle, a critically acclaimed instruction book now in its twenty-third printing with over 250,000 copies in print. He is also producer of Micho Russell’s Ireland’s Whistling Ambassador and co-producer of Cathal McConnell’s Long Expectant Comes At Last, CDs which were both nominated for “Best Celtic Album of the Year” in the NAIRD Indie Awards.
Ochs has written articles on Irish music for New York Magazine, Sing Out!, The Pipers’ Review and other publications. He lives in Manhattan where he teaches the tin whistle, uilleann pipes and Irish flute at his studio in midtown and at The Irish Arts Center. He also gives lessons via webcam to students in other parts of the country as well as internationally.
(Photo by Annie Berlin)