Grand Master Fiddler Championship
Grand Master Fiddler Championship

Judges for the 2016 Competition

Daniel Carwile


U.S. Grand Master Fiddle Champion, Daniel has competed in virtually every major fiddle competition in the United States. He has been crowned the Tennessee Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Convention "Fiddle King" an amazing 7 times. Other conquests include Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee State Championships as well as Lake Superior, North Cascades, Colorado Open, Grand Lake National, and The World Series of Fiddling Championships.


When not competing, Daniel can often be found in the judge's seat, most recently judging Northwest Regional, Wyoming State, Oregon State, Indiana State, Colorado Rocky Mountain Fiddle Championship, and the National Old-Time Fiddler's Contest in Weiser, Idaho. 


Daniel maintains a busy schedule teaching privately and at various camps and workshops.  He has instructed at Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Camps and String Conferences the past 14 years and taught at Vanderbilt University's International Fiddle School and The Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina.



Matt Hartz


Matthew Hartz of Boise, ID is a 3-time Grand Master Fiddle Champion (Nashville, TN), a 2-time Grand National Fiddle Champion (Weiser, ID), and World Fiddle Champion (Crockett, TX).  Matthew has been teaching music lessons for 30 years and is well respected as a performer and instructor.

He is a multi-instrumentalist, as comfortable on Guitar as he is on Violin.

Recently he has released a brand new album featuring all original songs in the pop/rock/jazz vein with a lot of fiddle and folk music mixed in.  He's recorded 5 fiddle albums during his career and has also recorded with a wide variety of other artists, in many different genres on guitar, violin and bass.

Matthew performs and teaches regularly around the US.


Aynsley Porchak


Aynsley Porchak is a senior at East Tennessee State University where she is majoring in Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, and Celtic Music Studies. She currently plays in the university’s top touring bluegrass and Celtic bands, playing lead and twin fiddle.


She is the 2015 Grand Master Fiddler Championship as well as the 2014 Tennessee State Fiddle Champion.  She has competed in the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, ID  in the Grand Champion Division, placing as high as 7th.


Aynsley is also a twin fiddle champion and has toured with the Scott Woods Band on its “Swingin’ Fiddles” tour. She has recently judged the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, Idaho as well.


Aynsley feels Blessed and honored to be judging at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship and is committed to teaching and promoting the art of fiddling.




Amy Carwile


Playing the fiddle since age eight, Amy's championships include Northwest Regional, Washington State, Colorado Open, Pend O’Reille International, and Rocky Mountain Championships.  She has served as a judge at the Alabama, Kentucky, Oregon, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming State Contests, Colorado and Idaho Open, Northwest Regional, and the National Old-Time Fiddler's Contest. 


In tandem with her private music instruction, Amy travels the U.S. and internationally conducting fiddle workshops and master classes as well as teaching at summer music camps including the International Fiddle School at Vanderbilt University and the Mark O'Connor Berklee College of Music Summer String Program. 


Amy currently performs as a duo with her husband Daniel adding fiddle, piano, and vocals to their fusion of musical styles.  Together they own and operate Carwile String Studio in Lexington, Kentucky.


Bobby Taylor


Bobby Taylor is a fourth generation West Virginia fiddler who has played the fiddle for over 40 years, starting at the age of 13. He learned his music from the legendary Clark Kessinger and Mike Humphreys, both of whom lived near where he grew up in Dunbar, WV. Bobby has also studied countless American fiddle styles and conducts workshops showcasing his special blend of various styles. He retired from playing contests in 1977 to start coordinating contests for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Among his wins is the 1977 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Championship in Elkins, WV. This prestigious contest allowed all champions from other states to enter as well as West Virginians, drawing in fiddlers from all over the eastern United States and as far as Canada.


Bobby has been the coordinator of West Virginia’s Vandalia Gathering musicians’ contests at the State Capitol in Charleston, WV, since 1979. He was the coordinator of the Appalachian Open Championships from 1984-1987, a contest that drew many great fiddlers, including some of the Grand Master fiddlers.He is currently the coordinator of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, WV, an old-time music festival started in 1990. He continues to judge fiddle contests extensively throughout the country. He is also a consultant for contest promoters in the Eastern United States and beyond regarding rules and guidelines for musical competitions. He was a judge at the 2008 National Old-time Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival at Weiser, Idaho. Bobby is a former judge here at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.


He enjoys passing his own unique musical style on to younger musicians, and frequently serves as fiddle instructor at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, and Allegheny Echoes in Marlinton, WV. In 2003, Bobby was recognized for his efforts when the Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD) presented him with the FOOTBRIDGE AWARD, a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to old-time music.


Personal musical performances have included many major festivals for more than 40 years throughout West Virginia and the Eastern United States. Bobby played in Germany in 1979 as a part of the Friendship Force, at the Florida House and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC., and at the Chicago Folk Festival. In 1996, Bobby was honored to be invited to play at a banquet honoring Senator Robert C. Byrd that was attended by President Bill Clinton. In November 2005, he played at the Bluegrass and Old-time Music Festival in Harrietville, Australia. Most recently, Bobby was an invited performer at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia.