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Marcus Holden

Marcus Holden is a musician with many strings to his bow. He is a Soloist, Composer, Producer & Multi-Instrumentalist. Marcus has appeared on albums, commercials, films, some of the world's great concert venues and performed with the greats of the Australian music scene for many years.

Trained as classical violinist from the age of 8, Marcus has developed skills as a multi-instrumentalist, playing mandolin, guitar, banjo, cittern, tenor guitar, dobro, all the members of the bowed string instrument family and even the saw. He has appeared at major festivals around the world, major events such as World Expo and venues such as the Lincoln Centre in New York and the Sydney Opera House.

Marcus plays many styles of music including Jazz, Folk, Country, Blues, Classical as a soloist and as a member of many groups performing regularly with Mic Conway’s National Junk Band, The Jugalug String Band and Australia’s premier fiddle band Fiddlers Feast.

Marcus writes, arranges and produces all sorts of music – classical and orchestral, gypsy, country and celtic, soundtracks, trad Irish, jazz and even comedy.

Marcus has worked in collaboration with some of Australia's greats producing for the likes of Angus Woodhead, Charlie McMahon, Damien Cohen, Jimmy Little, Liz Frencham, Merilyn Steele, Michael Fix and Tony Eardley whilst recording with Allan Caswell, Col Buchanan, Col Joye, Diesel, Jimmy Barnes, David Campbell, EJ Barnes, Don Spencer, Doug Ashdown, Graeme Connors, Ian MacNamara, Jeff Cripps, Jenny Morris, John Swan, John Williamson, Jonah’s Road, Luke O’Shea, Pat Drummond, Pete Best, Richard Clapton, Ross Wilson, Sean O’Boyle, Smokey Dawson, Wes Carr and the list goes on.

Marcus is also a teacher of violin and uses the concepts of Yoga etc to develop a holisitic approach to violin and mandolin playing. He provides individual tuition for intermediate and advanced players has conducted classes, performances and masterclasses in schools such as Monte Saint Angelo and Scotts College, Sydney, Wesley College, Melbourne, QU, many of Australia's Major Festivals as well as in far flung places like Alice Springs. In conjunction with the Australian Children's Music Foundation he has taught in several Juvenile Justice Centres in NSW and is currently employed as a specialist class violin teacher by the Diocese of Parramatta, Sydney.

He is also a founding director of the Golden Fiddle Awards.

Artist Website

albumMarcus Holden
'The Brolga'
Catalogue Number RRR73

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Rouseabout Records is excited to announce the release of Soloist, Composer, Producer & Multi-Instrumentalist Marcus Holden’s new album The Brolga.

The Brolga is the second of Holden’s ‘folked up classics’ albums and features tunes from his childhood, some lingering in the recesses of his mind for years, while others are more recent additions. In some cases, fragments of the original melodies are used to create almost entirely new works.

Like it predecessor, the critically acclaimed Cicadas & Roses, The Brolga features works from Satie, Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bartok and many more re-interpreted by Holden to create approachable, contemporary and interesting sounds - anything from Bluegrass to Bossa with lots of familiar tunes in new settings along with an original composition ‘Trying to Get to Sleep’. 

Immaculately performed by some of Australia’s finest musicians, The Brolga includes artistic contributions from Oscar Henfrey (Drums), Elsen Price & Stan Valacos (Double Bass), Ian & Nigel Date (Guitar), Rachel Johnston (Cello), Richard Booth (Clarinet), Garry Steel (Accordian), Kevin Kelly (Bodhran) not to mention Holden himself playing Violin, Guitars, Mandolin, Violas, Keys, CelloBass, Dobro & Cittern just to name a few!

The album cover art features a stunning work of the same title by Marcus’s late mum Patti Holden to whom the album is dedicated to.

The Brolga (RRR73) is available digitally through iTunes and on CD through MGM Distribution or directly from Undercover Music via mail order. The digital release contains an additional eighteen bonus tracks, twelve of which were composed by Marcus himself.

Album Track Listing

  1. Oh My Beloved Father (G. Puccini)
  2. Hewlett (T. Carolan)
  3. Polovetsian Dance No.17 (A. Borodin)
  4. Trying to Get to Sleep (M. Holden)
  5. Gymnopédie No.1 (E. Satie)
  6. Peter and the Cat (S. Prokofiev)
  7. Adagio in G Minor (T. Albinoni)
  8. Gavotte (J.S. Bach)
  9. Rumpole of the Bailey (J. Horovitz)
  10. Siciliano (J.S. Bach)
  11. Tango (I. Albeniz)
  12. Scherazarde (Rimsky-Korsakov)
  13. Prelude (J.S. Bach)
  14. Stick Game (B. Bartok)
  15. The Summer Knows (M. Legrand)
albumMarcus Holden
'Cicadas & Roses'
Catalogue Number RRR62

Buy     itunes


Listen on SoundCloud
Listen on Spotify


Rouseabout Records is excited to announce the release of Soloist, Composer, Producer & Mutli-Instrumentalist Marcus Holden’s debut solo album Cicadas & Roses.

Cicadas & Roses features pieces which Holden studied as a young violinist and challenged him to bring new life into by the likes of George F Handel, J S Bach, Antonio Vivaldi & Gabriel Faure, as well as an original composition ‘To Say Goodbye’.

Cicadas & Roses presents music that is adventurous and renewing. The classics are interpreted to create approachable, contemporary and interesting sounds.

Growing up with the smell of roses and the sound of cicadas drifting through his Canberra home, and playing classical violin since the age of eight, Marcus Holden has always sought out unique and inquisitive explorations of music genres – jazz, blues, folk, ragtime, celtic and beyond.

Like the wandering rose or seasonal cicada, Marcus Holden’s music gives expression and innovative realization to a wide world of wonderful genres.

Immaculately performed by some of Australia’s finest musicians, Cicadas & Roses includes artistic contributions from Raimondo Fioravanti, Garry Steel, Andrew Toner and Elsen Price, not to mention Holden himself playing violin, guitars, mandolin, violas, keyboards, strings, percussion, harp, dobro, qin & cittern just to name a few ……. Sheesh!

The album cover art features a work of the same title by Marcus’s mum Patti.

Check out this month’s edition of Undercover Radio to hear tracks from the album.

Album Track Listing

  1. Berceuse (Gabriel Faure)
  2. Allegro in F Major (George F Handel)
  3. Dolores Waltz (Emile Waldteufel)
  4. Caprice no. 24 (Nicolo Paganini)
  5. Sicilienne (Maria Theresa von Paridis)
  6. Song of India (Rimsky-Korsakoff)
  7. Brandenberg Concerto in G Major (J S Bach)
  8. Danse Macabre (Camille Saint Saens)
  9. Salut D’Amor (Edward Elgar)
  10. Sympathetic Jasper (EL Catlin)
  11. Anitra’s Dance (Edvard Grieg)
  12. Winter: From the Four Seasons (Antonio Vivaldi)
  13. To Say Goodbye (Marcus Holden)
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What the Media have to Say...

‘The Brolga’

Here's what the media have to say...
“Marcus Holden is a multi-instrumentalist with a love of many genres of music and over the years has been involved in folk, country, Celtic and classical recordings. The Brolga sees his take on some “folked up classics”. Holden re-interprets these works with an approachable, accessible and often mind-boggling intensity featuring some of Australia’s finest musicians and brings a whole new slant to some timeless works. There are some twists and turns that will surprise those familiar with the works, almost bordering on new compositions at times, but this does not distract from the musicality and may even bring new fans to the original music.”
(Jodie Crosby, Country Music Capital News - Read the Review)

Marcus Holden’s musical vision is so complete that it has become a prism through which almost any music that passes is refracted into his own likeness. His version of O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, for instance, melts all the high drama of a Callas-style reading, leaving a lilting waltz: a still-gorgeous melody, but now played faster by his multi-tracked violins and violas, so you’d swear it was some well-worn folk song rather than an opera classic. Garry Steel’s accordion wafts into the foreground for a solo, while Holden’s guitars, Elsen Prices’s bass and Oscar Henfrey’s drums provide the soft bed on which the melody sprawls.
On Turlough Carolan’s timeless Irish air Hewlett Holden plays all the instruments with a keen sense of how to provide the least accompaniment required to highlight the beauty of melody, and just as he has underplayed the drama of the Puccini, here he underplays the pathos. Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 is given the slightest country twang by Holden playing it on a Dobro, before he hunts up perhaps overly rapturous extrapolations from the harmonies on violin, and the light swing treatment given to The Cat’s Theme from Peter and the Wolf seems to suit the puss admirably.
Price, among the best improvising bassists around, sprinkles his magic on a clutch of tunes towards the end of the album, including Bach’s pretty Siciliano (BWV1031) and LeGrand’s The Summer Knows. (John Shand)

For starters in the very late 1920s it was an unknown genre which became known as “Hill Billy” music, from there to “Country and Western”, until the “Western” was dropped, and it became, “Country Music”. From this, a number of new sub-genres were spawned, “Country Rock”, “Alternative Country”, “Country Blues”, and a whole lot more. The merging of Country and classical music was never even considered until Marcus Holden made it all happen. His own special arrangements, with the addition of banjo, Dobro and assorted guitar sounds usually associated with country music create a brand new sound. Throw in fiddle and mandolin riffs, and the country, folk sound is further enhanced. Works by Puccini, Bach, and other great masters are featured, along with other traces of melodies that Marcus Holden remembers from his childhood, are entwined to form “new” tracks as well. I must admit I have never ranked classical music as my favourite form of music, but this would have to rank as one of the most relaxing CDs I have ever encountered and this includes some tracks which could almost fall into the “Bluegrass” category. His previous album which was released a couple of years ago, “Cicadas and Roses”, broke down whatever barriers my somewhat feeble brain had erected around classical music, and this one has followed suit. I suppose this album could best be described as Marcus Holden's, “Musical meanderings” as he puts his own stamp on all of the fifteen tracks. It carries the title of “The Brolga”. A glass or two or your favourite red, a good stereo, a comfortable chair and “The Brolga” and you've got it made. (Twang Talk, Burt Everett, Dec 2016, News Mail)

Marcus always comes up with something new, refreshing and very interesting. (Bob Cady, Highland FM)

(Judy Baker, ArtSound FM) s

Now that is what I call music! What an artist! He is brilliant.
(Merle Scott, Sweet FM)

Marcus has come up with a fascinating album by offering his own interpretation of some familiar melodies (familiar even to a folkie like me). He always seems to give a strongly individual twist to whatever music he's playing ... and it works. The album cover is gorgeous as well. Warren Fahey said to me once: "Ah, Marcus is a force to be reckoned with" and that he is. (Bruce Cameron, 'Come All Ye', 2MCE Bathurst)

We just dropped in to let you know that Marcus Holden's CD " The Brolga " has arrived safe and will be added to our programs. Great tracks and should do good things for Marcus.
(Joy and Pejay, Country Roads)

It's a great album.
(David Milne, Huon FM)

Great album --- Find it just so relaxing ---- Will put some tracks to air next week, and will review it in one of my columns in the next few weeks.
(Burt Everett, BUNDABERG GUARDIAN / 94.7 Coral Coast Community Radio)


‘Cicadas & Roses’

Marcus Holden has not exactly rushed into this. For four decades the violinist and multi-instrumentalist has been a fixture on Australia's music scene, yet this is the first album under his own name. He uses it to revisit classical pieces he studied as a young violin student, reverse-engineering them into the folksy, countryish, slightly jazzy idioms in which he has built his career. Purists coming from the classical perspective may loathe the imposition of grooves and improvising, and perhaps some rusted on to the roots aesthetic may find one or two pieces too twee. But put prejudice aside and what you have is a collection of gorgeous melodies by Faure, Handel, Paginini, Bach and more played with a charming naivety. Rimsky-Korsakoff's Song of India, Elgar's Salut d'Amour and Grieg's Anitra's Dance work particularly well; the Bach and Vivaldi less so. Holden ropes in a few colleagues while playing a van-load of bowed and fretted instruments himself.
(John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald)

What do you say about an artist who has appeared in over five hundred recordings and plays all bowed string instruments, mandolin, guitar, banjo, piano, qin, cittern, tenor guitar, dobro, and the musical saw.

He also does percussion!

I think I hate him!

Marcus is a member of Mic Conway's National Junk Orchestra, Jugalong String Band and Fiddler's Feast.

He is also the director of the Golden Fiddle Awards.

Obviously Marcus is a musical genius and prepared to share his knowledge and considerable musical ability and make music fun and it shows in this CD.

Marcus has compiled a CD of classical music to which he sometimes adds a personal twist.

He is ably supported by Raimondo Fioravanti (guitar), Garry Steel (accordion, piano), Elsen Price (double bass) and Andrew Toner (guitar synthesizer).

I loved the CD from the moment I began listening and it continues to provide further enjoyment the more I listen to it.

The opening 'Berceuse' by Gabriel Faure is a wonderful violin piece that is just so easy to listen to.

My favorite track was the second one, Handel's 'Allegro in F major'.

I am not sure Handel ever expected it to be played in a slightly reggae style but I defy you to listen and not be tapping your feet.

The 'Dolores Waltz' is quite a mournful melody that suits Marcus's viola playing perfectly.

Paganini's 'Caprice No 24' is another catchy turn played to perfection.

Marcus shows his skill on the mandolin in a beautiful rendition of 'Siciliene' from the Romantic Period.

This would make superb backing track to any movie set in a rustic vineyard in Sicily.

Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Song of India' is given an oriental touch at the beginning.

Once again this track is just beautiful to listen to.

Bach's 'Brandenburg Concerto in G Major, 3rd Movement' was another favorite track.

'Danse Macabre' by Saint Saens is again a different type of track with great guitar work.

Elgar's Salut D'Amor is one of those tracks you would love to listen to sitting in front of an open fire with a glass of your favorite beverage in your hand.

Another track that really intrigued me was 'Sympathetic Jasper' which gives the tune a Scott Joplin ragtime treatment.

The piano in this is great to listen to.

Grieg's 'Anitra's Dance' from 'The Hall of the Mountain King' suite is another interesting lnterpretatlon of a well known piece.

Vivaldi's 'Winter from the Four Seasons' was a wonderful penultimate track, again just so beautifully rendered and such easy listening.

Just to show those old composers that he can do it too, Marcus completes the CD with his own composition 'To Say Goodbye’.

It certainly holds up in that company and is another lovely track to just sit and enjoy.

I can’t recommend this CD highly enough.

I wish all young people could hear it as an introduction to classical music.

I loved it.

(John Williams, Trad & Now, July 2014)

Trad & Now Review (PDF Format)

Whilst quite outside my comfort zone, I really love this album.

(Warren Fuller, 2NUR)

A great album!

(Lorraine Pftizner, 2YOU)

Thanks for sending your beautiful music to Artsound.  It is a pleasure to share it with listeners. 

(Jeannie McLellan, Artsound FM)

"Beautifully crafted and presented, Holden’s ‘ownership’ of the classics recorded is amazing!"

(Tony Bates, 3MDR)

Marcus Holden’s best known in country circles as a fiddle player, having been involved in numerous projects, including the Fiddlers Feast and the Golden Fiddle Awards. But Marcus is also an accomplished classical violinist, and his new album draws on that as much as his folk and country sensibility. This is an exquisite album, which takes some of the great musical classics and brings them back to their roots, with a simpler, more folk sensibility that works beautifully. This album is stripped back and organic, but at the same time it conveys the subtleties of these timeless tunes in a warm, accessible way. My favourites included Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto In G Major, the ethereal Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the gentle Salut D’Amor and Marcus’s own wonderful composition, To Say Goodbye. Other standouts are Sicilienne and Song Of India. Marcus’s playing is superb, as is that of fellow musicians Raimondo Fioravanti, Garry Steel, Andrew Toner and Elsen Price. This album is a gorgeous, rich musical tapestry that is a sheer joy to listen to.

(Susan Jarvis, Country Music Capital News)

Country Music Capital News Review (PDF Format)

Really interesting 

(Helen Bath, 99.9 Voice FM)

Another very interesting CD – Marcus Holden never fails to deliver something different!

(Bob Cady, Highland FM 107.1)

Great album!

(Carol Lucas, 2Bobradio 104.7FM)

Whatever genre Cicadas & Roses is classified as, the musical works are brilliant. The release just shows the professionalism of Marcus as a Master a true musician. 

(Raymond Phillips, Country Harvest) 


(Burt Everett, Bundaberg Guardian)

Very impressed with the creative skills of all involved

(Tony ‘Slinga’ Slingsby, 5GTR FM MT.GAMBIER SA)