You’ll find a short 1-paragraph bio by clicking the “Marilynn” menu heading.

Marilynn Mair has shown the world what the mandolin can achieve in the hands of a skillful artist. Internationally praised for her beautiful tone, versatile technique, and impeccable choice of repertoire, over the course of the past four decades she has established classical mandolin as a valued instrument in chamber music circles worldwide. More recently she has ventured into other genres of music as well, playing choro in Rio, jazz at Berklee, avant garde premieres in Europe and Japan, and writing her own compositions. Marilynn is a mandolinist, it’s how she enters the world, and through her concerts, recordings, compositions, and books, she has created a potent legacy for generations of players and audiences to come.

Marilynn performs internationally, appearing at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Newport Music Festival, Lincoln Center, Sala Cecelia Mirelles, the Palacio de Cristal, Tivoli Concert Hall, the Palffy Palace, Schloss Eggersberg, the Kennedy Center, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and hundreds of other venues. She has represented the United States at international music festivals in Italy, France, Spain, England, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, and Japan. As a performer, she has inspired, recorded, and performed significant new works for mandolin, by composers that include Ernst Krenek, Guido Santorsola, Evan Ziporyn, Daniel Pinkham, Ann Carr Boyd, Sigfried Behrend, David Jaffe, Will Ayton, Luiz Simas, Robert N. Martel, Adam Larrabee, and others.

Over the course of her career Marilynn has released two dozen highly acclaimed solo and ensemble CDs, and appeared on numerous compilations. Although best known as a performer and recording artist, Marilynn is also held in high regard as a teacher and scholar. In 2007 she published a 224-page method book, The Complete Mandolinist, that has received international acclaim from teachers and students alike. She has researched Brazilian choro music extensively, and her articles on its history and music have been called the most complete choro resource available in English. Her bilingual choro method book, written with Rio-based bandolimist and professor Paulo Sá, was published in 2010, and “The 100 – Techniques & Exercises for Mandolinists,” was published in 2017.

Marilynn performs in a number of duos, partnering with Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas, classical pianist Nancy Nicholson, guitarist/composer Robert N. Martel, viola-da-gambist/composer Will Ayton. and others. She has also worked with a broad spectrum of musicians, from the Deutsche Zupforchester and Musica Festiva Lincopensis, to Vinicius Dorin, Arismar do Espirito Santo, Paulo Sá, Radim Zenkl, Barry Mitterhof, Rudy Cipolla, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, and Duke Robbilard. Marilynn is co-founder and director of Enigmatica, a mandolin octet specializing in Baroque, Brazilian, and contemporary music, that has released three CDs in its 18-year history. For the past decade she has performed and recorded in Brazil with several musicians including Água no Feijão, a Rio-based choro band.

Marilynn founded, and has directed the American Mandolin & Guitar Summer School since 1986. One of the first classical mandolin summer camps in the world, AMGuSS inspired the inception of the Classical Mandolin Society of America. She has also taught at the classical-music summer workshop, SummerKeys, for the past decade. Marilynn began her mandolin studies with Hibbard Perry in Providence, Rhode Island, and continued them in Vienna with Professor Vincenz Hladky of the Vienna Conservatory. She has also studied in Germany with Takashi Ochi and Sigfried Behrend, in England with Hugo d’Alton and Jack Duarte, in Rio with Joel Nascimento, and with Cuban guitarist and composer Leo Brouwer, who called her the “angel of the tremolo.”

Marilynn is available for concerts, workshops, and other events. Please inquire here!

  • “Mair travels by mandolin to Brazil and brilliance… her commitment to the music shines through.”

    – Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal

    Marilynn Mair on mandolin…touches the deepest and most engaging reaches of the ancient and passionate ‘Latin soul’.

    – Carlos Agudelo, Billboard Magazine

    “Marilynn Mair é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita”

    — Paulo Eduardo Neves, Agenda do Samba Choro (Brasil)

    “Marilynn Mair has always had the keen ability to balance classical mandolin traditions and repertoire, while constantly breaking new musical ground…a superb and versatile mandolinist and composer.”

    – – Butch Baldassari, Mandolin Magazine (USA)

    “The final repeat of the melody transmitted a strong feeling of peace and tenderness that escaped no one in the audience. It is this sensitivity and subtleness that characterized the overall performance.”

    – Brian Hodel, Guitar Review (USA)

    “Mair is unstoppable… capable of evoking any landscape, past or present, you’d care to conjure.”

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)

    “A lovely concert! We estimate your spell-bound and enthusiastic audience at close to 1800 people…”

    – Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors (USA)

    “Stepping back to the 18th-century masterworks gave her the opportunity to highlight her technique with a fresh light… her playing is thoughtful, vibrant and a delight to listen to.”

    — Terence Pender, Mandolin Quarterly (USA)

    Bring a talented ensemble of gifted musicians together playing some of the great concertos and chamber music pieces of the 1700s, present the extraordinary classical mandolinist Marilynn Mair front and center, and you have a rare combination of the right musicians performing the right music at the right time.

    – David McCarty, Mandolin Magazine (USA)

    “Marilynn Mair lives up to her reputation as an excellent mandolinist, with clear tone, a beautiful tremolo, and creative expressiveness.”

    – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)

    “A brilliant concert from beginning to end…The performance was extraordinary.”
    – La Rioja (Spain)

    “She’s a fabulous player with a wonderfully clear and lyrical sound.”

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    “A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!”

    – Guitar Magazine (England)

    “Mair displays an exceptionally gifted approach to this music, using her formidable mandolin technique with grace and sensitivity… It’s the next best thing to a trip to Rio.”

    – David McCarty, Mandolin Magazine (USA)

    “Marilynn Mair acquits herself very well indeed, a most accomplished player, able to deal with the many intricacies the repertoire demands of her.”

    – Chris Kilvington, Classical Guitar (England)

    “Marilynn Mair performs Brazilian mandolin music… she plays the mandolin as an instrument for all occasions.”
    – Vaughn Watson, The Providence Journal (USA)

    “Smudging the lines between folk and classical is an intrepid endeavor… Mair’s a superb mandolin player who has brought the instrument to unexpected places…”

    – Jim Macnie, The Providence Phoenix (USA)