The American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra

Robert Paul Sullivan (Conductor)
Marilynn Mair (Artistic Director)
Ralph Costanza (Managing Director)

Formed in 1986
Currently available for performances and recordings
For concert information email email hidden; JavaScript is required

The American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra originated at the first American Mandolin & Guitar Summer School session in 1986. Originally it existed only as part of AMGuSS, but soon the group began to meet and perform concerts independent of the summer school. Since the summer school has morphed into the “Suitcase Seminars” the orchestra has become more of a year-long ensemble. The group usually ranges from 25 players to nearly 50, depending on the availability of members and the geographic location of the concert.

Players come from the whole of North America — Los Angeles to Calgary, Alabama to Vermont, and many places in between, but the core group is located in New England and New York. Repertoire for AMGO comes from a wide variety of sources, and music for the orchestra’s concerts ranges from the Italian Baroque to the American 20th century. A recent concert included a Baroque concerto by Evaristo dall’Abaco, two pieces by Brazilian choro master Jacob do Bandolim, a concerto by contemporary Australian composer Ann Carr Boyd, entitled “Music for an Imaginary Italian Film,” music from Italy and Germany, and a piece from the American mandolin orchestra repertoire of the 1930’s.

To join the American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra, players must first participate in an AMGuSS session, as either a student or a guest artist. All past AMGuSS participants will be considered for membership, but must be able to play their parts with sufficient fluency to pass muster with their section leader.

Read a background article on AMGO written for Mandolin Magazine.

Anyone interested in more information on the American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra or the American Mandolin & Guitar Summer School should email email hidden; JavaScript is required or write to:
Ralph Costanza, Registrar
The American Mandolin & Guitar Suitcase Seminars
248 Broadlake Road
Colchester, VT 05446

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

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)

    “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

    “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)

    “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)

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

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    “Marilynn Mair é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita”

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

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

    – Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors (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 lives up to her reputation as an excellent mandolinist, with clear tone, a beautiful tremolo, and creative expressiveness.”

    – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)

    “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)

    “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)

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

    “A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!”

    – Guitar Magazine (England)

    “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)

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

    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)