Marilynn on Mandolin #11 ~ July/August 2005

AMGuSS 2005

What a year it was! The students, the concerts, the orchestra, the 20th-Anniversary party… Barry Mitterhof & Joe Selly were our Guest Artists, and their concert and workshops were superb. Their fabulous Wednesday performance, in keeping with the AMGuSS ideal, included music of all sorts – Debussy, Jacob do Bandolim, klezmer and bluegrass – all played superbly. Other AMGuSS guests teaching and performing during the week included Providence multi-fret-performer Tom Greene, Boston musician extraordinaire John McGann, the Northampton trio Klezamir, my great septet Enigmatica, most of whom signed up for the week as well, and LA bluesman, Rich Del Grosso – who also signed up for the week, mainly to satisfy his hankering to play in a mandolin orchestra.

Of course the faculty – Ralph Costanza, Bob Sullivan, Adam Larrabee, and new faculty member Bob Martel – kept busy teaching, performing, coaching small ensembles (this year including Baroque, Classical, Contemporary, and jazz), and performing. For the 20th Anniversary we finally put together a long-planned Faculty Quintet to start off the eclectic Faculty concert on Thursday. Tuesday I played with Enigmatica, Adam L, and Bob S., and Barry satin for a set of choro. That concert also featured the world premiere of the piece that won the 2004 Classical Mandolin Society of America composition competition, “Passionate Isolation,” by David Hahn. Enigmatica premiered “Anniversary,” written by Adam Larrabee to celebrate the AMGuSS 20th, and “The Blue House” by John Goodin.

The American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra had a special treat in store when they arrived on campus – a brand-new piece, less than a week old, written by Bob Martel called, “and music grows under summer skies” or “amguss” for short. It was an amazing experience to work out new music in only 6 days,with the composer playing guitar right in the middle of the orchestra. Truly a special part of AMGuSS 20. Friday was another great AMGuSS night, with the 20th Anniversary Prom, with dinner, dancing, and tiaras & crowns for AMGuSS students and facultystill here after 18-20 years: Edith Poetzschke, Pat Kibler, Antonia Carlyon, Grace Phelan, Ralph Costanza, Bob Sullivan, Lucky Checkley, Josh Bell. Oh yeah, and me. I’ll try to get a wrap-up of AMGuSS 2005 on the webpage soon.


I’m playing with “my” mandolin orchestra on Monday. The Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra adopted me last year as an honorary 2nd mandolin when I sat-in with my pal Lou Chouinard on a borrowed mandolin while visiting Minneapolis last summer. Now I’ve got an official shirt and a return engagement on Monday, August 15th, at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Check the webpage for details.

FIGA – the Fretted instrument Guild of America – is meeting in Providence August 17-21 at the Providence Marriot. I’m giving a workshop on choro for them on Thursday, August 18 @ 11:00 AM, playing a 40-minute set on the main stage @ 6:00 with a yet-to-be-determined cast, and then playing one of a dozen 12-minute sets in the All-Star concert that night, with Bob Martel. Want to come? You can register as my guest @ the FIGA table for $15 for all events for the whole 4 days.

CAPE COD FESTIVAL OF MANDOLINS – What a delight to be asked to teach and perform on the Cape in September by mandolinists new to my world. August Watters and crew have a great week-end set up September 16-18, with guest artist Radim Zenkl coming in from California. All the info is here. I’ll be directing a Brazilian/classical ensemble and playing in concerts with August & Enigmatica. It should be beautiful in Sandwich MA that time of year.

PROJECTS – I’ve chained myself to the computer this summer and now have 168 pages of my mandolin method completed and probably ~50 to go. I have a publisher, and the book will include a CD. I’m hoping to have this project all tied up by month’s end, so it’s taking a chunk out of beach time, but it will be worth it to have a new American classical mandolin method in print for the first time since the 1920’s.


I’d love to hear from you. If you know anyone who would like to get this update, have them send me their email. And thanks for reading!

The next issue of “MARILYNN ON MANDOLIN” will be out in September (or October) 2005, and will feature a look at upcoming fall events. Until then, enjoy these hot humid days we’re all grumbling about, and remember how much we’ll miss them ’round about December.


Posted August 13th, 2005. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • “A brilliant concert from beginning to end…The performance was extraordinary.”
    – La Rioja (Spain)

    “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)

    “A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!”

    – Guitar Magazine (England)

    “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)

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

    – Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors (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)

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

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)

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

    – Carlos Agudelo, Billboard Magazine

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

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    “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)

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

    – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)

    “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)

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

    – Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal

    “Marilynn Mair é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita”

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