Marilynn on Mandolin #13 Nov/Dec 2005


Next Friday, November 4th, I’m playing a benefit for “Reach Out & Read” at the Providence Art Club with Bob Martel. We’ll play classical & choro, it’s for a very good cause, & there will be food, drink, art and authors reading. On Sunday, November 6th at 8:00 PM, I’m playing David Hahn’s “Passionate Isolation,” the Classical Mandolin Society’s 2004 prize-winning composition, with Bob Sullivan in his New England Conservatory faculty recital at Jordan Hall. This one’s free and Bob always puts together an interesting program, so check it out!

In December, Enigmatica plays its annual gig at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol RI on Sunday, December 4th. Enigmatica is also joining the New England Christmastide Musicians, and I’m playing with both groups, for a concert at Stone Soup Coffeehouse in Pawtucket, on Saturday, December 17th. There’s more info on all these gigs on my webpage.


I’m once again offering a Christmas-shopping CD special on my website. Buy any three CDs and I’ll send along a copy of my Christmas CD, “The Sounding Joy,” for free. The Sounding Joy has sold over 50,000 copies and has been praised by the Boston Herald as “a peaceful antidote when it feels as if the holiday season is running amok,” and by the New York Times as “bearing musical tidings of comfort and joy.” Need a little break from the rush? You might want to listen to the musical samples up on the website.


… has come and gone, and what a great event it was! Mandolinists, you have definitely got to put it on your calendars for 2006. The hurricane brought spectacular surf that I could watch over the heads of my students in my ocean-front cottage classroom. The students were great, and my Classical/Brazilian ensemble rocked the house with Praetorius, Corelli, and Chiquinha Gonzaga in the Sunday afternoon concert. I got to play for the first time with fabulous guitarist Jim Dalton in the Friday concert, and Enigmatica made the drive out to play w/ me in Saturday’s concert. I also played w/ August Watters’ New England Mandolin Ensemble both nights, and have signed up to do more gigs with them in future. Radim Zenkl was the Guest Artist, and it was a treat to hear him play again. It was all way too much fun – thanks to August for making it.


And this year it’s June 26th to July 2nd – save the dates! We’ll be sending out the flyers in December or January, so if you’re not on the mailing list, email registrar and fellow-director email hidden; JavaScript is required.


The mandolin method is still on hiatus. It just takes too much brain space to stick it into the schedule I’ve been juggling this fall. I’m hoping time clears out soon so I can get back to processing the last few pieces, and editing and checking the sequence of the 200+ pages. It’s a long time coming, but I want to be sure it’s worth the wait. I’ll only get to do this once. There’ll definitely be a big party here when I finally get it in the mail to Mel Bay!


I’ve got two exciting gigs coming up in February. On Sunday, February 5th, Paulo Sa and Radim Zenkl are joining me at Roger Williams University for a “Mandolin World Summit.” There’ll be hands-on workshops on Brazilian and Czechoslovakian music in the afternoon, and a concert of solos, duos, and trios in the evening. The concert is free, and there’s a $20 charge for the workshops (RWU students are free). Then on Saturday, February 11, Adam Larrabee and I are traveling to Dayton, Ohio for a concert sponsored by the Dayton Mandolin Orchestra. I think there’ll be classes too – check the calendar for more information closer to the event.


Mandolin Magazine should be out soon with my column on music of the Classical Era, including a lead-sheet version of Beethoven’s “Sonatina in C Major” for mandolin as the musical example. I’m also waiting for my first “Teachers’ Spotlight” to come out in CMSA’s “Mandolin Journal”. It’s a series I’ve started to highlight CMSA teachers – what they teach, what they play, and what they think about the mandolin. The first issue features Toni Nigrelli, Nicola Swinburne, Charlie Rappaport, and Rich DelGrosso. Anybody interested in being included? Email me.


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 January 2006. Until then I hope your holiday season is joyous and full of the people and music you love. We’re supposed to get our first snow of the season tomorrow, and it’s only October, so I’m expecting to have a few days in front of the fire with my mandolin before the new year.


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

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

    – Carlos Agudelo, Billboard Magazine

    “A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!”

    – Guitar Magazine (England)

    “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)

    “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)

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

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

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    “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)

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

    – Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal

    “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 é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita”

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

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

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (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)