Marilynn on Mandolin #17 July/August 2006


The decade-ending 1986-2006 edition was fabulous, but I think I say that about AMGuSS every year. (And if I didn’t I’d just have to close up shop.) There’s a pic up onf the website & a wrap-up article with more pictures will appear quite soon.

The concerts were incredible. AMGuSS Faculty Bob Sullivan, Ralph Costanza, Adam Larrabee, and Bob Martel put together a concert of excellent short sets that wowed their students and the rest of the audience. Guest artists Radim Zenkl and the New England Mandolin Ensemble rocked the house and surprised the crowd by combining forces on Radim’s “Aurora Borealis” (coolly arranged for 5 by NEME leader August Waters). Radim also brought NEME’s Mitch Nelin to the stage in his set for some great mandolin/mandocello jams. And Jim Dalton played his stunning solo “Gifts of the Bard,” just published by Wolfhead Music. My CD release concert for “Leave Something Unexplained” opened the series and, to my delight, all of the players were there, except Paulo Sa, who couldn’t make it up from Rio. The “big band”— mandolins, bass, and percussion — performed for the first time outside the studio, and I played all my solos — a big deal for me. Enigmatica also played a great set in that concert. And the student small-ensemble concert on Saturday was the best ever, with the groups nailing pieces from Beethoven to Brazilian to Boukas in the 2-hour plus performance.

Saturday’s final concert was performed at the RISD Auditorium for a lighting of Providence’s acclaimed WaterFire, in my ongoing series of “Mandolin Tango” events. AMGO played the first set and sizzled under the baton of Bob Sullivan. The highlight of the AMGO rep for me this year was “Suite Argentine” by Luis Gianneo, a piece I have loved for years but never performed. John Craton, of Wolfhead Music, supplied score and parts for his terrific arrangement — all 5 movements of the original rather than the 3 recorded by Jacob Thomas decades ago — the orchestra nailed the tricky cross rhythms, and Radim & I got to have fun playing the solos. It was a real treat. Then — my own reward for a week of hard work — the second set was “Marilynn & Friends” with the Faculty Quintet, Enigmatica, my duo-partner Adam, Radim (who also played some solos), and the CD “big band”. The crowds were large and enthusiastic, and the music was sweet — is there any better feeling in the world?


My new CD is out & I am excited about it. It’s happy, personal, cool, fairly informal, and is a snapshot of my musical life from February through May, expertly captured by genius recording engineer, Joe Auger. Paulo Sa, Radim Zenkl, and my bass-playing nephew Robert put down their tracks as part of February’s “Mandolin World Summit,” with Ellen Santaniello & Joe adding percussion. Adam & I recorded some of our current rep, including the CD’s title track, and Enigmatica added a movement of Bach’s Concerto for Two Harpsichords, giving me a chance to play a solo line I have always loved in counterpoint with Isabel Eccles on the other solo line. There’s music by Will Ayton, Radim, Paulo, and by me too. I translated two of my accordion songs, “Champagne” and “Diablo,” for mandolins, and wrote “East of Here,” a cheery Cape-Cod-hurricane-inspired tune, and a more sombre solo, “And She Has Flown,” written for my friend Carleigh who died in November. The cover, designed by Laura Watts, is mysterious; there are no notes to explain the music — in keeping with the title; the dedications elicit a smile from those who understand; and the quote from Edward Hopper sums it up: “If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” Don’t miss this one — I’m out on a limb and dancing a jig! You can read more about it and order one.


My Mandolin Magazine column on 3rd position is submitted but not yet seen. CMSA’s Mandolin Journal is MIA, but I’ve got some Teacher’s Spotlights ready to go if it ever reappears.


Is very actively in progress. I finished the corrections to the first draft, and Jacque Russom undertook and completed the big job of text editing. I’m nearly done implementing her corrections, and am working on my own music corrections as well. Then there’ll be the final tweaks, a new order for the book CD, and I should be able to send it off before the fall semester begins (knock wood). I tell you, creating a 224-page book with CD and readying it for publication is not for the faint of heart!


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. There are fall dates on the calendar already, with more in the works, so check back to the web page soon. Here in RI we’re in the middle of a heat wave, with the temperatures heading over 100 today in Providence, so we’re all working to maintain our cool. Hope y’all have a great late summer & be sure to give yourself a chance to catch up onyour down-time.


Posted August 28th, 2006. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • “A brilliant concert from beginning to end…The performance was extraordinary.”
    – La Rioja (Spain)

    “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)

    “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)

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

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    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)

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

    – Carlos Agudelo, Billboard Magazine

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

    – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)

    “A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!”

    – Guitar Magazine (England)

    “Marilynn Mair é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita”

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

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

    – Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal

    “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)

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

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)