Marilynn on Mandolin #21 March/April 2007


began brilliantly in February, and promises to be a great addition to the Providence concert scene. The series was conceived by me and Vanessa Gilbert, Director of Perishable Theater, to present a different concert experience for musicians and audiences alike. The kick-off concert featured the New England Mandolin Ensemble and my duo, Mair & Larrabee. Each group played a short set, and then returned to the stage, adding audience members who brought guitars, mandolins, and a saxophone, for a jam that ranged from old-time to bluegrass to jazz. Big fun! The next concert of the series will be held on June 10, and we’ll run a full season beginning in the fall.


I’m leaving for Rio February 26! Thanks to all of you who sent me names of friends and places to see. If you wonder what I’m up to in Rio over the next 3 months, check in at my website every couple of weeks and read my Brazil Log updates. And thereare some Rio concerts up on my webpage already, for those of you who don’t mind flying 5,000 miles to see a show.

AMGuSS 2007

is coming, June 25 to July 1st. The online application is up, and the flyer will be available on the webpage soon for download, orit may arrive at your house in the next couple of weeks if you’re on our mailing list. If you are not on the list and want to be, email yourself toRegistrar & Co-Director, Ralph Costanza

Following the lead of Time Magazine, that picked “you” as person-of-the-year, we’re diversifying this year’s “guest artist” slot to include Enigmatica, the New England Mandolin Ensemble, Adam Larrabee, Tom Greene, and maybe others, and we’re giving our stellar students more playing time with two small ensemble concerts one for AMGuSS-directed ensembles, and another for those who show up with some music ready to play for fellow students. It will be an elegant year, with the final AMGO concert in the ballroom of Linden Place, a beautiful Bristol mansion; the final banquet at a lovely local restaurant; and a bevy of tall ships docked in nearby Newport Harbor all week.

Bob Asprinio is back on the faculty, filling the mandocello slot that Adam has to vacate this year; Bob Sullivan will conduct and teach guitar, mandolin, and mandola; and Bob Martel returns to teach guitarand direct guitar ensembles. “From Baroque to Brazilian and klezmer to classical,” reads the flyer, and Joe Blumenthal will be joining us this year to play bass and lead a student klezmer ensemble.

If you’ve never been to AMGusS, check the webpage for a write-up of last year’s event , or download a copy of last year’s schedule to get a feel for a typical AMGuSS day. Sign up soon, as welimit enrollment to around 50 to keep the orchestra at optimal size.


hasn’t even started and it’s already a hit! The first ever, July 9-13, sold out by early February and a second week has been added from July 16-20. “A Music Vacation in Lubec, Maine” SummerKeys has been going on for 15 years, running week-long sessions all summer featuring different instruments. Sessions run for 5 days. Each mando-day will start with a class for all the mandolinists, and then each student will have an hour private lesson with me daily, and will be scheduled for 2 hours of practice time each day in a private studio. In addition, anyone can sign up for the ensemble program and play in a chamber music group with other students and instruments (flutes, violins, pianos), coached by one of the faculty. Enrollment is limited to 6, the first week has sold out, and there are already 2 people registered for week 2. So if a mando-retreat in scenic Lubec sounds good to you, don’t hesitate, as there are only 4 spots left.


I’ve got a publishing date! Mel Bay emailed yesterday to say that my “Complete Mandolinist” with be out this September. Apparentlyit’s through their first editing and heading for layout. So plan your Christmas mando-list now!


Butch Baldassari gave my new CD a stellar review in Mandolin Magazine. Yes, we’re friends, but he wouldn’t say nice things if he didn’t mean them:

“Marilynn Mair has always had the keen ability tobalance classical mandolin traditions and repertoire,while constantly breaking new musical ground… So itis with “Leave Something Unexplained”. Mair teams withAdam Larrabee on classical guitar for the title trackand the Villa Lobos classic “Bachianas Brasilieras”.Both pieces showcase a high level of ensemble playing,dynamics, and overall musicality. But perhaps whenLarrabee plays mandocello we hear a moregroundbreaking sound. “From Tregian’s Ground,” alongwith “A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen,” certainly someof the nicest tracks on the CD, reveal a very intimatereading for this under-recorded instrumental format.

“Carinhoso,” by Pixinguinha, is an exquisite solosetting that lets us hear Marilynn’s lyricism…,while another of Marilynn’s ensembles, “Enigmatica,”delivers quite a moving rendition of a Bach Adagio(from BWV 1060). Maybe the biggest surprise, andsomewhat of a musical departure, is a swingin’ littlecombo number called “East of Here,” written by Mair…. 16 tracks, 50+ minutes of music by a superb andversatile mandolinist and composer. …this CD’s a must.” Thanks, Butch!

Read other reviews and get a copy for yourself.


In honor of my Brazilian odessey, the next two articles for my Mandolin Magazine column will feature the music of Chiquinha Gonzaga and Jacob do Bandolim, with lead sheets of their music. Do the right thing, support mando-publishing and subscribe.


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 sent in May, and there will be Brazil updates posted on my website every couple of weeks between now and then, so check in often. Back issues of the newsletter are archived on my website .

I wish y’all well a speedy rest-of-winter, and keep in mind that it’s a mere 20+ days until spring. For me it’s only a couple of days until late summer in Rio, and I’ll do fall again, Brazilian style. Hope to see some of you at AMGuSS and SummerKeys when I return, with my mandolin speaking Portuguese.

Ate logo-

Posted April 12th, 2007. 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 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)

    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)

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

    – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

    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)

    “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)

    “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)

    “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)

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

    – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)

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

    – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)