Since first hitting the professional scene in the early 1980’s, Alan has made a name for himself as one of the most technically gifted mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music. He was an original member of such ground-breaking bands as The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, BlueRidge and, for the last 15 years, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. He has been voted Mandolin Performer Of The Year eight times, including 2018 through 2022, by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA). His IBMA awards include 2019 and 2020 Mandolin Player Of The Year, 2020’s Gospel Recording Of The Year for the highly-acclaimed recording Gonna Rise & Shine, Instrumental Album Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Recorded Event Of The Year, just to name a few. Alan Bibey & Grasstowne have had over twenty #1 bluegrass songs. His BlueRidge project, Side By Side, for which he wrote the title track, was nominated for a Grammy. He was included in the Mel Bay book, Greatest Mandolin Players of the Twentieth Century, and in 2004, the Gibson Company put into production the Alan Bibey Signature line of mandolins, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolin players in bluegrass and acoustic music history.
Mike Marshall is one of the most accomplished and versatile mandolinists in the world today. Since 2011, Mike has taught hundreds of mandolinists from around the world through his Mike Marshall School of Mandolin at the ArtistWorks website . Mike is a living compendium of musical styles and has created some of the most adventurous and interesting instrumental string-band music . Some of the groups that Mike helped found include The Montreux Band, The Modern Mandolin Quartet, New Grange, The Big Trio and Psychograss. Mike cut his teeth on traditional American music in Florida, but by age 19 he was snatched up by the David Grisman Quintet to tour and record with violin legend Stephane Grappelli. Since then, Mike has produced over 40 of his own recordings on the Windham Hill, Sony Classical, Rounder, Sugar Hill, Compass and his own Adventure Music labels and performed and recorded with Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Chris Thile, Hamilton De Holanda, Darol Anger, Joshua Bell, Mark O’Connor, Väsen and the Turtle Island Quartet. In 1995, after a trip to Brazil, Mike fell in love with Brazilian choro music and went on to spearhead a renaissance for that style of music here in the U.S. with his group, Choro Famoso, which has released two CDs. Mike is currently the director of the American Music Seminar at the Savannah Music Festival, where each spring he hand-selects 15 of the hottest young acoustic musicians from around the world to meet for a week-long intensive workshop. In 2015, Mike was presented with the Gathering’s Master Music Maker award for lifetime achievement, and he has just launched his newest venture, the Mandolin World Retreats, an exquisite mandolin gathering at fabulous locations around the world. Mike tours and records these days with his wife, German classical mandolin virtuoso Caterina Lichtenberg. Together the two have bridged their very different mandolin worlds to create a cohesive whole while chasing after their two beautiful daughters, Josefine and Pauline. They have three CDs on the Adventure Music label including one of Johann Sebastian Bach duets for mandolin and mandocello, and their latest, entitled Third Journey, is a romp through their many musical worlds.
Radim Zenkl is a mandolin player, composer and instructor from the Czech Republic. He began playing the mandolin at thirteen, and discovered bluegrass by listening to records that were smuggled into this communist country. The sound of a bluegrass mandolin was the spark that launched a decision at the age of seventeen to play music as a career and subsequently led Radim beyond bluegrass to an eclectic array of styles. He escaped from Czechoslovakia four months before the fall of communism and settled in the San Francisco Bay area. His style features progressive original and eastern European traditional music flavored with bluegrass, jazz, new age, flamenco, rock, classical and other influences. In 1992, he won the US National Mandolin Championship playing his own compositions. Radim is at the cutting edge of the mandolin’s future, designing new mandolin family instruments and creating new playing styles. He has invented a masterful technique, the ‘Zenkl style’, in which a single mandolin sounds like two. According to David Grisman: “Zenkl has re-invented the mandolin in several different ways.” Besides collaborating with the top musicians of the acoustic music scene, Radim has built up an extensive repertoire for solo mandolin, mandola and Irish bouzouki. He has recorded several solo CDs (released on Acoustic Disc, Shanachie and Ventana) and has appeared on more than eighty other recordings. His latest recording, Eastern Grass was released on Acoustic Disc in 2023. He is a current member of the Modern Mandolin Quartet and the Ger Mandolin Orchestra. Radim’s worldwide performing and teaching credentials include guest appearances at prestigious music institutions such as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.
Don Stiernberg has been a professional musician for nearly 50 years. Along the way he has been involved in performing, writing, recording, producing and teaching, but is best known for his mandolin playing. His path was set very early on as he grew up north of Chicago. Emulating his older brother, he experimented with playing various stringed instruments, finally settling on the mandolin. Things got serious when an ad played on the radio:”Study mandolin with the great Jethro Burns” At his first lesson he discovered what he wanted to do: play the mandolin, be a musician, and try to be as cool as Jethro! Within a few short years he was playing professionally, first in a bluegrass band with his brother, later standing right next to his hero in The Jethro Burns Quartet. There was no turning back, and thanks to encouragement and mentorship from his family and hero he is still out there trying to achieve those early goals. Don is regarded as a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, and a respected teacher. In June of 2020 his tenth recording project, Straight Ahead by the Don Stiernberg Quartet, was released and quickly garnered praise in The Chicago Tribune as one of the “Best Jazz Recordings of 2020”. September 2022 saw the release of Rhythm Twist by Don and Swannanoa cohorts Greg Ruby, Evan Price, and Kevin Kehrberg. There are four online instructional courses for mandolinists at Soundslice.com, and the book Jazz Mandolin Appetizers is available from Mel Bay. In person, Don teaches at mandolin-focused camps and events from coast to coast and abroad, and covers the same territory performing at clubs, festivals, and concert halls with his own group. There’s more of the same on the horizon: a dedicated pursuit of “the good notes” to share with audiences, listeners, and students.
Caterina Lichtenberg is one of the premier classical mandolinists in the world today. In 2020, her CD, Solo was nominated for an OpusKlassik Award (The most prestigious award for classical music in Germany), along with YoYo Ma, Daniel Hope and Daniel Barenboin. As a featured soloist, Ms. Lichtenberg has performed with the New Century Orchestra under Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the LA Guitar Quartet, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt, under Diego Fasolis, and the Aachen Chamber Orchestra. She has also performed with the Dresden Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Orchestra under Fabio Luisi, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, the MDR Sinfonie Orchestra under Howard Arman, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, and with Art Garfunkel on live German TV. Caterina currently holds the only position in the world for Classical Mandolin at the Music Conservatory in Cologne, Germany but also teaches online through the ArtistWorks video exchange system where students can get personal feedback on their playing from Caterina from the company’s patented Video Exchange System. She has also been a juror and a sought-after lecturer/teacher at numerous events around the world including the European Plucked String Orchestra in Logroño (Spain) and Bologna (Italy), the International Mandolin Festival in Kobe (Japan), The International Mandolin Convention in Washington, Minneapolis and San Diego (USA), The Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz California, and she has been a part of the Swannanoa Gathering Mando & Banjo Week since its inception. Caterina also has published numerous instructional books and filmed two DVD instructional videos for Homespun Tapes company. Her solo CDs are some of the most important recordings of classical mandolin music of our time and she continues to push the boundaries of her instrument and expand the mandolin repertoire. To date, Caterina has released ten CDs under her own leadership in a variety of chamber music settings, and five with guitarist Mirko Schrader. As a specialist on early period instruments, Caterina was invited to record on a 1775 mandolin from the Ferdinandeum Museum in Innsbruck, Austria.
In a remarkably short time, Nashville native Casey Campbell has become one of the most influential young voices in bluegrass mandolin. His performing and recording resumé includes gigs with bluegrass legends Bryan Sutton, Del McCoury, Mac Wiseman, Jim Lauderdale, David Grier, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Chris Stapleton, John Oates, Mac Wiseman, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Roland White, Noam Pikelny, Becky Buller, and many more. Winner of the prestigious Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in 2017, Campbell currently records and performs with various artists in and around Nashville, TN.
Paul Brown has been hooked on traditional southern music since early childhood, when he started picking up songs his mother had learned as a kid in piedmont Virginia. Paul took up banjo at age ten, and fiddle a bit later. His playing bears influences of the North Carolina and Virginia masters he sought out as a young adult, and he loves to share what he learned from these memorable players, and the styles and tunes he’s created himself. He also loves dancing and playing fiddle and banjo for square dances. Paul has appeared at camps and festivals around the U.S. since the early 1970s including many times at our Old-Time Week. He’s recorded and produced highly-regarded traditional music albums, and won numerous banjo and fiddle contests.
Terri McMurray has a sharp wit, a memorable smile and great chops on 5-string banjo, banjo uke, and guitar. Music drew her to the southern Appalachian mountains in 1982. She looked and listened hard during her many years around some of the great master traditional musicians in North Carolina and southern Virginia, and it shows in her playing. She co-founded the Old Hollow String Band and played for more than 20 years with the Toast String Stretchers, the most active band in the well-known metropolis of Toast, NC, between Round Peak and Mount Airy. She currently plays with Paul Brown in the Mountain Birch Duo. Terri is a well-loved teacher known for her engaging manner, patience and ability to work with students of all ages.
Hailed by David Grisman as a “wonderful mandolin player”, and by Darol Anger as “one of the best mandolinists I’ve ever played with,” Boston-based musician Joe K. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his years of collaborations with acoustic music luminaries such as banjo innovator Danny Barnes, fiddle legend Darol Anger, modern master fiddler Brittany Haas, wildly creative flatpicker Grant Gordy, bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow, a band he co-founded. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of award-winning years as mandolinist with the Gibson Brothers, Joe currently splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr Sun (featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Aidan O’Donnell), a trio with Danny Barnes and Grant Gordy, and his own band. An avid educator, Joe is a professor at the Berklee College of Music, and he runs two mandolin instruction courses through Peghead Nation. Since 2007, he has taught at many of the most prominent mandolin and fiddle camps in North America and Europe, and he helps run the Ossipee Valley String Camp in Cornish, Maine.
Grammy-nominated mandolinist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Whether it’s with his own Matt Flinner Trio or with the Darrell Scott Bluegrass Band, Frank Vignola Quartet, Phillips, Grier & Flinner, Steve Martin, the Ying Quartet, Leftover Salmon or the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Flinner’s style and compositional ability have established him as one of the most accomplished and musically diverse mandolinists today. Originally a banjo prodigy who was playing bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens, Flinner later took up the mandolin, won the National Banjo Competition in Winfield, KS in 1990, and won the mandolin award there the following year. Matt now tours regularly with the Matt Flinner Trio, which is known for its off-the-cuff compositional daring, writing music the same day it’s performed on most of their shows. He also tours semi-regularly with the Darrell Scott Bluegrass Band and the Vermont Mandolin Trio. Matt’s compositions have been performed by the Ying Quartet, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the Expedition Quintet and the Modern Mandolin Quartet, among others. When not playing music, Matt practices goat wrangling and maple syrup-making at his home in Vermont.
New Mexico-based player and Virginia native Bill Evans is a recipient of the 2022 Steve Martin Banjo Prize. He has been involved with bluegrass music and the banjo for over forty-five years as a player, teacher, composer, author and historian. His instruction is practical, down-to-earth and designed for the adult learner at any level, whether it be “how Earl & J.D. did it” or the latest in progressive melodic & single-string techniques. He has helped thousands of people to find joy in the banjo through his books, online courses and videos, workshops and one-on-one lessons. He feels that his greatest accomplishment has been to bring people together through the banjo. His books Banjo For Dummies and Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies along with his five online courses for Peghead Nation and nine Homespun, Murphy Method and AcuTab DVD projects have set the modern standard for bluegrass banjo instruction. Bill has taught at almost every bluegrass camp in the world, in addition to hosting his own events in California and New Mexico. His own mentors include Sonny Osborne, J. D. Crowe, Ben Eldridge, Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, Bill Emerson and Bill Keith. These days, he tours with his solo show, The Banjo in America and performs with the California Bluegrass Reunion, a veritable supergroup featuring Darol Anger, John Reischman, and guitar legend Dan Crary. His latest recordings are Things Are Simple, and The Banjo in America, a DVD/CD set from Old-Time Tiki Parlour recordings featuring music from the 1780’s to the present day. His latest online workshop is ‘The Banjo Style of J. D. Crowe’ from Peghead Nation.
Grammy Award-winning musician John Reischman has been a foundational mandolinist, composer, bandleader, and musical educator in bluegrass and North American roots and folk music since emerging from the vibrant ‘new acoustic’ music scene of the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. A founding member of the groundbreaking Tony Rice Unit, Reischman’s mastery of bluegrass, old-time, swing, and multiple Latin American musical styles, coupled with an Old Masters sense of tone, taste and musicality, has brought him a global reputation as one of the finest mandolinists of his era. His latest CD, New Time and Old Acoustic on Corvus Records, blends a lifetime of musical influences into an engaging recording with some of today’s top acoustic players, including flatpicking guitarists Molly Tuttle and Chris Eldridge, fiddler Alex Hargreaves, and bassist Todd Phillips. The 14-track album includes twelve new Reischman originals and a reinterpretation of his classic tune, “Salt Spring”. New Time and Old Acoustic is the most mature, accomplished solo recording of Reischman’s storied career. John’s prior recordings, North of the Border, Up In The Woods, and Walk Along John, showcase his gifts as a composer and instrumentalist. Many of John’s melodic mandolin tunes such as “Salt Spring”, “Little Pine Siskin”, and “Birdland Breakdown” have been adopted by the bluegrass community as standards and can be heard at jam sessions across the continent. In addition to his solo career, as leader of John Reischman and the Jaybirds, John and his talented U.S. and Canadian bandmates – Nick Hornbuckle, Trisha Gagnon, Patrick Sauber and Greg Spatz – have toured extensively throughout North America and abroad for two decades, bringing a uniquely Pacific Northwest sound to their brand of bluegrass and melodic fiddle tunes. They’ve earned two coveted Juno Award nominations for the best performances in the Canadian organisation’s “Roots and Traditional” category, and have released seven albums during their 20-year tenure. Over the years, he’s collaborated with a remarkably wide range of artists including bluegrass singer/songwriter Kathy Kallick, flatpicking guitarist Scott Nygaard, banjo wiz Tony Furtado, fingerstyle guitarist John Miller, Chinese music ensemble Red Chamber, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Celso Machado, singer songwriter Susan Crowe, and more. A sought-after instructor at mandolin workshops and acoustic music camps, John teaches the popular Melodic Mandolin Tunes series on the highly regarded Peghead Nation music instructional website. Considered by critics and audiences as one of the true masters of mandolin today, John Reischman remains committed to his original vision of exploring multiple mandolin genres in a style based on making each note and phrase sound uniquely rich and clear. One of those rare instrumental musicians who, like his mentor Tony Rice, can be recognized immediately within his first few notes, John’s playing on his legendary 1924 Lloyd Loar-signed Gibson F-5 mandolin epitomizes tone and taste. A true musician’s musician who serves the melody over instrumental flash and hot licks, John Reischman continues to explore the melodic possibilities of mandolin in fresh ways in the 21st Century, reaching new generations of fans with his impeccable musical taste and style.
Conor Hearn is a stylistically diverse guitar player and instructor specializing in accompaniment of traditional Irish and Scottish fiddle playing. Hailing from the Irish music communities of Washington D.C. and Maryland, he grew up playing fiddle and guitar in trad. Irish music sessions. While working on his B.A in English Literature with a minor in Music at Tufts University, Conor started working as a professional guitarist with a panoply of traditional music groups and projects taking shape in the Boston area folk music scene. He has since performed on programs like Brian O’Donovan’s Celtic Sojourn and teaches guitar at music festivals such as the Swannanoa Gathering, Valley of the Moon, Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp, and many others. A versatile sideman, Conor tours with the traditional duo, Rakish, and the Afro-Celtic-Funk band, Soulsha, and performs with such renowned traditional music icons as Seamus Egan and Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas. Conor makes his home by the river in West Medford, MA where he performs and teaches regularly.
Ed was the lead guitarist and singer for Wood & Steel, a bluegrass band based in the Piedmont region of North Carolina that featured the legendary Snuffy Smith on banjo and The Dukes of Drive’s Joey Lemons on mandolin. Bluegrass Unlimited called their 2007 release, Poor Boy, “a masterpiece of hard-driving bluegrass.” Tony Rice calls their music, “Bluegrass, in one of its most pure, unfiltered forms; played by good musicians.” Wood & Steel’s music was featured nationally in Home & Garden Television’s 2002 special, Barns Revisited, and Ed has recorded three albums with mandolin player/builder Skip Kelley, including their 2010 release, Hopped That Train and…Gone. In 2022, he released an all electric album with the Asheville-based band, Catz in Pajamas. Ed is an accomplished songwriter, and a powerful rhythm and lead player with a deep abiding love of traditional music.
Among many players, Lynn’s intruments are some of the most highly prized, and he is usually listed among that rareified group of the very best luthiers. Inspired by the vintage Martin guitars and Gibson mandolins of the 1920’s and 1930’s, Lynn became a full-time luthier in 1997 and continues to build traditional-style guitars and mandolins in his shop in Maryville, TN. This is Lynn’s tenth year as our luthier-in-residence, offering repair services throughout the week.