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VT Mandolin Festival

28 September 2019
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Next Stage Arts

The inaugural VT Mandolin Festival. Daytime and Evening events will be featuring classes, workshops, and performances by Matt Flinner, Keith Murphy, August Watters, Peter Siegel, Al Stockwell, Julane Deener, and Flynn Cohen; styles include Bluegrass, Irish, Jazz, Classical, and New England Fiddle music.




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 Phillips, Grier and Flinner, the Frank Vignola Quartet, Darrell Scott, Steve Martin, Robbie Fulks, 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 in the world.

Starting out as 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 occasionally with the Modern Mandolin Quartet, which was nominated for three Grammy awards for their CD “Americana” in 2013, as well as the Darrell Scott Bluegrass Band, which released their acclaimed “Live at the Station Inn” CD in 2018. Some of Flinner’s compositions have been performed by the Ying Quartet, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the Chatterbird Ensemble and the Modern Mandolin Quartet. Flinner currently lives in Ripton, Vermont.

Keith Murphy has a unique mandolin style defined by an open string chordal approach that reflects the Irish use of bouzouki and open tuned guitars in song and instrumental accompaniment. Keith is a highly respected singer of traditional songs from the North East in both English and French and he uses his mandolin accompaniment to great effect in this repertoire. He has three solo albums, the most recent of which is Land of Fish and Seals, 2018.

Keith was a founding member of Nightingale, a trio which broke new ground in its sophisticated approach to traditional music. He is a mainstay of the Boston fiddle extravaganza, Childsplay and has also worked extensively with Tony Barrand on the song repertoire from the early twentieth century of the Atwood family from Dover, Vermont. He also appears frequently with his wife, fiddler Becky Tracy as well as part of the Hanneke Cassel Trio.

Keith is an accomplished composer and arranger in the realm of traditional music and has also composed for theater and film. He is a featured performer on well over a dozen recordings and a guest musician on numerous others. His versions of traditional songs have inspired recordings by other groups including Solas, Uncle Earl and Great Big Sea. Several of his compositions have been featured on the recent Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelts.

Keith is a faculty member of the Brattleboro Music Center (BMC) and the artistic director of the BMC’s Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival in Brattleboro Vermont which he founded in 2008. He was a featured performer in the Boston Revels 2016 Christmas show and he is the music director for the WGBH Boston public radio’s annual Celtic Sojourn St Partick’s Day concerts held at Sander’s Theater and elsewhere in New England.

August Watters is a multi-stylistic, improvising mandolinist, composer/arranger, conductor and teacher. He is deeply involved in today’s revival of this elegant instrument, and has made significant contributions to the recovery and advancement of its musical traditions. His work as an interpreter, improviser, composer and arranger bridges contemporary classical music, jazz, bluegrass, folk music traditions, and the historical concert mandolin repertoire.

Flynn Cohen is a professional mandolin and acoustic guitar player with a long resume as both a performer and a teacher. He is a founding member of the nationally-touring American folk band Low Lily, and was a visiting lecturer in Music at both Keene State College and Bridgewater State University. Flynn has degrees in Music from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England where he was a guitar student of John Renbourn, and Mills College in Oakland, California where he was a classical mandolin student of Paul Binkley (of the Modern Mandolin Quartet). He specializes in Irish traditional music and bluegrass mandolin styles, as well as new classical music for mandolins and guitars. He has performed at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York.