Marilynn Mair

Marilynn Mair

Marilynn Mair is a mandolinist who, through her technical mastery and artistic interpretation, has established the classical mandolin in chamber music circles worldwide. She has performed internationally for over two decades, appearing in concert throughout Europe, North America, and the Far East. She has given hundreds of recitals, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Newport Music Festival, Lincoln Center, Tivoli Concert Hall, the Palffy Palace, the Kennedy Center, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has also represented the United States at international music festivals in Italy, France, Spain, England, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Japan, earning the title, “First Lady of the American Mandolin.” Ms. Mair has released 10 highly acclaimed CDs of mandolin music, including “Vienna Nocturne,” that was nominated for a Grammy award. Her recent mandolin method, “The Complete Mandolinist,” has been hailed as the most complete method for mandolin to be published in nearly a century.

As a performer, Ms Mair has commissioned, recorded, and performed works by many important contemporary composers, including Ernst Krenek, Guido Santorsola, Evan Ziporyn, Daniel Pinkham, Ann Carr Boyd, Sigfried Behrend, David Jaffe, Will Ayton and others. Best known for her work in chamber music, Ms. Mair is also involved in the field of Brazilian music, performing and recording “choro,” an early-20th-century style of Brazilian jazz that features mandolin. She has researched choro extensively, and her articles on its history and music, published in Mandolin Quarterly and online, are some of the most complete available in English.

In addition to her solo career, Ms. Mair directs and performs in a number of chamber groups. She founded and directs “Enigmatica,” a mandolin octet specializing in Baroque, Brazilian, and contemporary music. Ms. Mair is the Artistic Director of the American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra, a group whose membership spans North America. Mair is also a member of Água no Feijão, a Rio-based choro group. She plays in a number of duos with different musicians, including Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas, classical pianist Nancy Nicholson, and guitarist Robert N. Martel.

Ms. Mair is actively involved in continuing and developing the American classical mandolin tradition. She directs the American Mandolin & Guitar Suitcase Seminars, a national forum for mandolin and guitar instruction, presents workshops on mandolin technique and interpretation internationally, and often presents seminars for the Classical Mandolin Society of America. She is a regular columnist for “Mandolin Magazine,” writing on mandolin technique and history. Ms. Mair is a Professor of Music at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Marilynn Mair, mandolin, bandolim

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott