2014 Instructors

We're excited to share this year's exceptional faculty.

Guitar | Mandolin | Banjo | Fiddle | Dobro | Bass | Songwriting | Vocals |
Bands-in-Residence | Kids Camp | Instrument Building

Please note: instructors are subject to change.


Guitar Instructors
Chris Eldridge
As a member of Punch Brothers since the band's inception, guitarist Chris Eldridge has been at the vanguard of acoustic music for much of the past decade.  Although initially drawn to the electric guitar, by his mid-teens Chris Eldridge had developed a deep love for acoustic music, thanks in part to his father, a banjo player and founding member of the seminal bluegrass group The Seldom Scene. Eldridge later gained in-depth exposure to a variety of different musical styles while studying at Oberlin Conservatory, where he earned a degree in music performance in 2004. During his time at Oberlin, Eldridge studied with legendary guitarist Tony Rice. [more...] After graduating he joined the Seldom Scene with whom he received a Grammy nomination in 2007. In 2005 he founded the critically acclaimed bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. At the 2007 International Bluegrass Music Association awards Eldridge and his Stringdusters bandmates won Emerging artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year for their debut album, Fork in the Road. Meanwhile, in 2005 he had caught the attention of mandolinist Chris Thile, who enlisted him, along with banjoist Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher, and bassist Greg Garrison to start working on an ambitious side project. Soon after they decided to focus all of their collective energies into band and Punch Brothers was born.  The band has since released 3 critically acclaimed albums, received 2 Grammy nominations and toured around the world. Chris Eldridge has worked with a diverse cast of musical luminaries including Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, Paul Simon, John Paul Jones, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas, Sara Watkins, Del McCoury and others. [less...] Top
Ross Martin
Ross Martin
Ross Martin has established a reputation as one of the most exciting jazz and bluegrass musicians in Colorado, and his reputation is rapidly expanding around the country. After graduating form the jazz program at the University of North Texas, Ross moved to Denver and soon joined the Tony Furtado Band, with whom he toured for four years. More recently, Ross wowed bluegrass audiences during his stint with the Drew Emmitt Band from 2003-5. He also continues to tour the country actively with Mollie OʼBrien, The Theory of Everything (with Michael Kang and Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident) and jazz trumpeter Ron Miles. [more...] Rossʼ first CD, Volley, was released in 2002 and features 10 original compositions which span the wide range of Rossʼ musical scope: from jazz to Americana to bluegrass and back. His second solo CD, which was produced by Matt Flinner and features Darol Anger and trumpeter Ron Miles, among others, will be released soon. Ross currently lives in New York City. [less...] Top
Sandy Munro
Sandy has been a long-time instructor at the Academy and helped shape its programming since its inception. He has been teaching music classes at Colorado Mountain College and at his music store Great Divide Music in Aspen, since 1976. Sandy is a multi-instrumentalist and currently performs with the Flying Dog Bluegrass Band and the Crowlin' Ferlies both from Aspen. Sandy is one of only two instructors that have taught at every Academy since 1992. Having created a loyal student following both in Aspen and Lyons, he will once again be serving as a guitar instructor this year. Top
Bryan Sutton
Bryan Sutton is one of the most sought after acoustic guitarists on the planet . Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Bryan grew up in a musical family and was immersed in the rich heritage of western North Carolina music. Sutton entered the bluegrass world in 1995 as a member of Ricky Skaggs' Kentucky Thunder band, playing on two Grammy award winning records. After his tenure with Skaggs, Bryan went on to build a career as a top studio guitarists in Nashville. [more...] His playing can be heard along side such names as Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, and Harry Connick Jr.. Always striving to keep his bluegrass roots strong, Bryan has also released four solo projects and has toured around the world with artists like Bela Fleck and Chris Thile, and as a member of the legendary bluegrass band, Hot Rize. Sutton has been honored as a six time winner of the IBMA's Guitarist of the Year, and received a Grammy in 2007 for "Best Country Instrumental Performance" for his duet recording with Doc Watson. Bryan now balances a busy schedule of recording, touring, and teaching online as part of the Artist Works group. [less...] Top

Mandolin Instructors
Matt Flinner
Multi-instrumentalist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. 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 Contest at Winfield Kansas in 1990, and took the mandolin award there the following year. Since then, he has become recognized as one of the premiere mandolinists as well as one of the finest new acoustic/roots music composers today. He has toured and recorded with a wide variety of bluegrass, new acoustic, classical and jazz artists, including Tim O’Brien, Frank Vignola, Steve Martin, Darrell Scott, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, [more...] Dave Douglas, Leftover Salmon, Alison Brown, The Ying Quartet, Tony Trischka, Darol Anger, and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded two Compass Records CDs and toured as part of Phillips, Grier and Flinner with bassist Todd Phillips and guitarist David Grier. His two solo CDs (also on Compass), “The View from Here” and “Latitude,” are now widely considered classics in the new acoustic/modern bluegrass style. His current group, the Matt Flinner Trio (with guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin), has forged new pathways in acoustic string band music with their two ground-breaking CDs, “Music du Jour” and “Winter Harvest” (coming soon!). [less...] Top
John Jorgenson
Music virtuoso John Jorgenson, known for his blistering guitar licks and mastery of a broad musical palette, has earned a reputation as a world-class musician and guitarist who has collaborated with the likes of Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, he is also regularly featured on the saxophone, clarinet, bouzouki, pedal steel, mandolin, vocals and has garnered recognition for contributing to numerous platinum-selling and GRAMMY-winning albums. As the John Jorgenson Quintet, Jorgenson creates a unique musical experience that equally enthralls the most discerning and the casual music fan. [more...] The group’s style has been called “gypsy jazz” after the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930s Paris, but Jorgenson’s compositions draw in elements from Latin, Romanian, Classical, Rock and Greek music, so “21st Century World Music” is perhaps a more apt description.

Guitarists (and folks who read liner notes) will be well-acquainted with John Jorgenson as his career has already spanned more than three decades and diverse musical styles. First coming to national attention in the mid ‘80s as co-founder of successful country-rock act The Desert Rose Band, an eclectic array of artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger and Barbara Streisand were drawn to add Jorgenson’s artistry to their own recordings.

In the ‘90s The Hellecasters gave audiences a chance to experience John’s fretboard fireworks in an unrestrained venue and the trio’s three original albums remain favorites of guitarists everywhere. Having been a fan of the Desert Rose Band, Elton John invited Jorgenson to join his band in 1994 for an 18 month tour that stretched into a six-year stint of touring, recording and TV appearances with the British superstar, in addition to collaborations with other artists including Sting and Billy Joel.

2010 marked the 100th birthday of the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Since discovering Django in 1979, Jorgenson has become “the US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz” which is quite an honor given the distinctly European slant of the music’s heritage. The John Jorgenson Quintet is the only American act to ever headline the prestigious Django Reinhardt Memorial Festival in France, and has been featured at other “Djangofests” in the US, UK, Germany and Canada. For the films Gattica and Head in the Clouds Jorgenson was tapped to recreate Django’s music, and in the latter he even appeared onscreen as Django with stars Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz.

Over the years Jorgenson has continued to honor the legacy of Reinhardt by bringing his unique brand of Gypsy Jazz to the masses. Adding to the international nature of the Quintet are Dutch bassist Simon Planting - well-known and respected in the gypsy-jazz community from his tenure with legendary Belgian guitarist Fapy Lafertin - and pianist John Jarvis. Noted session keyboardist and songwriter Jarvis has collaborated with musicians such as The Judds, Jimmy Buffet and Art Garfunkel. Filling out the Quintet are prodigious jazz violinist Jason Anick and veteran percussionist Rick Reed, renown for his intricate brush work and swinging drive. The combination of these five musicians creates a sound that is equally dynamic, romantic, driving, melodic and accessible.

Jorgenson continues to expand his dynamic range of musical offerings, exploring new elements of world music, bluegrass, rock and classical as he captivates and enlightens fellow musicians and listeners along the way. Touring with multiple musical configurations such as the Desert Rose Band, the John Jorgenson Quintet, the John Jorgenson Electric Band and the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Jorgenson will play dates across the U.S. and Europe. Each permutation allows him to make prodigious use of his mastery of many instruments; no matter which band Jorgenson is playing with, his brilliant guitar work leads the way with music that is a combination of groundbreaking playing full of soaring melodies and driving rhythms. His contribution is utterly one of a kind.

John Jorgenson will spend the remainder of 2013 expanding the popularity of his beloved gypsy jazz while experimenting with genres of bluegrass, rock and classical stylings. At performances of the John Jorgenson Quintet, audiences are awestruck by not only Jorgenson’s skillful guitar playing, but the solo clarinet and bouzouki as well. Additional highlights for this year include a special guest feature during Peter Frampton’s 2013 Guitar Circus tour with Robert Cray at multiple shows and select domestic and international dates as lead guitarist for Elton John. As Jorgenson continues his string of performances throughout 2013, critics and fans alike are sure to be astounded by his mastery of music. Djangobooks perfectly articulates, “If he comes around, don’t miss him. The show is golden. The music soars.”

Preparing two albums and one live performance DVD for public release, Jorgenson builds momentum for multiple new releases in early 2014. Legends like Elton John, Earl Scruggs and Duane Eddy along with fellow guitarists such as Tommy Emmanuel, Peter Frampton and Brad Paisley have sung Jorgenson’s praises, and the best way to find out what they already know is to check out this artist who is leaving a lasting legacy in the art of guitar performance. [less...]
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Tom Rozum
A long-time fixture on the Bay Area music scene, Tom Rozum is best known for "The Oak and the Laurel," his 1996 Grammy-nominated album of duets with Laurie Lewis. With the release of "Jubilee," Tom Rozum steps into the national spotlight with an auspicious debut solo album -- a deft mixture of bluegrass, old time and western swing. Throughout the album, he lends his mandolin, guitar and vocal talent to a great selection of little-known country music gems by Merle Haggard, The Louvin Brothers and Bill Monroe interwoven with contemporary songs by David Olney and Mark Simos, among others. [more...] "Jubilee" was co-produced by long-time collaborator Laurie Lewis, and features an all-star cast of musicians including Laurie, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Herb Pederson, David Grier, Rob Ickes and Todd Phillips.

On "Jubilee", Tom obviously has a lot of fun in the spotlight. And each song has an interesting story behind it. "Don't Fix Up That Doghouse, "was co-written by Don Helms, Hank Williams' steel player, as a follow up to Hank's "Move It On Over." And here's how Tom describes his cover of David Olney's "Walk Downtown"... 'Another one of those fiddle-driven swingy old-time numbers about an Elvis impersonator.'

Originally from New England, Tom Rozum moved to Berkeley from Arizona, where he played many kinds of traditional and original music with Summerdog and Flying South; and San Diego, where he honed his swing chops with the Rhythm Rascals. Since joining forces with Laurie Lewis in 1986 as part of the original Grant Street Band, Tom's versatility and diverse musical influences come to the fore every night on stage with the band. He plays primarily mandolin, but is also an accomplished fiddle, mandola, and guitar player. His rhythmic approach to mandolin especially punctuates the band's repertoire, adding a verve and excitement to their on-stage shows, and has become a distinctive feature of their performances. He is a fine lead vocalist, the ideal harmony partner for Laurie, as demonstrated on "The Oak and the Laurel, "and occasionally functions as the comic foil for on-stage goings-on whenever things get too weighty. [less...]
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Banjo Instructors
Herb Pedersen
Herb began his career in Berkeley, California in the early 60′s playing 5 string banjo and acoustic guitar with people like David Grisman, Butch Waller, David Nelson, and Jerry Garcia. Herb has done well in adding his talents to the recordings of many folk and country music artists of today. For the last thirty years, Herb has lived in southern California, and participated in select music groups, either in recording, or traveling on the road doing concerts. His recording discography is like a who’s who of the singer/songwriter scene, so prevalent in the 70s and 80s. His own groups, like The Desert Rose Band, and The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, show why Herb is so respected in the industry. [more...]
With his lifelong pal, Chris Hillman, Herb is in the process of continuing the type of music they both grew up playing and singing. There is a work in progress most of the time and that’s the way Herb likes it.

Television and motion picture sound tracks are something Herb has been involved in since the early 70s. Shows like The Rockford Files, Smokey and The Bandit, the Maverick movie with Mel Gibson, Hunter, The Simpsons, have used Herb either on 5 string banjo, or vocals for many years.

Artists like Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Johnny Rivers, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jennifer Warnes, John Prine and Jesse Winchester have used Herb’s talents in the past, and in all probability will continue to do so …From Carnegie Hall to the Ryman auditorium, Herb’s been on the scene enjoying every minute of it. He hopes you do too. [less...]
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Noam Pikelny
Noam Pikelny has emerged as the preeminent banjoist among a new generation of acoustic musicians. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “pros’ top banjo picker,” Noam is a founding member of Punch Brothers, a string ensemble which The Boston Globe calls “a virtuosic revelation” and The New Yorker describes as “wide- ranging and restlessly imaginative.” In September of 2010, Pikelny was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. In 2012, Noam’s second album, Beat The Devil and Carry A Rail received a GRAMMY nomination [more...] for Best Bluegrass Album. Pikelny has shared the stage with The Decemberists, Marcus Mumford, Béla Fleck, Dave Douglas, Steve Martin, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Orchestra. Noam continues to broaden the awareness of the banjo in the mainstream through his work with Punch Brothers, collaborating with Wilco, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, & Jon Brion for the soundtrack to “This is 40”, a feature song on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack, and a collaboration with Marcus Mumford for the upcoming Coen Brothers’ film, “Inside Llewyn Davis”. 

His new release, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, is the first complete banjo adaptation of Kenny Baker’s 1976 seminal recording of Bill Monroe instrumentals that is poised to take the bluegrass world by storm. The concept for the album first grew out of the word-play on the original album title, but the more Pikelny explored the idea, the more he realized that it was both musically exciting and challenging. Pikelny delved into the intricacies of Kenny Baker’s fiddle playing and emerged with note for note versions of Baker’s fiddle arrangements for banjo. Joining Pikelny on this tour de force project are the finest instrumentalists in bluegrass: Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Ronnie McCoury (mandolin), and Mike Bub (bass). Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe shows Pikelny at a new pinnacle of maturation as a banjo player and musician, redefining the role of the banjo in his own way with an unprecedented approach to melodic playing and therefore setting a new standard in bluegrass for years to come. [less...]
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Pete Wernick
Pete Wernick, "Dr. Banjo", is renowned worldwide for his contributions to bluegrass music: the hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize, respected author and teacher, songwriter, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Pete's first recordings were made in 1971 with northeast instrumental wizards Country Cooking. Founding Hot Rize in 1978 led to an enduring stint as a performing artist, appearing throughout the U.S. and three other continents, on national television and radio. [more...] His instructional videos and books include best-sellers in their respective fields, Bluegrass Banjo, Masters of the Five String Banjo, How to Make a Band Work, and many others. A pioneer in bluegrass music instruction, since 1980 Pete's camps and clinics have inspired players nationwide and overseas.

Pete has been based in Niwot, Colorado since 1976, and tours and records with the traditional bluegrass band Long Road Home, with his wife Joan in a duet and in his bluegrass/traditional jazz combo Pete Wernick & FLEXIGRASS. The year 2010 marks his 40th since his first recordings, and will also see Hot Rize performing at several festivals and touring in Fall.[less...]
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Fiddle Instructors
Darol Anger
Fiddler, composer, producer and educator,  Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, his Duo with Mike Marshall, and others. He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, the Detroit Symphony, and Stephane Grappelli. [more...] Today Darol can be heard on NPR’s “Car Talk” theme every week, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. He was also the violinist on the phenomenally popular Sim City computer games.

In addition to performing all over the world, he has recorded and produced scores of important recordings since 1977, is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks.

He is an Associate Professor at the Berklee School of music. He recently began an ambitious online Fiddle School at ArtistWorks.com. [less...]
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Lily Henley
There’s something remarkably different about fiddler, singer, and songwriter Lily Henley’s music.  On her debut EP, Words Like Yours, her songs will sound familiar to fans of American roots music, but are tinged with Old World accents and surprising melismas and ornaments.  That’s because she lays claim to more influences than most roots musicians today. A child of the folk revival, she grew up traveling to fiddle and song camps, zig-zagging her way along a path of her own curiosity.  She was initially inspired by Celtic music, especially Irish fiddling and the highly-rhythmic Cape Breton fiddle style, [more...] eventually making her way to Old Time string band music and other Americana influences.  While in Boston, where she was attending the New England Conservatory, Henley tapped the local scene to connect with a younger generation of songwriters and instrumentalists, and has continued to work with top-flight young traditionalists like Rushad Eggleston, Brittany & Natalie Haas, and Tashina & Tristan Clarridge.  However, it was her move to Tel Aviv, Israel for three years that cemented her current work.  There Henley became inspired by the language and rhythms of Sephardic culture, music that she had first experienced as a young child. The flowing and bubbling vocal lines of Ladino music and language seeped into her own songwriting and brought a new repertoire. Never losing sight of her original interests in Celtic and American roots music, her new sound could be called Old World Americana. This blend of Old World influences, ranging from the Fertile Crescent to the Celtic Isles, with the fiddle and song traditions of the New World, is the key to Lily’s music. It’s the extension of her love of the rhythms of human language and her passion for bringing old traditions into new light.

On Words Like Yours, Lily Henley’s voice sparkles clear and bright, soaring over her complex, winding arrangements and her crack team of acoustic roots players: Dominick Leslie (The Deadly Gentlemen) on mandolin/mandola, Duncan Wickel (The Boston Boys, John Doyle, The Duhks) on 5-string fiddle, Jordan Tice (Tony Trischka, Tice/Haas/Kowert Trio) on guitar, and Israeli Jazz phenom Haggai Cohen-Milo on bass. The album was produced by renowned Israeli composer, arranger, and Oud/Bass virtuoso Omer Avital, an artist who, like Lily, has followed his own roots back to Israel and the Middle East on projects including Yemen Blues, Debka Fantasia, and Third World Love.  Making Words Like Yours, Lily was looking, as she says, for “a way of interpreting old influences so that they don’t lose what I love about them, but so that they are authentic to me as a young American songwriter and fiddle player.”

Throughout the album, Lily’s beautiful vocals weave in and out with her stellar backing band and her powerful fiddling. Her influences intertwine, sometimes all at once, as in the second track “Dark Girl,” a traditional Sephardic song. Her fiddle blazes through riffs born from Celtic and American sources, while her voice sings achingly in Ladino, with Dominick and Jordan’s mandola and guitar picking out Irish bouzouki-inspired counterpoint. Opening track, “Two Birds,” is a great taste of Lily’s songwriting: “Looking down with my eagle’s eye/Everything’s so tiny from the sky... Are you still here with me?” One of the highlights is the final track of the album, “Bluz Kna’ani,” a song from the much-loved Israeli singer-songwriter Ehud Banai. It sounds as old as the hills of Jerusalem, but it’s actually a new composition that translates as “Canaanite Blues.” It’s a beautiful song about loss and longing, “Since you left, much here has changed/It’s an electronic world, it’s a little hard to talk/And words like yours/Nobody says anymore.” This song echoes Lily’s music, for even in a digital world the words of the Old World can still have great power. [less...]
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Kimber Ludiker
Kimber Ludiker is a Grand National Fiddle Champion.  Born of fiddle-playing parents -- who met competing with each other at a fiddle contest! -- the Washington state native excelled from an early age at Texas-style fiddling and went on to win multiple fiddle championships including the Washington State Championship, Colorado State Championship and the aforementioned Grand National Fiddle Championship in Weiser, Idaho. She has performed with Mark O’Connor, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Hanneke Cassel, and her brother Dennis, [more...] a well-known fiddle/mandolin player from Austin, TX who leads the band MilkDrive. As a founding member of the all-”girl” group Della Mae, she is widely regarded as a pillar of the new-generation fiddle scene. [less...] Top

Dobro Instructor
Sally Van Meter
Since 1977, Sally's slide guitar work has gained respect and recognition among peers and audiences for her commitment to staying true to playing music with heart and soul. She is well-known for her performances & recorded works ranging from solo work to collaborations with artists such as Led Kaapana, Jorma Kaukonen, Jerry Garcia, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Cyril Pahinui, Jerry Douglas, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Alison Brown, Taj Mahal, Peter Rowan & the Rowan Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Rice, Kathy Kallick, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Gerry O'Beirne, Maura O'Connell, [more...] the inimitable Leftover Salmon and more.

On the Sugar Hill label,Sally's work on The Great Dobro Sessions (producers Jerry Douglas/ Tut Taylor) earned her a 1994 GRAMMY AWARD certificate for Best Bluegrass Recording from NARAS as a featured performer. In addition, Sally’s solo album All In Good Time was a finalist nominee for IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year. Film, television and radio credits include the film Gather at the River, the celebrated CBS' Northern Exposure and TNN's Texas Connection. Sally has also been invited to perform for nationally acclaimed NPR show A Prairie Home Companion, and Nick Forster's popular NPR radio show, E-Town.

In 1995, Sally joined with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia for a special project, The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers-A Tribute produced by Bob Dylan for Columbia Records. From 1977 -1996, Sally was a member of the Good Ol' Persons, a much-beloved San Francisco- based band. She has been an IBMA Finalist Nominee for Dobro Player of the Year from 1990-1997 and in 1996 won two IBMA awards, Best Instrumental Recording and Recorded Event of the Year (The Great Dobro Sessions). For nearly three decades, Sally's musical journeys have taken her from the US to the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan.

These days Sally resides professionally in Colorado. She currently freelances with touring acts that include Jorma Kaukonen, Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen, Led Kaapana, and performs locally in Colorado as well as currently enrolled in film school. She misses California and the ocean each and every day. [less...]
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Todd Livingston
Todd Livingston
Originaly from Saginaw, MI, Todd Patrick Livingston now lives and plays music professionally in Colorado. Todd has worked with Earl Scruggs, Missy Raines, Jim Lauderdale, Cowboy Troy (Big and Rich), Emmy nominated Gangstagrass and many others. He has specialized in Bluegrass dobro since 1998. After winning the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro Championship, Todd was an assistant instructor at the 2002 and 2003 Rockygrass Academy. Todd co-founded the Colorado based Bluegrass band, Hit And Run, winners of the 2002 Rockygrass, 2003 Telluride and 2005 SPGMA band competitions. Todd had the honor of headlining with his own band at the 2007 Dobrofest in Trnava, Slovakia.

Bass Instructors
Mark Fain
Mark Fain
Mark Fain toured and recorded as bass player in the award-winning Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 13 years. He’s also toured and recorded with Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Dwight Yoakam and has produced many artists in the bluegrass, jazz, country, and gospel genres. Hailing from Rogersville, TN Mark is a master musician with a comprehensive background in country, bluegrass and gospel. He’s toured and recorded with some of country music’s biggest names, from the Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, and Travis Tritt, to Dwight Yoakam, Allison Krauss and Dolly Parton. [more...] Fain’s versatility (he’s also well versed in rock and jazz fusion), has made him a first choice session player for artists such as John Fogerty and Bruce Hornsby.

In his teens, Fain played guitar for gospel groups and was a member of The Singing Americans, touring the States extensively. He later joined Dove Award-winning gospel group, Gold City, and was their bass player from 1989 to 1995.

As the full-time bassist/road manager for bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, you can hear Fain’s nimble fingers and homespun skill at work on the 2007 Grammy awarded album, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. [less...]
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Greg Garrison
Greg Garrison has strong connections to the musical worlds of bluegrass, folk, jazz, and rock, and has been able to work with a wide range of musicians including Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Ron Miles, Del McCoury, Jayme Stone, Art Lande, Fred Hess, Rudy Royston, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton, and Vassar Clements.  From 2005 until 2008, Garrison toured with mandolin virtuoso and composer Chris Thile, and along with Thile, was a founding member of the critically acclaimed chamber-bluegrass ensemble (and Nonesuch recording artist) Punch Brothers.  [more...] Garrison is featured prominently as a performer and writer on Punch, the band’s 2008 debut release, as well as Thile’s solo record How to Grow a Woman from the Ground.  During Garrison’s tenure with Thile and Punch Brothers, he performed at Carnegie Hall, on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, at the Grand Old Opry, and garnered two Grammy nominations. 

Denver based trumpeter/composer Ron Miles features Garrison as part of his groups, and his bass playing can be heard on the “Blossom” side of Miles’s 2006 Sterling Circle release Stone/Blossom.

Juno award winning banjoist Jayme Stone (www.jaymestone.com) featured Garrison on his recent critically acclaimed and Juno nominated album “Room of Wonders” along with guitarist Grant Gordy and fiddle whiz Casey Driessen.

Greg has also been a member of Colorado bluegrass/rock band Leftover Salmon since 2000, recording three albums with the band and performing at venues and festivals across the U.S. like Red Rocks, Telluride Bluegrass, High Sierra, and Bonnaroo. 

Garrison continues to maintain an active performing and recording schedule with several regional and national artists in addition to his teaching duties at Metropolitan State College and the University of Colorado at Denver.  He received his MM in Double Bass Performance from the University of Northern Colorado, and his BM from the University of Illinois. He also holds a DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado, where he explored the common roots of all forms of American improvised music. [less...]
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Eric Thorin
Eric Thorin is a musician based in Lyons, Colorado. Raised in a musical family, his first professional engagement was playing trombone next to his father in a big band. He has studied with Stephen Fulton, Edgar Meyer, Art Lande, John Williams (University of Oklahoma), Ed Krolick (University of Northern Colorado), Gene Aitken (UNC) and James Vaughn (UNC) just to name a few. Recent recording credits include Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore's Saints and Sinners (co-producer with Ben Winship); electric bass on Gaelic Storm's release Chicken Boxer (#1 on Billboard World Music Charts); producing albums for Romano Paoletti, Gary Bragg and Nancy Thorwardson; [more...] arranging, upright bass and tuba performing for Katie Glassman's Snapshot. Recent live opportunities have included Jim Kweskin, Leftover Salmon, and Doug MacCleod. Current projects include The Matt Flinner Trio with Ross Martin, Brother Mule with Ben Winship and Brian Wicklund, and Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore. Past projects include the Open Road Bluegrass Band, Tony Furtado Band, 30db and Hamster Theater. Also performed with Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, salsa maestro Eddie Santiago, Billy Eckstine, Ronnie Bedford, Chuck Lamb, Tony Trishka, Danny Barnes , the Drew Emmitt Band and a host of diverse artists. Eric is renowned for his teaching style and results and continues to teach internationally in camps and workshops such as Rockygrass Academy, Sorefingers (UK), the Yellowstone Jazz Camp, Grand Targhee Music Academy, Augusta Heritage Center, Nimblefingers Sorrento (BC, Canada) as well as privately. Eric lives in Lyons, Colorado with his wife fiddler Jessie Burns. He has co-lead the bluegrass jam at Oskar Blues on Tuesday nights for nearly ten years and continues to do so when he's not touring. [less...] Top

Songwriting Instructor
Jon Randall
Jon Randall
Jon Randall first gained recognition as guitarist for Emmylou Harris' band, the Grammy-winning Nash Ramblers. He has also toured with Earl Scruggs and Sam Bush; recorded with Harris, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt and several others; and written several hit songs, including “Whiskey Lullaby,” the CMA Song of the Year in 2005 for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss (co-written with Bill Anderson). In 1995, Sony Tree signed Jon to a songwriting deal, and he landed a recording contract with BNA Records where he released What You Don't Know, his debut album. The following year he enjoyed chart success with "By My Side," a duet with another Opry member, Lorrie Morgan. [more...]  Randall moved to Asylum Records in 1998 where he recorded his third album, Cold Coffee Morning.  On the verge of the album's release, Asylum closed.  Randall moved to Eminent Records, an independent label, where he recorded his 1999 album Willin'.   

While his solo career was sidetracked, he found steady work as a session musician and singer.  As a member of Sam Bush's band, he recorded 1996's Glamour & Grits and 1997's Howlin' at the Moon.  He also toured and recorded with Lyle Lovett.  He sang with Opry star Patty Loveless on her 2001 albumMountain Soul and 2002's Bluegrass & White Snow (2002).  He and Loveless combined voices on the Grammy® Award-winning Livin,' Lovin,' Losin,': Songs of the Louvin Brothers.   

Randall is a much-in-demand songwriter.  With Opry member Bill Anderson, he co-wrote the 1993 hit "Whiskey Lullaby."  Recorded by Opry members Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, the song won the Country Music Association's 2004 Musical Event of the Year Award.  With Gary Allan and Jaime Hanna, he co-wrote "She's So California," Allan's 2008 single.  Randall also co-wrote The Lost Trailers' 2009 single "All This Love."

In 2005, Randall released another solo endeavor, Walking Among the Living[less...]
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Vocal Instructor
Laurie Lewis
Laurie Lewis is one of the most acclaimed and accomplished performers on the acoustic-music scene today. A stirring vocalist, gifted songwriter, champion fiddler, and topnotch bandleader, she has won a Grammy and twice been named Female Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. With nearly 20 solo, duo, and band albums to her credit, she recently released Skippin' and Flyin', a tribute to Bill Monroe and a Lewis tour de force in performance. Her singing is perfectly attuned to the material, soaring and muscular at times, or softening to a whisper when that’s what a song calls for — and if anyone could manage to forget her fine yodeling, [more...] there are reminders of that, too. And while she’s more than happy to give the spotlight to fiddler Chad Manning or guitarist Scott Huffman, it’s clear that when she picks up either instrument that she’s among the most accomplished and most idiomatic yet original players on each.  [less...] Top

Bands-in-Residence
John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band
Part bluegrass, part 70’s singer-songwriter vocal harmonies, and part impeccable songwriting; the diverse material performed by these four legendary musicians is a spot-on union of seasoned showmanship. Traditional bluegrass standards fit seamlessly next to contemporary songs like the Pedersen-penned classic, “Wait A Minute” and Randall’s CMA Song of the Year, “Whiskey Lullaby.” The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band features four legendary musicians:  John Jorgenson on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Herb Pedersen on banjo, guitar and vocals; Jon Randall on guitar and vocals; and Mark Fain on bass. [more...] Jorgenson and Pedersen are founders (with Chris Hillman, formerly of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers) of the formative country rock band:  Desert Rose Band. Music virtuoso John Jorgenson, known for his blistering guitar and mandolin licks and mastery of a broad musical palette, has earned a reputation as a world-class musician, as evidenced by his collaborations with Earl Scruggs, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan and many others. In 2008, Jorgenson won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental with Brad Paisley and received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album with Earl Scruggs. Jorgenson, who has played with Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jim and Jesse, David Grisman and others, has enjoyed a successful career with the Desert Rose Band and the Hellecasters; as a member of Elton John's band for six years; and most recently, in his John Jorgenson Quintet and John Jorgenson Electric Band configurations.  One of the elite Gypsy Jazz players in the world, Jorgenson portrayed Django Reinhardt in the Hollywood feature film Head in the Clouds.

Herb Pedersen was a member of legendary bluegrass band The Dillards as well as bluegrass super-group Old and In the Way.  His own groups like the Laurel Canyon Ramblers and the Desert Rose Band further illustrate why Pedersen is so respected in the industry.  A highly sought after singer and musician, he has played/worked/sang with such music icons as Flatt and Scruggs, Chris Hillman, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Tony Rice, the Kentucky Colonels, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, John Denver, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Vince Gill, Stephen Stills, Smokey Grass Boys, John Prine and Kris Kristofferson.  Pedersen wrote the classics “Old Train” and “Wait A Minute.”    

Jon Randall first gained recognition as guitarist for Emmylou Harris' band, the Grammy-winning Nash Ramblers. He has also toured with Earl Scruggs and Sam Bush; recorded with Harris, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt and several others; and written several hit songs, including “Whiskey Lullaby,” the CMA Song of the Year in 2005 for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss (co-written with Bill Anderson). 

Mark Fain toured and recorded as bass player in the award-winning Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 13 years. He’s also toured and recorded with Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Dwight Yoakam and has produced many artists in the bluegrass, jazz, country, and gospel genres. [less...]
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Matt Flinner Trio
Since its inception in 2002, the Matt Flinner Trio has been performing its own brand of acoustic music around the country to rave reviews. Mandolinist Matt Flinner, guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin cover a wide variety of musical styles---all with the common ground of originality. Bluegrass, jazz and Celtic music are all present here, but not necessarily overtly or in a contrived sense. Call it Americana Music, or New Acoustic, or Chamber Grass, or just call it Great Music; whatever label you put on it, it is guaranteed to be fresh and original, and definitely something you've never quite heard before. On select tours, the Trio performs music that is as fresh as it gets---music written the day of the show. [more...] In these "Music du Jour" Tours, each member of the Trio writes music each day of the tour, and each dayʼs music is debuted on that eveningʼs show. The results are stylistically varied, unpredictable and always exciting. The Matt Flinner Trio released their fi rst CD, "Music du Jour," in April of 2009 on Compass Records. The CD features selected compositions from various "Music du Jour" tours the trio did between 2006-8. Bluegrass, jazz and even a little bit of circus music are part of the mix; "Music du Jour" breaks new ground in acoustic string band music and is destined to be a classic new acoustic recording. Their new CD, "Winter Harvest," was released in February 2012 on Compass. [less...] Top

Kids Camp Instructors
KC Groves
When K.C. Groves was a young musician she was mentored by bluegrass and acoustic music greats such as Sally Van Meter, Charles Sawtelle and Laurie Lewis. She has since become a driving force in her own right, passing on that spark and pure joy of playing music. A multi-faceted musician, spirited bandleader and inspiring mentor, K.C.’s energy, tenacity, and creativity seem to be boundless. But she’s simply, “paying it forward,” as she puts it, answering the call to keep the music she loves a living experience. An accomplished instrumentalist [more...] (mandolin, guitar, bass), vocalist and songwriter, K.C. has been at the heart of many celebrated projects. As the creative center and bandleader of Uncle Earl for over a decade, K.C. helped bring old time music to a wider audience. The g’Earls played major festival stages in the United States and toured extensively abroad, gaining fans and musical cohorts such as Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who produced their 2007 album Waterloo, Tennessee.

In addition to Uncle Earl, K.C. has released two solo albums of original material, and was a Telluride Troubadour contest finalist. She has also teamed up with countless notable musicians, including Betse Ellis of The Wilders, Uncle Earl band mate Kristin Andreassen, old time musician and craftsman Riley Baugus and Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman.

K.C.'s latest project is playing bass and singing harmonies with the band Jeff Scroggins & Colorado.

K.C.’s home base in the seemingly sleepy town of Lyons in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies is home to Planet Bluegrass, the hallowed grounds that play host to RockyGrass and Folks Fest, and serves as a creative nexus for Front Range bluegrass and acoustic musicians.

Along with founding the High Street Concert series in Lyons, K.C. has spearheaded the weekly bluegrass jam at Oskar Blues. About to celebrate its tenth anniversary, the weekly jam is an encouraging environment for up and coming musicians. K.C. has been instrumental in providing support and advice for young players, with her latest protégé being the young mandolin prodigy Bella Betts.

“What makes bluegrass so cool is it’s a tradition that remains alive by fostering it and keeping the attention of young players,” K.C. explains. “Bluegrass is so hands on. When you go to a festival, you can go up and talk to your heroes. I feel like it’s my duty to pass it on.” [less...]
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Kate Hamre
Kate grew up in Anchorage, Alaska listening to her parents and friends play bluegrass, old tyme, and folk music. At the age of 14, she joined Bearfoot, a nationally touring band, and played festival such as Merlefest, Greyfox, Wintergrass, Rockygrass, and Telluride to name a few. As a Compass recording artist, Bearfoot cut their 4th album, called "Doors and Windows" in April 2009, which quickly rose to #1 in the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. Kate is also the director of the renowned bluegrass music education program, "Bluegrass Camps for Kids", which has taught thousands of children internationally in the last decade. This year [more...] will be her 9th year leading the Rockygrass Academy for Kids, along with 10 other camps in 2011 in various locations across the U.S. Kate also has a B.S. in Elementary Education through the University of Idaho and is now teaching in San Francisco after leaving Bearfoot last April. [less...] Top
Justin Hoffenberg
Justin Hoffenberg is originally from Illinois, but now makes his home in Boulder, CO. When he was in the fifth grade, Justin began playing the violin for school orchestra, and shortly after discovered bluegrass. Ever since, he has dedicated much of his life to the music, and is now on the road to achieving his goal of being a professional bluegrass musician. Currently the fiddle player with Long Road Home, Justin has shared the stage with such performers as the Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Del McCoury Band, Hot Rize and others. After high school, Justin decided to give full time music a shot [more...] instead of going straight into college, and is still touring and producing full time. Justin draws his inspiration from a variety of sources, including the classic styles of Benny Martin and Chubby Wise, the blues and jazz of Vassar Clements and Darol Anger, and the newer sounds of Jason Carter and Stuart Duncan. [less...] Top
Jacob Groopman
Originally from Richmond Virginia,  Jacob moved to the San Francisco bay area in 2004 after graduating from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a degree in Jazz Studies. Since then he has established himself as a highly sought after player and teacher. Playing with a wide variety of bands from bluegrass to world music to rock and roll Jacob has toured nationally and internationally with bands playing festivals such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, Outside Lands and SF Jazz winning awards like Best Band of the East Bay and The National Bluegrass Playoffs. [more...] He is a well rounded and extremely diverse musician with the ability to play and teach from professional experience a wide variety of instrumental styles on the acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin and electric bass.

Jacob has taught privately for years around the East Bay in private homes and at The 5th String music  store in Berkeley. His lesson studio has always welcomed students of all ages, backgrounds and musical interests. He also brings extensive experience working with kids. While a counselor at Camp Rockmont in North Carolina, he founded the guitar instruction program that still exists today. For the last five summers he has traveled to Alaska to the Cordova 4H Bluegrass music camp teaching group classes on guitar and mandolin and coaching a kid band. From 2007-2010 Jacob worked at The Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera teaching in the after school music program where he maintained a studio of around 20 students from 1st to 8th grade and coached a variety of kid rock bands. Since then he has maintained a private studio around the East Bay, Marin and out of his wonderful home studio in Richmond. [less...]
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Leslie Ziegler
Leslie Ziegler
Leslie Ziegler began dedicating herself to the upright bass at a very young age. Beginning as a classical musician, she followed her passion to study and pursue a future in music at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During her time there, she focused her studies on Music Education and performed in various orchestras and string ensembles around the Midwest. While pursuing her studies at WMU, she immersed herself in the rich local music scene of Kalamazoo, revealing a love for Bluegrass and folk music. She soon found herself playing several times a week with locally popular bands such as [more...] The Mossy Mountain Band and Who Hit John? on upright bass, fiddle and vocals. Currently, Leslie lives in Lyons, CO, and is well know along the Front Range for her versatile musical talent as well as her ability to educate and motivate a variety of students. She has performed with popular musical acts such as Spring Creek, The Jaspers, and Ashleigh Flynn, and others. By day, Leslie teaches orchestra music in the Boulder Valley School District, where she nurtures and encourages a future generation of music lovers. She is also an active member of the bands Magnolia Row and The Railsplitters. [less...] Top

Instrument Building Instructors
Michael Hornick
Michael Hornick is the builder of Shanti Guitars. After building his first guitar in 1985, he worked at Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and presently works alone in his shop in Missoula, Montana, building about twelve instruments a year. Michael has built the first place guitar prize for the nationally recognized Telluride Troubadour contest from its inception in 1991, and helped design the original mandolin and mandola kits. His love of lutherie is reflected in the high quality of craftsmanship found in each of his custom instrument. [more...] Michael has assisted students in the building of well over two hundred mandolin kits over the past seventeen years. [less...] Top
Chuck Midgley
Chuck Midgley
Chuck has known Michael Hornick since 1992, owns a Shanti guitar, and has assisted Michael with the mando building class since 2002. Each year Chuck produces a mandolin while assisting other students with theirs. In his other life, he is a master mechanic building hot rods in California. Top
Dan Roberts
Dan Roberts began his instrument making career with Flatiron Banjo and Mandolin Company in Bozeman, MT. He was production manager for Gibson Montana Division before moving to California as luthier and production manager for Santa Cruz Guitar Company. Dan lived in Santa Cruz for 6 years before moving back to Montana to work for Santa Cruz out of his own shop. There he built the SCGC archtops, did new model design and some prototypes, and was the warranty repairman, service manager, and production manager with the help of an on-site [more...] shop foreman. After 17 years with SCGC Dan hung out his own shingle and is a Custom guitar maker building Roberts Guitars. Dan has been teaching the mandolin building class at Rockygrass Academy since 1996. [less...]Top
Bobby Wintringham
Bobby Wintringham is returning for his sixth year as an instructor at the Academy's mandolin building experience. He is a full time luthier building San Juan Mandolins in his shop in Dolores, Colorado.  Says Bobby, "The only thing more rewarding than building instruments is being able to share that knowledge with others." Top