Acoustic Music Seminar • The Acoustic Music Seminar (AMS) is a groundbreaking mentorship program for young American string players,involving six days of hands-on instruction for some of the most promising and talented young string players in America. Led by acclaimed mandolin player Mike Marshall, this year’s students will learn from world-class musicians and artists such as Julian Lage, David Grisman, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, and Rushad Eggleston. After a week of master classes, workshops, and jam sessions, AMS culminates in a sensational stringband showcase for festival audiences.

The Acoustic Music Seminar is part of the Savannah Music Festival (SMF), and is only in its second year. The program was designed by Mike Marshall and Rob Gibson, SMF’s executive director, to give young up-and-coming string players the chance to learn from and play with some of the best acoustic musicians around, all of whom are playing at the festival. Because SMF is such a diverse festival, AMS participants learn from musicians in genres of music they might not be familiar with, in addition to those who are their heroes.
Last year, AMS participants had master classes with Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Hindustani master tabla player Zakir Hussain,classical violinist Daniel Hope, and David Finckel (cellist for the Emerson String Quartet). Throughout the week they worked with Mike Marshall and Tony Trischka on their own compositions, which they performed in a showcase finale.

“I enjoyed seeing what all the other students at AMS 2012 brought to the table, and collaborating with them offered it’s own kind of discovery. The faculty was legendary and left me with a lot to think about. I’m glad I went and that a new cast of students will get to have a similar experience next year.” – Paul Kowert

This year, they are accepting 16 talented string players up to age 22. AMS Director Mike Marshall and guitarist Julian Lage will be in residence the entire week (April 1-6), and the clinicians include Darol Anger, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Casey Driessen, Martin Taylor, Bruce Molsky, Rushad Eggleston, Daniel Hope, and more. Participants will not only have 6 days of instruction in playing, but also songwriting and and ensemble work as well as sessions on practical information for professional musicians, such as marketing oneself.


Mike Marshall, AMS Director, is one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians, a masterful mandolinist whose playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling.Able to swing gracefully in any musical style, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an unusually potent blend intellect and emotion a combination of musical skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists. Throughout his career, Mr. Marshall has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor, five-string banjo phenom Bela Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell. He is also a former member of the David Grisman Quintet.
Julian Lage is a 24-year old guitarist/composer from Santa Rosa, California. Performing first at age six, Mr. Lage was a child prodigy. He was classically trained at the San Francisco Conservatoryand has a degree from Berklee College of Music. Mr. Lage has performed with such renowned artists as Gary Burton, Mark O’Connor, Chris Potter, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Werner, Toots Thielemans and David Grisman, among many others. He has performed at festivals and events worldwide, including the London Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, and San Francisco Jazz Festival.
An acoustic pioneer and innovator, David Grisman has forged a unique personal artistic path, skillfully combining elements of the great American music/art forms–jazz and bluegrass with many international flavors and sensibilities to create his own distinctive idiom–”Dawg” music (the nickname given him by Jerry Garcia.) In doing so, he’s inspired new generations of acoustic string musicians, while creating his own niche in contemporary music. His discography is filled with notables including Jerry Garcia, Stephane Grappelli, the Grateful Dead, John Hartford, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor and Doc Watson. After recording for major and independent labels, David founded Acoustic Disc in 1990 and entered the most prolific period of his career, producing 67 critically acclaimed CDs (five of which were Grammy-nominated). In 2010 he launched, the first download website devoted to acoustic music.
Jerry Douglas, described as “the Muhammad Ali of the Dobro” by James Taylor and “my favorite musician” by John Fogerty, began playing Dobro at the age of eight. At 17 years old Douglas joined the pioneering progressive-bluegrass band the Country Gentlemen in 1973, and two years later, he became a member of the seminal J.D. Crowe and the New South, which also included future solo stars Ricky Skaggsand Tony Rice. In 1976, Douglas and Skaggs co-founded the now-legendary bluegrass combo Boone Creek. In the late ’80s, he formed the acoustic supergroup Strength in Numbers with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor, and joined Alison Krauss and Union Station as a permanent member in the late ’90s. As a solo artist, band member, collaborator and session musician, his distinctive playing graces over 2000 albums by artists as varied as Garth Brooks, Ray Charles, Elvis Costello, John Fogerty, Bill Frisell, Charlie Haden, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Phish, The Chieftains and Mumford & Sons as well as the eight-million-plus selling soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and its spinoff live disc Down from the Mountain.
Violinist, fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. With the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet, Anger developed and popularized new techniques for playing contemporary music styles on string instruments. The virtuosic “Chambergrass” groups Darol Anger’s Republic Of Strings, Psychograss, and the long-lived Anger-Marshall Duo feature his compositions and arrangements. His Grammy-nominated folk-jazz group Montreux was the original musical model for the New Adult Contemporary radio format. The David Grisman Quintet forged a new genre of acoustic string band music with Darol’s “fertile inventiveness, surprising touches and technical mastery” (Boston Herald) often in the forefront. 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 is a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks.
Martin Taylor is a multi-award winning guitarist and Acoustic Guitar magazine calls him ‘THE Acoustic Guitarist of his Generation’. His inimitable style has seen him recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo fingerstyle guitar playing. Taylor has invented and developed a way of playing the guitar that is admired, and often imitated, by guitarists all over the world. He has collaborated with artists including Jeff Beck, Tommy Emmanuel, Bill Wyman, Chet Atkins, David Grisman, Diane Schuur and Gary Burton. As one of the world’s most recognized online guitar teachers, his innovative online guitar school is subscribed to by guitarists in over 58 countries.
Bruce Molsky stands today as the premier old-time fiddler in the world, the defining virtuoso of Appalachia’s timeless folk music traditions. In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four, and Mozaik, with Hungarian Nikola Parov, and Celtic giant Donal Lunny. He was on Nickel Creek‘s farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden’s great Ale Moller.
Five times winner of the ECHO Klassik Prize, British violinist Daniel Hope has performed as soloist with some of the world’s most distinguished orchestras, such as the Boston, Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, Israel and Royal Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Orchestre National de France and NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and with conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christian Thielemann and Sir Roger Norrington. He is the winner of the Classical Brit Award, and is four times Grammy nominated.
After releasing a small-press album called Nico and Rushad in 1999 (with fellow musician Nico Georis), Rushad Egglestonmade his large-scale recording debut with his self-titled Compass Records release with Fiddlers 4 which was nominated for a 2002 Grammy, as well as with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, bringing him to national prominence. Eggleston has toured extensively with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, Fiddler’s 4, and the alternative folk/bluegrass group he helped found, Crooked Still. Crooked Still released two CD with Eggleston, one in 2004 and the second in 2006. Eggleston also released a more experimental album named “Playhouse of the Universe” July 10, 2006 with The Wild Band of Snee, as well as another of his goofier albums, Rushad Eggleston and The Butt Wizards.  Rushad currently performs with his band Tornado Rider.
Casey Driessen is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Matt Glaser. He has performed with Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Steve Earle, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Jim Lauderdale, Lee Ann Womack, Mark Schatz, Chris Thile, Kenny Malone, and many more. His recording credits include sessions with Darol Anger, John Mayer, Jerry Douglas, Jamey Haddad, and Blue Merle, as well as the soundtrack for the Johnny Cash film Walk the Line. His first solo recording, 3D, was released in May 2006 on Sugar Hill Records and in 2007, the track Jerusalem Ridge received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance.

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