Festival of American Fiddle Tunes Artist Faculty


We’re currently assembling the teaching staff for 2016. Here’s who we have so far. Stay tuned!


pedro-dimasGrupo de Cuerdas Mirando el Lago

Pedro Dimas
Hermenegildo Dimas
Miguel Dimas

The music that Don Pedro played for almost 50 years with his family string band, “Mirando el Lago” (Gazing at the Lake), is traditional indigenous music from the Purepecha communities of Michoacán, Mexico. Don Pedro and his family are from Ichupio, a small village community made up of houses sprinkled on the hillside above Lake Pátzcuaro.

He is a master violinist and composer in the music and dance traditions from that region, traditions are still a vital part of everyday life for the Purepecha people. Purepecha tunes, usually played in harmony on two fiddles, is a fast-paced energetic dance music generally played at weddings, birthday parties, baptisms, and other community gatherings. The rhythms behind Don Pedro will be provided by his sons, Miguel on vihuela and Hermenegildo on guitar and tololoche.

Find out why the violin is just Don Pedro’s second love.

For videos and photos, click here: Mirando el Lago.


alice_gerrardAlice Gerrard – Old Time

In a career spanning some 50 years, Alice Gerrard has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music. Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.

Alice’s four solo albums, Pieces of My Heart, and Calling Me Home, and Bittersweet (produced by Laurie Lewis), were released  to critical acclaim in Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country, and other publications. These superb recordings showcase Alice’s many talents: her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals; and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo, and old-time fiddle. Her most recent album, Follow the Music (produced by Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger) was nominated for a 2015 Grammy.

Alice has appeared on more than 20 recordings, including projects with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, Luther Davis and Matokie Slaughter; with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad & Alice, with the Harmony Sisters,  the Herald Angels, Beverly Smith, and with Anna R-g and Elizabeth LaPrelle. With her in-depth knowledge of mountain music, she has produced or written liner notes for a dozen more. She also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films.

A tireless advocate of traditional music, Alice has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award. In 1987 Alice founded The Old-Time Herald and the Old-Time Music Group, a non-profit organization that oversees publication of The Old-Time Herald. Alice served as editor-in-chief of The Old-Time Herald from 1987 till 2003. She continues to perform solo and with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich, the Herald Angels, and Beverly Smith.

phil-jamisonPhil Jamison – Old Time

Founding coordinator of Old-Time Music & Dance Week, Phil is nationally-known as a dance caller, musician, and flatfoot dancer. Since the early 1970s he has been calling dances and performing and teaching at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas, including thirty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant.

From 1982 through 2004, he toured and played guitar with Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers, and he also plays fiddle and banjo. A longtime proponent of traditional Southern square dancing, in 2004, he founded Dare To Be Square!, a weekend workshop for square dance callers. Phil has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in 2015.

Phil teaches mathematics and Appalachian music at Warren Wilson College, and in 2008, he became the twelfth recipient of the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award for lifetime achievement.


Bertram in 1977, photo by Don Minnerle

Bertram in 1977, photo by Don Minnerle

Bertram Levy – Old Time

Bertram Levy was born in New York in 1941 into a family of classical, swing and klezmer musicians. He started playing classical music on the piano from an early age, but his destiny was to be in a different direction. At age 14 he embraced the 5-string banjo and immersed himself in Southern folk music. As a result he chose to attend college in Atlanta, Georgia where he played bluegrass banjo for six years.

In l965 he moved to Durham, North Carolina to study medicine. There, he met a fellow graduate student, Alan Jabbour who had had been searching out fiddle tunes from old-time fiddlers in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, including the extraordinary Western Virginia fiddler Henry Reed. Bertram learned this repertoire from Alan and, together with Tommy and Bobbie Thompson, formed the legendary Hollow Rock String Band. The Hollow Rock was the first young urban band to play the repertoire collected directly from the old timers.

Bertram settled in Port Townsend in the mid-70s, where he played music and practiced medicine for 30 years. In 1977 he started the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which celebrates its 40th gathering in 2016.


lewis-rozumLaurie Lewis & Tom Rozum – Bluegrass

Songwriter, fiddler, vocalist, teacher, and producer Laurie Lewis is among the best known and best admired bluegrass musicians of either gender in the world. Two-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, she is also a great fiddler and guitar player, an extraordinary songwriter and arranger and a hard-working and effective band leader. She has an astounding range of talents and interests (dance, violin making, long-distance bicycling, and more…).The Sacramento News called her “as fine a singer as anyone on the acoustic music circuit, anywhere in the world.” Billboard praised her ability to “successfully walk the high wire above esoteric country, combining elements of bluegrass and pure country to form her own seamless mix.”

Since joining forces with Laurie in 1986, Tom Rozum’s versatility and diverse musical influences come to the fore every night on stage with the band. He plays primarily mandolin with the band, but is also an accomplished fiddle, mandola, and guitar player. His background as a rock and swing musician adds a uniquely satisfying flavor to the band. His rhythmic approach to mandolin especially punctuates the band’s repertoire, adding to their on-stage shows a verve and excitement that has become a distinctive feature of their performances.


Jamming with French Cajun musicians-Ris OrangisThe Savoy Family: Ann, Marc, Gabie, Joel, Wilson, & Sarah – Cajun

The Savoy Family Cajun Band plays honed down, hard-core Cajun music laced with an earthy sensuality. In their hands, the old tunes have been revived and returned to new life. Marc and Ann Savoy and their sons Joel and Wilson are strong individual musicians working together to create a tight, intense sound.

Marc and Ann have been performing and recording together since 1977. They have traveled all over the world, appearing in such prestigious venues as the Newport Folk Festival, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty Museum, and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Ann and Joel appeared in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and they performed on the Warner Brothers Soundtrack, as well as at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. Ann served as associate music producer on All The King’s Men (Sony Pictures) , wrote a song that was used in the film, and she, Joel and Wilson appeared therein with Sean Penn as musicians.

Marc Savoy has received the National Heritage Fellowship Award. Marc and Ann appeared on the PBS series “American Roots,” and Ann wrote the chapter on Cajun music in the book , Rolling Stones Press,that accompanied the series. Ann was awarded the Botkin Book Award for her definitive Cajun Music, A Reflection of a People. Wilson, as a member of the Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys, appeared on HBO’s “Treme” series. And Joel was a founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers and today has his own record company, Valcour Records..

Maintaining a more acoustic approach to Cajun music, the Savoy Family Cajun Band can nonetheless hold its own amongst Cajun music lovers everywhere, and takes pride in drawing considerable power from four acoustic instruments.


tony-demarcoTony Demarco – Irish 

Tony DeMarco: Irish fiddler. If that sounds slightly off, you have only to listen to the music on this recording to be cured of any preconceptions about the importance of ethnic purity in traditional music. There may have been a time when Irish music in New York City was played exclusively by Irish immigrants and their offspring, while their Italian neighbors strummed mandolins and sang opera. But the Big Apple really is a melting pot, at least for some of its disparate immigrant elements. Before World War II it really wasn’t very common for Italian and Irish Americans to marry each other. By the 1950s, however, this kind of ethnic mixing was fairly normal in Tony’s native Brooklyn, where the Italians and Irish lived side by side and attended the same parish churches.

He never grew up with the competitive Irish Comhaltas scene—he came through the hippie scene, the folkie scene. He tells the story of how he took up the fiddle and discovered Irish music in his own contribution to these notes, but it is worth repeating here that his first exposure to Irish traditional music was through a Folkways recording of the County Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman. Tony had many other musical influences before this, and would have many more afterward, but for him the appeal of the Sligo fiddle style would never fade.


Alicia-SvigalsAlicia Svigals – Klezmer

Alicia Svigals is the world’s leading klezmer fiddler, a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics who she co-led for seventeen years, and a composer who was selected to be a 2014 MacDowell Fellow.   She has played with and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and  Eve Ensler, the late poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman, Avraham Fried, singer/songwriters Diane Birch, Gary Lucas and Najma Akhtar, and many others. She has appeared on David Letterman, MTV, PBS’ Great Performances, NPR’s Prairie Home Companion, Weekend Edition and New Sounds, and on the soundtrack for the L-Word.

patrick-farrellSvigals is the recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Culture Network commission for her new score to the 1918 Pola Negri silent movie The Yellow Ticket.  She is currently touring this multimedia event, in which she and pianist Marilyn Lerner perform live to screenings of the film.

Accompanying Alicia will be Patrick Farrell, an accordionist, composer and bandleader based in Brooklyn, NY who has been described as a “wizard” (Feast of Music) and as a player of “mordant wit and blistering speed” (Lucid Culture).

He is an integral part of the international klezmer community, plays with “new music” and improvisational groups, and enthusiastically toots on an alto horn in various brass bands.

Farrell has appeared on over 35 recordings, most recently with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and Ljova and the Kontraband, and also enjoys working with dance and theater ensembles as a composer, music director and accompanist.