The following video has recently been uploaded to youtube.
2018 North Carolina Heritage Award recipient Tony Williamson is a visionary musician, composer, musical instrument expert, teacher and mentor. He has played stringed instruments, most famously mandolin, for six decades and has been receiving awards and honors for his music for nearly 50 of those years. Never content to rest on his laurels, today Tony continues to perform live and travel internationally and has recordings with fresh new concepts in progress. In this documentary from 1995 Tony goes through the history of the American mandolin and plays quite a few examples of different instruments that demonstrate that history. Check out Tony’s website at www.mandolincentral.com
Tony Williamson starts with the earliest American mandolins – American bowlbacks, cylinder back, Lyon and Healy models. He then shows the whole line of Gibson instruments beginning with very early mandolins built by Orville Gibson. He plays many different instruments – mandolins, mandolas and mandocellos, mandolins with and without a Virzi Resonator and tells many interesting stories about construction, details and players.
A great video that you should not miss!
If you want to hear more music played by Tony Williamson – here is my long playlist:
The Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble was a classical mandolin ensemble. The ensemble travelled to Germany for the German Zupfmusikfest in Bonn in 1978. It was also part of the production of the CD “Rudy Cipolla – Mandolin Maestro”. It did travel again to Germany in 1982 for another Zupfmusikfest.
Kennet Frankel who played mandolin, mandola and mandocello in this group between 1976 and 1979. He has made available some recordings by the Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble on his website.
1976-1979 Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble
After my mandolin quartet, I played mandolin, mandola, and mandocello with this wonderful group in concerts, on radio, and on TV. I traveled with them to Germany as the only USA representative at the 1976 German Zupfest.
The Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble played pieces by German composers Konrad Wölki and Kurt Schwaen, transcriptions of lute music, pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Ragtimes by Scott Joplin and more.
Rudy Cipolla recording
The ensemble was part of the Rudy Cipolla album The World of Rudy Cipola which was recorded in 1982 and 1983.
The Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble with Owen Hartford and Rudy Cipolla gave an interview with live performances in 1987 which can be found in the Rudy Cipolla archive by Sheri Mignano-Crawford. Discussion in the Mandolin Cafe with link to a collection of recordings and sheet music by Rudy Cipolla. The ensemble plays works by Vivaldi, Owen Hartford and Rudy Cipolla.
Radim Zenkl and Sheri Mignano-Crawford played with the ensemble in 1989, there is a picture of the ensemble from 1989 on Radim Zenkls website.
I am currently preparing a program with Italian mandolin music. On my search for more music I have found some tunes by Rudy Cipolla and started listening to music by Rudy Cipolla.
The music from the CD Rudy Cipolla – Portrait of an American Original (Acoustic Disc) is available as youtube playlist and also on Spotify.
Playlist Rudy Cipolly – Portrait of an American Original
Spotify Playlist – Rudy Cipolla – Portrait of an American Original
One of my favorite tunes is the Study for two mandolins played by Radim Zenkl, a beautiful little duet.
I have made my own transcription of this duet and now have my own video:
This is another study for two mandolins – this one was recorded by Carlo Aonzo, David Grisman and Beppe Gambetta on the album “Traversata”
In the Mandolin Cafe you can find additional information in a discussion with pictures and also a link to a shared Dropbox folder by Sheri Mignano-Crawford with recordings from the Rudy Cipolla Memorial Tribute Concert and sheet music transcriptions of many Rudy Cipolla compositions.
The New Vintage Frets is an American mandolin ensemble based in Wisconsin. In 2018 this ensemble produced a CD titled: The Wisconsin/Vega Project CD
This unique CD offers present day recordings of century-old mandolin ensemble arrangements thoughtfully selected from Wisconsin-based mandolin orchestra libraries. Pieces in the collection were published in either the 1890s or early 1900s. The recordings were made in 2017 and 2018 with string parts played on antique, Vega brand mandolin-family instruments.