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Festival of the Mandolins

  Sunday , Apr 26, 2015         11:00 AM        11AM Workshops 1PM Concert Tix $20, $15 adv, children free

Event Details


Join us for the 15th annual San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins.  There will be diverse mandolin performances at the 1PM concert, preceeded by workshops at 11AM. Performers will include;  Aurora Mandolin Orchestra, Ashley Broder, Tom Bekeny and the Missing Man Quartet, Duo Pizzicato w/ Irene Herrman, Paul Kotapish, Ragtime Skedaddlers, Instant Klezmer Mandolin Orchestra w/Yael Schy-dance leader, Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra led by Dennis Pash. Bulgarian food by chef Hristo Kolev. Advance tickets at

At 11AM join Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra featuring classic rags, led by Dennis Pash and  Workshops with Ashley Broder, Tom Bekeny.


The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra (AMO), the largest orchestra of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area, will perform for the 14th consecutive year at the SF Mandolin Festival.  Gino Pellegrini, a member of the original “Aurora” of the 1930s reformed the group in 1970 as Director and Concert Master.  He was the “heart and soul” of the orchestra until his passing in 2006 when his wife, Josephine, assumed leadership as Director/Conductor. His musical legacy prevails under her leadership with more than 30 supportive and dedicated musicians playing mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar, string bass, flute, accordion and percussion.  They continue to perform many concerts to thousands of audiences throughout the Bay Area offering diverse programs of the mandolin repertoire. Their greatest achievement was their performance in Davies Hall at San Francisco Symphony’s festive opening night.  Rehearsals every Wednesday evening in Redwood City welcome new members who read music, with no fees to join, but only the interest in attending rehearsals.Ashley Broder is an in-demand mandolinist, violinist and cellist living in Ventura, California.

Ashley Broder. With her diverse background of classical violin training and love of all fiddle styles, Ashley grew up traveling around the country learning and performing. In 2009 she joined The Syncopaths who released their first studio album together called  "FIve Gears". The band captures the energy of a contra dance band, but the subtlety of a performance band using fiddle, piano, mandolin, bodhran and vocals. They perform concert halls, festivals, and dance weekends throughout the US. Today, Ashley keeps a full studio of students and in her off-time, performs in various bands and continues to work on her solo album. Her latest project, Sam ‘n Ash, with accordionist Samantha Harvey incorporates many of her own compositions. Joining Ashley will be Jade Hendrix on stunning vocals and Coso Franklin on groovy bass.

Duo Pizzicato is Martha Hawthorne (guitar and vocals) and Bill Foss (mandolin and vocals).  Martha Hawthorne learned to sing Italian songs from her Swiss relatives and more recently during trips to Ticino, the Italian speaking canton of Switzerland. Bill first heard Italian mandolin music from Matteo Casserino while Matteo practiced with Gino DiMichele in Gino’s guitar shop in the late 1970s. Special guest Irene Herrmann (second mandolin) was honored to learn her Italian mandolin repertoire  in Santa Cruz from Riccardo Tunzi (from Locarno, Switzerland) and Tony Flores (from Sicily). She 'seconded' on harmony mandolin with both of them during the last years of their lives. She has previously performed at the Mandolin Festival with Tony Flores and Paul Hostetter in 2002 and last year as part of the Seabright Serenaders with Paul Rangell and Emily Abbink.

Instant Klezmer Mandolin Orchestra (IKMO) In the early 20th century, among the many mandolin orchestras playing light classical and popular music in Europe and America were those emphasizing Jewish music.  Carrying on this tradition, and named in recognition of its infrequent assembly, spontaneous musical arrangements, genre, instrumentation, and plethora of plinky pluckers, the Instant Klezmer Mandolin Orchestra features members of several of the San Francisco Bay Area's leading klezmer groups, and as well as mandolinists prominent in other genres, celebrity cameos, and innocent bystanders. The group originally formed to play at the San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins in 2005, returning several times, as well as at the Jewish Music Festival of the JCC East Bay in Berkeley, most recently in March 2015. IKMO has about 20 members this year. 

The Missing Man Quartet plays an exciting mix of straight ahead jazz that is heavily influenced by the swing music of the 30s and by the exciting innovations of bebop and modern jazzof the 1940s and 50s. The Missing Man Quartet is one of the rare mainstream jazz groups that features electro-acoustic mandolin alongside the more standard instrumentation of  guitar, bass, and drums. The band and is comprised of: Craig Griffeath-electric bass, Steve Gallagher--electric guitar. Aaron Hipschman—drum, Tom Bekeny--electro-acoustic mandolin. 

Paul Kotapish is known for his inventive rhythmic accompaniment and incisive melody playing on mandolin and guitar with Wake the Dead, Euphonia, Hillbillies from Mars, and with noted fiddlers such as Kevin Burke and Rodney Miller. Paul's background is in dance music, and his playing is rooted in the rural fiddle traditions of Appalachia, Ireland and beyond, but it also embraces pop idioms like rock and country. For four decades Paul has performed on concert stages and in dance halls throughout the United States and Canada, from remote fishing villages in Alaska to Lincoln Center in New York City. Foreign travel has included concert and dance tours in Europe, Great Britain, Latin America and the former Soviet Union – Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. He has performed numerous times on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and Sedge Thompson’s West Coast Live radio programs. Paul has recorded a dozen albums with his various bands, and has appeared as a guest on dozens more.

The Ragtime Skedaddlers are Dennis Pash on banjo-mandolin, Nick Robinson on mandolin, and Mike Schwartz on guitar. They play rags, cakewalks, marches, waltzes, and latin-tinge pieces from vintage mandolin and guitar sheet music arrangements. Dennis Pash has spent the greater part of his adult life researching string ragtime, and particularly that of the states of Kansas and Missouri. In addition to mandolin, he also plays banjo, guitar, and piano. Dennis is well known to ragtime enthusiasts as the founder of the legendary Etcetera String Band. He is an extraordinarily expressive player. No one is better at bringing out the folk roots that underlie so many ragtime compositions. Nick Robinson plays the second mandolin part which is unique to the published string arrangements. Nick has played a variety of music, including American old time, klezmer, and Indonesian gamelan. Mike Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied with ragtime fingerstyle guitar great Rev. Gary Davis, and learned jazz arranging and theory at the Manhattan School of Music and the New School in New York City. Mike has worked as a studio musician in Los Angeles, and he has written and arranged music for several Bay Area theater groups. Mike performs in many jazz, rock and folk clubs, including the Aurora Mandolin Orchestra. For their appearance at the 2015 SF Festival of the Mandolins, the Skedaddlers will be joined by special guest Billy Packard.

More about the performers:

--- Aurora Mandolin Orchestra
--- Ashley Broder (& workshop)
--- Tom Bekeny & the Missing Man Quartet
--- Duo Pizzicato w/ Irene Herrman
--- Paul Kotapish
---  Ragtime Skedaddlers
--- Instant Klezmer Mandolin Orch, w/ dance leader Yael Schy
--- Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra featuring classic rags, led by Dennis Pash
--- Workshops with Ashley Broder, Tom Bekeny


11:00 - 11:50 - Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra featuring Dennis Pash.
12:00 - 12:50 - Tom Bekeny; Ashey Broder (2 simultaneous workshops)

1:00 - Aurora Mandolin Orchestra
1:45 - Duo Pizzicato plus Irene Herrman
2:15 - Missing Man Quartet with Tom Bekeny
3:00 - Instant Klezmer Mandolin Orch, w/dance leader Yael Schy
3:30 - Tik Tok Trio with Paul Kotapish
4:00 - Ashley Broder
4:45 - Ragtime Skedaddlers

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