Mark O'Connor - Described by “The Los Angeles Times” as "one of the most talented and imaginative artists working in music - any music - today,” fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor has long been one of the country’s most sought-after session players. In addition to winning every major fiddle contest (before he hit his teens) and having more than 750 LP credits, O’Connor has racked up six Country Music Association “Musician of the Year” awards. His 1996 release “Appalachia Spring” spent 16 weeks at the No.1 spot on Billboard’s classical chart while the follow-up, “Appalachian Journey,” earned him a Grammy in 2001. With more than 200 performances, his first full length orchestral score "Fiddle Concerto" has become the most-performed modern violin concerto. In 2001, O'Connor released “Hot Swing!” a tribute to legendary French jazz master - and O’Connor’s longtime friend and mentor - Stephane Grappelli. On his new release, “MOC4,” O’Connor collaborates with six acclaimed violinists who have been mentored by O’Connor. The recording is the latest installment of O’Connor’s series dedicated to classic American music. O’Connor has also issued the next book in his revolutionary teaching program, ‘O’Connor Method Book IV. The book includes the sheet music for ‘MOC4,’ and furthers O’Connor’s mission to redefine string music education in schools and private studios around the world with the genres and styles embedded in American music culture.
Sierra Hull - At age 12, none other than Alison Krauss invited her onstage at the Grand Ole Opry and she was soon courted by Krauss’ label, Rounder Records. At age 16, Sierra Hull released her debut, “Secrets,” and her studio bands have included veterans like Stuart Duncan, Randy Kohrs and Bryan Sutton. Attending Berklee School of Music, Hull became the first bluegrass musician to receive the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship. In the past three years, she has been nominated for five IBMA awards and may be the first woman to win the mandolin category. Matt Glaser, head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program, said, “She has no limitations as a musician.” Her current release, “Daybreak,” features seven original songs.
OCEAN Orchestra – Led by accordionist, keyboardist and songwriter Jennifer Cutting, the OCEAN Orchestra describes its music as “Celtic Music for Ancient Moderns.” A staple throughout the mid-Atlantic region at festivals and concert halls, the group also features superb vocalist Lisa Moscatiello, Scottish fiddling champion Andrew Dodds, and Steve Winick on vocals and percussion. Both Cutting and Winick work at the Library of Congress while Winick earned a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and teaches at George Washington and George Mason universities.
Cardinal Sons - Balancing heavy synth lines and crunchy guitar with steady drums, the three brothers of Cardinal Sons cultivate a sound steeped in the musical identity of their upbringing. Raised in Mississippi and finding a home in New OrleansJohn, Joe, and Dave play danceable, folky, indie rock leavened with three-part harmonies and a left hand for a bass player. While preparation began for their next recording, Cardinal Sons traveled to NYC in the fall of 2013 and won the NewSong Contest, an international performance and songwriting showcase and competition. Their latest release, the five-song Echo EP sees the brothers expanding and refining their sound, crafting venerable pop hooks without losing sight of their soulful foundation.
Dave Bing and Ben Townsend – A member of the Bing Brothers and Gandydancer, Roane County, West Virginia native Dave Bing is a veteran teacher and musician, with many years of teaching and performing throughout the United States and abroad. He plays a wide variety of West Virginia fiddle and banjo music, from the Hammons Family to bluegrass, and from square dance standards to obscure crooked pieces. Ben Townsend has been focused on playing traditional and contemporary string band music in different groups and solo for more than a decade - first with a band based out of West Virginia called The Fox Hunt, and now as member of the internationally known Hackensaw Boys.