Our 2011 Gotham Acoustic Staff

Michael Daves:

Michael Daves (Mandolin): Since moving to Brooklyn in 2003, native Atlantan Michael Daves has made himself a vital part of bluegrass music in NYC and beyond, as a performer, teacher, and jam leader. His guitar picking and high-lonesome tenor singing are heard in his duo with mandolinist Chris Thile, as a part of Tony Trischka's Territory and Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectucular bands, and in his solo performances every Tuesday night at the Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He's also performed with Steve Martin and Roseann Cash among others, and the New York Times has called him a "leading light of the New York bluegrass scene. In addition to performing, Michael is in demand as a teacher, maintaining a roster of nearly 50 guitar and mandolin students. He is devoted to two main goals in teaching music - one is that music become a deeply intuitive, natural activity, and the other that it be highly individual, reflecting and cultivating each students' personality and way of expressing oneself. He is adept at helping students of all levels internalize music theory concepts and develop the musical ear. Although he primarily teaches private lessons, Michael has taught workshops at a number of festivals (including Wintergrass and Joe Val) and has worked as a teaching assistant in college music programs.
Michael's website

Marc Horowitz:

Marc Horowitz (Guitar/ Mandolin): Marc Horowitz got his first mandolin (a no-name) at age twelve, a gift from a family friend. The first tune he learned was 'Woody's Rag," as played by Pete Seeger on the album "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall." Early influences included Bill Monroe, Frank Wakefield and David Grisman. While primarily making his reputation as a banjoist, he became proficient enough on mandolin so that by the early seventies he had logged dozens of recording sessions and tour dates, including a round of concert appearances with Bill Keith and Jim Rooney's band. Now, after nearly fifty years of playing the mandolin, Marc is eager to pass on some of the tips and techniques he's picked up along the way. Marc started studying guitar at age ten in Brooklyn, NY. His first teacher was Sid Margolis, former guitarist with the CBS TV orchestra. The following year, his family moved to a new neighborhood where he met a girl who introduced him to the music of folk artists like Jack Elliott, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Doc Watson (with whom he got to work with years later) and Patrick Sky. Throwing away the Belwin Guitar Course books that Margolis had him working from, he immersed himself in the New York City folk scene and piled up credits touring and/or recording with artists The Phoenix Singers, Steve Goodman, Judy Collins, Hall & Oats, Doc Watson, Raun MacKinnon, Peter Allen, Liz Corrigan and many others. Marc plays and teaches both fingerpicking and flatpicking styles.
e-mail Marc

Alan Kaufman:

Alan Kaufman (Fiddle): (Bio coming soon.)
email Alan

Stacy Phillips:

Stacey Phillips (Fiddle): Stacy Phillips is an internationally known fiddler and dobro player. He is featured artist on the Grammy award winning "The Great Dobro Sessions" CD. Phillips has performed with Mark O'Connor, Peter Rowan, Bela Fleck, Leon Redbone and many other of the best known acoustic musicians. On the violin he specializes in old time and bluegrass. He is completely self-taught on his instruments. Phillips has recorded three solo albums. Among the over 25 books and dvd's to his credit are "Stoney Lonesome Fiddle - The Fiddle Music of Bill Monroe," "Bluegrass Fiddle Boot Camp," and the 1,500 tune "Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes." He currently edits the on line magazine "Fiddle Sessions." Stacy has taught fiddle workshops all over the United States and in Europe, Canada and Australia. For more on Stacy's performances and publications please visit his web site:
Stacey's website

Orrin Star:

Orrin Star (Guitar): Orrin Star is a former National Flatpicking Champ who was once described as 'Arlo Guthrie-meets-Doc Watson.' He is also widely known in folk and bluegrass circles for his teaching skills, with a popular bluegrass guitar instruction book, two DVDs, a long-running column in Flatpicking Guitar magazine and dozens of day- and week-long workshops aorund the country to his credit.
Orrin's website

Tony Watt:

Tony Watt (Guitar): Award-winning flatpicking guitarist Tony Watt has performed at bluegrass festivals throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and elsewhere. He has been featured in Bluegrass Now Magazine and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and toured and recorded with Nashville-based Cages Bend, east Tennessee-based Meridian, and most recently with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent. Tony currently performs with his band, Southeast Expressway, and with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers. He has taught privately for over 10 years, and now teaches courses in bluegrass guitar, mandolin and jamming for the Boston Bluegrass Union's Bluegrass Academy. He has also taught workshops and Kids' Academies at bluegrass festivals including Grey Fox, Thomas Point Beach, Joe Val, and many more. Tony teaches lessons, classes and jams in Albany, NY, Cambridge, MA, and points in-between.
Tony's website

Phil Zimmerman:

Phil Zimmerman (Mandolin): Phil Zimmerman took up the guitar in high school during the folk scare of the sixties. A concert by the New Lost City Ramblers introduced him to old-time and early bluegrass music. With Mike Seeger as role model, he developed his multi-instrumentalist chops as a solo performer, and has won regional contests for bluegrass and clawhammer banjo, guitar and mandolin. He's a founding member of Connecticut's ground-breaking eclectic string band, Last Fair Deal. For ten years, Phil played mandolin and sang lead with Connecticut's premier traditional bluegrass band, Traver Hollow. Phil also performs Old-Time music in Heroes of Tradition, a duo with Stacy Phillips. Phil is the Music Director of both Mandolin Camp North and Banjo Camp North, and has taught mandolin and banjo workshops at the Joe Val Festival since 2006.
Phil's website

Saturday Jam Instructor/ Leaders

Peter Conklin:

Peter Conklin (BGB Jam): Peter Conklin has been leading the "Slow Jam" for the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association for the past three years. A mandolin player, he has been playing bluegrass music for 30 years and also plays in several bluegrass bands in the Hudson Valley and Albany area. He lives in Hyde Park, NY with his wife Kim and two children, Adrianna and Patrick.
e-mail Peter

Alan Friend:

Alan Friend (OTB Jam): Alan Friend plays banjo, guitar and concertina, and sings traditional American and British songs. He has performed solo and with various groups such as "The Chelsea String Band" and "The Contrapolitans" in concert from Montreal to Washington, D.C , at dances and at festivals including the New Jersey Folk Festival, West Virginia's Pipestem Festival, the Park Slope Old-Time/Bluegrass Jamboree, the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), the Kings County Opry, the Brooklyn Folk Festival and the Eisteddfod-NY Festival of Traditional Music. Alan gives banjo, ballad and old-time string band workshops and publishes articles in the Banjo Newsletter. His CD, "Had a Dog," features old-time music, with guests on fiddle, guitar and vocals.
Alan's website

Heidi Olsen:

Heidi Olsen (BGB Jam): Heidi Olsen is a banjo picker who has been running bluegrass jamming workshops for over 10 years. She initially started a slow jam so that she could have other beginners to play music with. This grew slowly into attracting other novice musicians and giving them an outlet to come into a comfortable setting, and learn how to competently play and sing bluegrass music with other people. The guiding principle that Heidi embodies is spreading the gospel about the beauty of bluegrass music, and encouraging people everywhere to join in. Heidi has attended numerous workshops, and has assisted Pete Wernick at his Jam Camp. She is a certified Wernick jam instructor. She spends most Sunday mornings hosting Bluegrass Jam on Brookdale Public Radio, 90.5 The Night. She is Vice President of the Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association of New Jersey and performs regularly with her band Heidi Olsen & The Night.
e-mail Heidi

More Instructors are Forthcoming

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