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Tony Trischka (United States Artists Friends Fellow-2012) is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument.

A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka's interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio's "Charlie and the MTA" in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.

In 1978, he toured Japan and recorded with Peter Rowan and Richard Greene. In the early 1980s, he began recording with his new group Skyline, which released its first album in 1983. Subsequent albums included Robot Plane Flies over Arkansas (solo, 1983), Stranded in the Moonlight (with Skyline, 1984) and Hill Country (solo, 1985). In 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire with Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy and John Denver. Three years later, he worked on the pre-recorded music for the off-Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy that featured Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Trischka produced the Belgian group Gold Rush's No More Angels in 1988. The following year, Skyline recorded its final album, Fire of Grace. He also recorded the theme song for Books on the Air, a popular National Public Radio Show, and continued his affiliation with the network by appearing on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows. Trischka continued his recording career with 1993's World Turning, 1995's Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection and 1999's Bend. New Deal followed in 2003.

Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring appearances by Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Tony Rice and many other luminaries, came out four years later. For this recording he went back to Bluegrass and reinvigorated the double banjo tradition. In October 2007, Tony was given an IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) award for Banjo Player of the Year 2007. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular received IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year, Instrumental Album of the Year and a Grammy Nomination.

With his fearless musical curiosity as the guiding force, Tony Trischka's critically acclaimed release, Territory roams widely through the banjo's creative terrain. Nine selections partner Tony with fellow banjoists Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Bill Evans, Bill Keith and Bruce Molsky. Twelve all-Trischka solo tracks explore a panorama of tunings, banjo sounds, and traditions; tapping the creative potential of America's signature musical instrument.

Tony is not only considered amongst the most innovative of banjo players, he is one of its most respected and sought after instructors creating fifteen instructional books as well as a series of DVDs. In 2009, he launched the groundbreaking Tony Trischka School of Banjo, an advanced, interactive, online instructional site that is the banjo home for students from around the world.

2011 saw “Give Me the Banjo” aired on PBS stations nationwide with Tony as the Musical Director and Co-Producer of the documentary. It was subsequently released on DVD. He produced Steve Martin’s Grammy nominated Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), which features performances by Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

In the summer of 2012, Tony continued to broaden the reach and influence of the banjo as performer and Band Leader for the Shakespeare in the Park, NYC performances of “As You Like It”, placing the banjo in even newer ground.

In December of 2012, Tony was awarded the United States Artists Friends Fellow in recognition of the excellence of his work.

Soon to be released, Tony has just finished recording his latest album Great Big World for Rounder Records. With contributions from his band Territory, Steve Martin, Michael Daves and many other special guests, more remarkable music and new ground is on offer.

Tony continues to maintain a national and international touring schedule with his band of extraordinary musicians.

…the godfather of what’s sometimes called new acoustic music.” - New York Times

Biographical info:
Courtesy Rounder Records
Courtesy Smithsonian Folkways
Courtesy Hi-Gain Management

“…most influential banjo player of the latter part of the 20th century, certainly in terms of his profound influence on succeeding generations of modern players.”
- Banjo Newsletter

“Urban bluegrass whiz.”
- Time Magazine

“Explosive banjo playing.”
- Boston Globe

“One of the most impressive banjoists alive.”
- Billboard

“Keep playing them new notes.”
- Bill Monroe

 

TONY TRISCHKA HAS PLAYED WITH:

The Boston Pops Orchestra
Barry Bostwick*
Sam Bush*
David Bromberg
William S. Burroughs*
Buddy Cage*
Larry Campbell*
Keith Carradine
Vassar Clements*
Ornette Coleman
John Denver*
Hazel Dickens*
Jerry Douglas*
Bill Evans (saxophonist with Miles Davis)*
Bela Fleck*
The Flecktones
John Goodman
Richard Greene*
Merv Griffin Orchestra
Nancy Griffith
David Grisman*
Thomas Hampson*
John Hartford
Levon Helm
Chris Hillman
Garth Hudson
Ferlin Huskey
David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter)*
Jorma Kaukonen
Jeannie Kendall
Alison Krauss*
Malachy McCourt
Roger McGuinn
Steve Martin*
John Medeski
Natalie Merchant*
Edgar Meyer
Jane Monheit
Bill Monroe
National Radio Orchestra of Korea
Mark O’Connor*
Odetta
Charles Osgood*
Van Dyke Parks*
Tom Paxton
Robert Randolph
The Roche Sisters*
Peter Rowan*
Earl Scruggs*
Mike Seeger*
Pete Seeger*
Ricky Skaggs
Phoebe Snow
Bruce Springsteen
Ralph Stanley*
Tanya Tucker
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason*
Violent Femmes*
Loudon Wainwright*
Doc Watson
Waverly Consort*
The Whites*
Wichita Percussion Ensemble
Tom Wopat
*denotes recordings

Television Appearances
• Live at the Quick, with Bela Fleck, 2004-2006
• ABC “Views”, with Bela Fleck - Summer 1997
• “ABC World News Tonight” with Peter Jennings - Summer1996
• “CBS Sunday Morning” with Charles Osgood - feature story (including Bela Fleck), 1995
• “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” (PBS), 1992
• British Television Production of “Voice of America: History of the Banjo” , 1989
• CBS “Hallmark Hall of Fame” production of “Foxfire” with Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and John Denver, 1987
• Ralph Emory’s “Frets” Awards Show, The Nashville Network, 1987
• Nashville Network’s “Fire on the Mountain,” 1986, 1984
• Merv Griffin Show, 1976

Performances
• Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular Tour - Currently touring with guitarist/vocalist michael daves, fiddler brittany haas, bassist skip ward & double banjo seat filled by noam pikelny, gordon stone, and others.
• Tony Trischka Band – Kennedy Center (2000), Seaside Jazz Festival (2002), plus tours throughout the United States, Canada, and Germany, 1997-present
• Solo tours throughout the United States and Korea, Japan, Finland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Croatia, 1986-present
• World Turning - Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) 1997, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival, Black Mountain Folk Festival, and countless concerts and club dates, 1993-2002
• National Public Radio – “Next Big Thing”, 2005, “World Café”, 2004, 2001, “Morning Edition”, “Fresh Air”, Mountain Stage”, 2001, 1995 and 1994; The Connection (2001), “Prairie Home Companion”, 1996, 1982
• With Skyline - appearances in 40 states, five tours throughout Europe; two tours of Japan, 1981-Present

Performances With Others
• Duo performances with Bela Fleck - tours of U.S., and New Zealand, 1992-2006
• With John Modeskey and Robert Randolph, 2001
• Leftover Salmon, Flecktones, Vassar Clements, and Violent Femmes, 1999-2001
• Old and in the Way reunion at Rocky Grass Festival (CO), 1997
• Waverly Consort - 1998 Spring tour, NPR’s Performance Today, Summer 1996; Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), 1995.
• With Peter Rowan and Richard Greene - Telluride,CO, 1996, Japan and Hawaii, 1978
• Guest soloist with National Radio Orchestra of Korea, in Seoul: “The Slavery Documents”, 1991
• Guest soloist with Wichita Percussion Ensemble: “The Void Beneath the Coffee Table” a three movement banjo concerto composed by Paul Elwood for Tony Trischka, 1986
• “Foxfire” with Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, and Keith Carradine, Los Angeles and Denver, 1985-1986
• “The Robber Bridegroom” - Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C., 1978; bus and truck tour, 1978; musical leader of Broadway production, 1976-1977
• With David Bromberg and Ferlin Husky - Avery Fisher Hall, NYC, 1973


Instructional Materials

Mel Bay
• Fiddle Tunes for Banjo, to be published in 2006

Alfred Publishing
• Banjo for Beginners, 2001

Hal Leonard Publications
• The Tony Trischka Collection, 1999

AcuTab Publications
• Masters of the 5 String Banjo (with Peter Wernick) 2000 (re-pubublication)
• Glory Shone Around, 1995

Books for Oak Publications
• The Complete Banjo Player, to be published 2006/2007
• Masters of the Five String Banjo (with Peter Wernick), 1987 (first publication)
• Hot Licks for Bluegrass Banjo, 1983
• Bill Keith, 1979
• Teach Yourself Bluegrass Banjo, 1977
• The Banjo Songbook, 1975
• Melodic Banjo, 1973

Independently Published Books
• Tablature for Hill Country
• Tablature for Robot Plane Flies Over Arkansas

Homespun Tapes
BOOK
• Bluegrass Repertoire, to be published 2006
• Tablature to Solo Banjo Works, with Bela Fleck, 1998
VIDEO and DVD
• Classic Bluegrass Banjo Solos, and Practicing Tips, 2002, 2003
• Bluegrass Banjo: Tunes and Tips, 1990
AUDIO
• Easy Banjo Solos, 1988
• Hot Licks for Bluegrass Banjo, 1986
• Advanced Banjo (with Bill Keith), 1979

Workshops and Lessons
• Banjo Camp North, 2001-2006 Groton, MA
• Rocky Grass Academy, Lyons, CO, 2006, 2002, 1997
• Winnipeg Folk Festival, 2006
• Augusta Heritage Workshop, Elkins, WV, 2005, 2001, 1994-1996
• National Summer Guitar Workshop, New Milford, CT, 2001, 1989-1997
• Sore Fingers Summer Workshop, Chipping Norton, England 1999-2000
• Bluegrass Camp, Levelland Texas, 2000
• Tony Trischka’s first Banjo Retreat, New Paltz, NY, 1998
• Banjo history lecture at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1997
• Common Ground Workshop, Westminster, MD,1997
• Telluride Academy, Telluride, CO, 1994
• Tennessee Banjo Institute, Lebanon, TN, 1988, 1990, 1992
• Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, 1977-1982, 1989-1990, 1992
• One day workshops throughout U.S., Australia, Japan and Europe, 1978-present
• Private instruction, 1971-present

Miscellaneous
• Performed on 2001 International Bluegrass Music Association instrumental album of the year Knee Deep in Bluegrass, the Accutab Sessions
• Performed on 1997 Grammy winner True Life Blues (the music of Bill Monroe)
• 1996 NAIRD nominee for Best Album in a Seasonal Category (Glory Shone Around)
• 1994 International Bluegrass Music Awards Finalist for Recorded Event of the Year
• Hall of Fame inductee, Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammy), 1993
• Three time FRETS Award Winner, “Banjo Player of the Year”, 1986-1988
• Columnist for Sing Out, Bluegrass Unlimited, Acoustic Musician, Banjo Newsletter
• Liner notes for numerous recordings (Bela Fleck, Alison Krauss, others)

Personal
• Born - January 16, 1949, Syracuse, New York
• Education - B.A. in Fine Arts, Syracuse University
• Started Banjo - 1963, after hearing Kingston Trio’s recording of “Charlie and the MTA”