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Not Enough Music in the Day for Mandolinist Chris Thile

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Monday October 21, 2013

From The Boston Globe

Not enough music in the day for mandolinist Chris Thile
By: David Weininger

Google the word “mandolinist” and take a look at the suggestions that drop down in the search bar. The name “Chris Thile” is sure to be at, or near, the top.

Sure, it takes more than a search engine to properly assess an artist’s worth. But it’s a convenient shorthand for the fact that Thile has revolutionized his instrument — not only by furthering the evolution of bluegrass but by bringing the mandolin out of its niche and making it a viable contributor to a variety of styles. When he won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” last year, he was cited for a synthesis of styles that “is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music.”

It’s worth pointing out that Thile is 32.

His latest gambit is a gorgeous recording of three of Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin (Nonesuch). Though limited in its sustain and depth, the mandolin’s dry, plucked sound turns out to be an ideal vehicle for realizing the music’s contrapuntal passages. Bach will form a major portion of Thile’s Sunday night concert at Sanders Theatre, part of the Celebrity Series of Boston.

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