- Visiting Associate Professor of Contemporary American Acoustic Music
BA in Music with performance emphasis, Oberlin College (2004)
As a member of Punch Brothers since the band's inception, guitarist Chris Eldridge has been at the vanguard of acoustic music for well over a decade. Initially drawn to the electric guitar, Eldridge developed a deep love of acoustic music by his mid-teens, thanks in part to his father, Ben, a banjo player and founding member of the seminal bluegrass group the Seldom Scene. He later gained in-depth exposure to a variety of different musical styles while studying at Oberlin, where he earned a degree in music performance in 2004.
After graduating, Eldridge joined the Seldom Scene, with which he earned a Grammy nomination in 2007. In 2005 he founded the critically acclaimed bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters. At the 2007 International Bluegrass Music Association awards, Eldridge and his Stringdusters bandmates won Emerging Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year for their debut album, Fork in the Road.
Also in 2005, Eldridge caught the attention of mandolinist Chris Thile, who enlisted him—along with banjoist Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher, and bassist Greg Garrison (later bassist Paul Kowert)—to start working on an ambitious side project. Soon after, they decided to focus all of their collective energies into the band, and Punch Brothers was born. It has since released six critically acclaimed albums—including the Grammy-winning 2018 recording All Ashore—and toured the world.
Eldridge also plays in a duo with guitarist Julian Lage, with whom he has released two full-length records and an EP. Their most recent album, Mount Royal, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2017.
In 2019, Eldridge was named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association. He was the house guitarist on the public radio program Live From Here (formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion) from 2016 to 2020.
Eldridge has worked with a diverse cast of musical luminaries including Paul Simon, Renée Fleming, John Paul Jones, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, T Bone Burnett, Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, the War and Treaty, Jerry Douglas, I’m With Her, and Del McCoury.