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Singer-Songwriter Aoife O'Donovan Joins Punch Brothers' Fall Residency

October 1, 2015

Erich Burnett

Aoife O’Donovan, whose hair is blowing in the wind

Punch Brothers, the virtuosic bluegrass ensemble that has held court as artists in residence at Oberlin since fall 2013, will return to campus Monday through Wednesday, October 5-7, for a three-day residency that includes activities with conservatory students as well as numerous events that are open for all to attend.

Punch Brothers will be joined by their good friend and collaborator, singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, who has played a major role in shaping the 21st-century folk and bluegrass scene in America.

Among the festivities are the return of two popular events from past Punch residencies: a listening party with the band and O’Donovan (Monday at noon in Stull Recital Hall) and a 10 p.m. jam session (Tuesday in the Central Lounge).

Honored as Oberlin Affiliate Scholars in 2014, Punch Brothers are the first artists to take part in Oberlin's American Roots Residency, a program established by actor-comedian Ed Helms ’96 to further the study and appreciation of American music. Punch Brothers will return to Oberlin in spring 2016.

The lineup of public events this fall is as follows:

Listening Party with Aoife and Punch Brothers

12-1:30 p.m. (Stull Recital Hall)

Professional Development Talk and Q&A
4-5:30 p.m. (Bibbins 224)

Songwriting and Performance Workshop with Chris Thile and Aoife O’Donovan
7-8:30 p.m. (Stull Recital Hall)

Chamber Ensemble Master Classes

2-3:30 p.m. (Stull Recital Hall & Bibbins 238)

Fiddle Workshop with Gabe Witcher
4:30-6 p.m. (Bibbins 213)

Mandolin Workshop with Chris Thile
4:30-6 p.m. (Clonick Hall)

Banjo Workshop with Noam Pikelny
4:30-6 p.m. (Bibbins 233)

Guitar Studio Class with Chris Eldridge
4:30-6 p.m. (Bibbins 334)

Ear Training for Singers with Aoife O’Donovan
4:30-6 p.m. (Bibbins 223)

Jam Session
10 p.m. (Con Lounge)

Bluegrass Workshop with Chris Eldridge and Noam Pikelny

4:30-6 p.m. (Clonick Hall)

For questions, please contact or call 440-775-8200.

ABOUT PUNCH BROTHERS: Formed in 2006, Punch Brothers boast members who hail from all over the musical map. MacArthur Award-winner Chris Thile has elevated mandolin playing from its folk origins to the finest in jazz improvisation and classical performance. Fiddle player Gabe Witcher has more than 300 records and countless movie and television scores to his credit, including the 2006 Oscar winner Brokeback Mountain. Three-finger banjo player Noam Pikelny developed his bluegrass facility growing up in Chicago; he studied music at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana before striking out professionally and redefining the role of the instrument. Versatile bass player Paul Kowert, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, has performed with orchestras as a soloist and section member, in such internationally renowned venues as Switzerland’s Verbier Festival. Guitarist Chris Eldridge, a 2004 graduate of Oberlin College, devoted his student years to creating an independent major in bluegrass music, working closely with Professor of Jazz Guitar Bobby Ferrazza. The Phosphorescent Blues, the band’s fourth album for Nonesuch, was released in January 2015.

ABOUT AOIFE O’DONOVAN: A driving force in the contemporary folk and bluegrass scene, singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan is the lead singer of the band, Crooked Still, and a member of the female folk trio Sometymes Why. A former student of contemporary improvisational music at the New England Conservatory of Music, O’Donovan has collaborated on tour and in studio with a wide range of musicians, including Punch Brothers, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, Edgar Meyer, Jim Lauderdale, Dave Douglas Quintet, and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

O’Donovan shared vocal duties with Punch Brothers’ Chris Thile on a pair of tracks on Yo-Yo Ma’s 2013 Grammy-winning recording The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Her first full-length album, Fossils, was released on Yep Roc Records in 2013.

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