New American Banjo Festival

New American Banjo Festival
Festival Concert, April 23, 2022
Shea Theater, Turners Falls, MA and Live Streaming
Contact: Michael Nix

Greenfield musician Michael Nix is pleased to present the New American Banjo Festival, Saturday April 23 at the Shea Theater Arts Center, 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls, MA. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on festival day. The live festival stream is free, although donations are appreciated.  The New American Banjo Festival is an exploration of interesting performance styles old and new; a journey through the back roads of American old time, folk music, ragtime and early jazz. This year’s festival focuses on Classic Finger Style Banjo, a form of playing which is not based on set patterns, making almost any kind of music and style possible. Preforming this style will be Detroit banjo virtuoso Aron Jonah Lewis, and Michael Nix who will present compositions from the New Classic Banjo Project with Chris Devine (fiddle) and Joseph Fitzpatrick (hand drums).


The New American Banjo Festival is made possible by Nixworks, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, RiverCulture The Shea Theater, Allyance Productions and the MCC cultural councils of Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont-Hawley, Colrain, Conway, Montague, Northfield, Shelburne, and Warwick. 

Virtuoso banjo player and fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis has been elbow-deep in traditional American music since their first lessons at the age of five with Kentucky native Robert Oppelt. They’re passionate about “trying to keep (classic banjo) alive and spread it around, as it’s a delightful style that brings joy and connects us to the depth of our shared American history.”

Lewis has appeared on dozens of recordings including old time, bluegrass, ragtime and jazz. Lewis’ newest recording, “Mozart of the Banjo: The Joe Morley Project” is devoted to the music of the great English prodigy and virtuoso composer Joe Morley (1867-1937), who wrote a significant body of great banjo pieces in a technique that people today call  classic fingerstyle.  “Lewis is one of the few performing musicians with the facility to build compelling musical bridges between the printed banjo music and techniques of the 19th century and the instrument’s journey into recorded sound by the turn of the 20th century.”- Greg Adams, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  MICHAEL NIX 

Banjo innovator and composer Michael Nix performs New Classic Banjo music for five-string banjo and the Banjar, his self-designed seven string banjo. 

Michael Nix founded The New Classic Banjo Project from a desire to develop and record a modern classical banjo repertoire for 7-string Banjar, the traditional nylon strung five-string classical banjo, the six-string guitar banjo and other banjo hybrids.  He is presently recording the New Classic Banjo Project repertoire on PARMA recording’s Big Round Records imprint, to be distributed by NAXOS.  
Michael Nix performed on classical guitar, Banjar, banjo, and mandolin, throughout the United States and Asia; has recorded for the PBS series, “American Experience,” several independent documentaries, CD projects; and his compositions are performed internationally. His music has been heard on “Weekend Edition,” and other NPR programs.

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