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Festival of the Mandolins

  Sunday , Apr 24, 2016         11:00 AM        11AM Workshops 1PM Concert Tix $20, $15 adv, children free

Event Details

mandopcnodate_200Join us for the 16th annual San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins.  There will be diverse mandolin performances at the 1PM concert, preceeded by workshops at 11AM. Performers include; Grant Gordy and Joe WalshAurora Mandolin OrchestsraAchille Bocus of the SF Mandolin Orchestra in Mozart Symphony #29, La Familia Pena-Govea, Gravenstein Mandolin Orchestra and the Mandorian CandidatesBulgarian food by chef Hristo Kolev. Advance tickets at


11AM - BYOMO (Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra) featuring Achille Bocus teaching his new arrangement of Mozart Symphony #29.  BYOMO members can join the performance later in the afternoon. If you want to access the sheet music before the festival, here it is. Mozart29thSymphony

12PM - 2 additional workshops: Joe Walsh - Bluegrass and Beyond, Miguel Govea - Mexican. 


The music of Grant Gordy and Joe K. Walsh arises from and expands upon the great tradition of guitar and mandolin duets. Drawing heavily from bluegrass and string band music while folding in sounds from influences as varied as Jerry Garcia, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, and Django Reinhardt, their sound is an exciting romp through many acoustic styles, all tied together with their deep improvisatory communication. In addition to touring as a duet, Grant and Joe play with Darol Anger and Ethan Jodziewicz in a band called Mr Sun, and have toured together all over North America and Europe.

Born in Oregon, raised on his father’s roots and blues guitar playing, Brooklyn-based Grant Gordy was drawn to the guitar early on as a means of personal expression and intellectual curiosity. Moving to Colorado as he entered his 20s opened his musical horizons as he began playing innumerable gigs with local musicians in a wide range of different styles. Being asked to assume the guitarists’ role in the fabled David Grisman Quintet, a spot previously held by such guitar notables as Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Frank Vignola and Mike Marshall, firmly established Gordy as one of the preeminent young voices on guitar. Just ask his boss, David Grisman, who says Gordy “belongs to the new elite of American acoustic practitioners who are pushing the ever-expanding envelope of a musical frontier.”

Hailed by Nashville’s Music Row Magazine for his “lickety-split mandolin work” and by CBC-Newfoundland as “one of the best mandolinists of his generation”, Portland, Maine-based mandolin player Joe K. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk legend Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow have taken him all over the musical and figurative map. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of years helping bluegrass super-group the Gibson Brothers rise to the top of the bluegrass world, Joe currently splits his time between a group with Grant Gordy, Darol Anger and Ethan Jodziewicz called Mr Sun and a trio with Brittany Haas and Owen Marshall. An avid educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music, and teaches at music camps throughout North America.

The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra (AMO), the largest orchestra of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area, will perform for the 16th consecutive year at the SF Mandolin Festival.  Gino Pellegrini, a member of the original “Aurora” of the 1930s reformed the group in 1970 as Director and Concert Master.  He was the “heart and soul” of the orchestra until his passing in 2006 when his wife, Josephine, assumed leadership as Director/Conductor. His musical legacy prevails under her leadership with more than 30 supportive and dedicated musicians playing mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar, string bass, flute, accordion and percussion.  They continue to perform many concerts to thousands of audiences throughout the Bay Area offering diverse programs of the mandolin repertoire. Their greatest achievement was their performance in Davies Hall at San Francisco Symphony’s festive opening night.  Rehearsals every Wednesday evening in Redwood City welcome new members who read music, with no fees to join, but only the interest in attending rehearsals.

Achille Bocus  conducts The San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra, a plucked string orchestra with 20-25 members, playing instruments of the mandolin family (mandolin, mandola and mandocello), as well as guitar, and double bass. The orchestra formed in May, 2005, and rehearses in San Francisco's Mission district on Sunday afternoons. 

La Familia Peña-Govea: Miguel Govea and Susan Peña and their two daughters, Rene and Cecilia, continue a legacy of family music making that encompasses the Chicano/Mexican/American traditions of love songs, rancheras, cumbias and more.  Playing will be - Miguel Govea: mandolin, Susan Peña: fiddle, Rene Peña-Govea: button accordion, Cecilia Peña-Govea: guira, trumpet, Sergio Duran: percussion

The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble is the only mandolin orchestra in the North Bay, consisting of mandolins, mandolas, mandoccellos, and bass. Under the musical direction of Gus Garelick, the ensemble's eclectic repertoire includes music from George Frederick Handel to Scott Joplin with some musical excursions to Brazil, Italy, Ireland, and Brooklyn along the way. It is a great group with lots of energy!

The Mandorian Candidates toss their hats into the ring in this election year with their first caucus since the period in the late 20th century when, wrote a reviewer in the East Bay Express, "there was a mandolin trio on every corner," and Olivier Zyngier (founding member of Baguette Quartette and Bistro Moustache), Tony Phillips (Red Hot Chachkas), and Jim Geselbracht (the John Lomax of Palau) played tunes from as many countries as possible on mandolins, octave mandolin, and guitar.

BYOMO (Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra). This highly popular Orchestra meets every year at the San Francisco Mandolin Festival.  Thus far it has assembled 16 times.  Music is supplied from easy to a little more difficult.  Sometimes there is an conductor. The membership is made up of mandolinists who wish to experience playing in an orchestra in a non pressured way.  This year Achille Bocus will conduct an arrangement of Mozart 29th Symphony. Access the Mozart sheet music at Mozart29thSymphony.


Schedule - SF Festival of the Mandolins
11:00 - BYOMO (Bring Your Own Mandolin Orchestra) Mozart Symphony #29 rehearsal
12:00 - Workshops with Joe Walsh, Miguel Govea
1:00 - Aurora Mandolin Orchestra
1:45 - La Familia Peña-Govea
2:30 - Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble
3:15 - Joe Walsh w/ Grant Gordy
4:00 - Mandorian Candidates
4:20 - Achille Bocus directs BYOMO and SF Mandolin Orchestra in Mozart Symphony #29
5:00 - End

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