Ken Kolodner

Ken KolodnerAfter decades of touring as a soloist and in various ensembles (Helicon with Chris Norman and Robin Bullock, Greenfire with Laura Risk, Elke Baker) and many others, the Baltimore-based Kolodner has had the great pleasure of performing in the last ten years with his son Brad along with Alex Lacquement and Rachel Eddy as The Ken and Brad Kolodner Quartet. Father & son recently released their 4th CD Stony Run which charted on The Bluegrass and Folk Charts in March 2020. In 2018, Ken’s composition (“The Swift House”) was named Best Original of The Appalachian String Band Festival (“Clifftop”). The following year in 2019, the full quartet placed first out of nearly 40 bands from around the U.S. at The Neo-Traditional Band Contest at Clifftop.

In addition to teaching privately for 35 years (typically 50-60 students), Ken has taught hammered dulcimer and fiddle at countless week-long music camps and hundreds of festivals.

Among Ken’s many other credits include an Emmy nomination, over twenty recordings (with sales over 150,000), an “Indie” winner, a #1 World Music title, and many books on Appalachian fiddling and the hammered dulcimer. Along with his son, Ken is an active community builder.

Now in its 16th year, Ken founded The Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreat, a series of six weeks of classes for 125 players from the U.S. and beyond.

Kolodner is a tireless jammer and with his son runs the hugely popular bi-weekly Baltimore Old-time Jam which attracts between 50 & 75 players, making it the largest regular old-time jam on the East Coast. In addition to running other jams in the area, Ken & Brad founded The Baltimore Old-time Music Festival.

Kolodner organizes various concerts in the area including Helicon’s Winter Solstice Concerts which attracts over 2,000 people annually. Ken has shared the stage with Doc Watson, Alison Krauss, Jay Ungar, Jeannie Ritchie, John McCutcheon, The Paul Winter Consort and countless others. • • • •

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Arranging techniques for waltzes: Summer’s End  Beginners
Waltzes are a gold mine for arranging techniques and ideas. We will learn a simple melody, Summer’s End, and explore the power of simple ideas such as two note chords to create bass lines. Time permitting, we will introduce three note chords, fills and possibly valley rolls.   

Christmas is Coming! Arranging In the Bleak Mid-Winter  Novice
This lovely piece is a fantastic vehicle for players of all levels to explore a wide variety of concepts and techniques. We will focus on using the chord progression to create a successful arrangement with several simple techniques.

Leading with the left  Novice
An early advocate of left-hand lead was the late-great Bill Spence. Using one tune to illustrate, this workshop will give you a glimpse into the many advantages of building equality of your hands and especially in using a left-hand lead in creating bass lines, separating harmony from melody, and more. You do not need to be left-handed. In fact, with a left-lead, the right-hand travels more across the instrument.

Hand Separation: The Water is Wide  Intermediate
Many arranging ideas can be used for this lovely piece. We will explore hand separation (also known as hand independence) where the left hand takes the melody and the right plays an accompaniment. We will focus on learning and understanding the chord progression as a window into arranging.

Getting beyond the melody: arranging fiddle tunes  Intermediate
Many of us get the melody and perhaps have a hard time figuring out what we can add. We will make your fiddle tunes come alive by adding “swing” and “back beat,”  and a variety of techniques such as syncopation, anticipations, accent shifts, chords, bass lines, rag rhythms, valley rolls, fills, drones, melodic runs and more. Whatever we can squeeze in a little over one hour!

 Who loves minor tunes?!  Advanced
We will explore the theory of chord progressions in the aeolian mode and develop an arrangement of a beautiful tune using a wide variety of ideas.

Sunday Specials!

Old-time fiddle  Novice and above
The key to old-time fiddle is bowing. We will learn a relatively simple tune to explore a few bowing patterns designed to build speed and groove. We will also work on left hand techniques. 

Old-time tunes on the fly!  Any level
This slow to half-fast “guided” jam based on The Baltimore Old-Time Jam run by Ken & Brad Kolodner. We will provide useful strategies for picking up tunes on the fly as we jam a bunch of tunes slowly.