Formed in 2006, the virtuosic, genre-bending quintet 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.
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.