Bluegrass Ensemble

Adriana Helbig, Director

Bluegrass, a form of American roots music, is an Appalachian-based genre that draws on immigrant traditions, blues, gospel, and folk. Once associated primarily with poorer whites, it has been reclaimed by numerous musicians who have popularized it as a global genre. The popularity of bluegrass in Western Pennsylvania is, in part, a result of the broadening market of audiences and musicians. Pittsburgh’s local embrace of bluegrass, however, can be understood, as an integral aspect of the city’s refashioning. Engaging with Black Lives Matter, #metoo, and queer movements, Bluegrass Ensemble (MUS 616) augments the University of Pittsburgh world music ensemble program by offering a platform for diverse music making. The ensemble will draw from students who have some experience with bluegrass vocals and instruments, including violin (fiddle), guitar, mandolin, banjo and dobro. The ensemble will perform as a group and will make connections with the folk music revival scenes in Pittsburgh.  Broader goals include engaging well-known bluegrass musicians online and on campus through workshops and lectures.