Chris Thile, widely regarded as one of the most interesting and inventive musicians of his generation, has changed the mandolin forever. Thile is credited with elevating the mandolin from its origins as a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to the sophistication and brilliance of the finest jazz improvisation and classical performance. In a review of his quintet Punch Brothers’ release Who’s Feeling Young Now?, London’s Independent called Chris Thile “the most remarkable mandolinist in the world.” The McArthur Foundation echoed that assessment when it named Thile one of its 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2012 and the recipient of its prestigious “Genius Grant.” In honoring Thile, the MacArthur Foundation noted that his “lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music.”
A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold over two million records. As a soloist he has released five albums, as well as performed and recorded extensively as a duo with Edgar Meyer and with fellow eminent mandolinist Mike Marshall. Other stellar musicians with whom Thile has collaborated include Brad Mehldau, Béla Fleck, and Hilary Hahn.
Thile garnered a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for Sleep With One Eye Open, an album of tradition-upending interpretations of bluegrass classics with guitarist Michael Daves. Thile also recorded The Goat Rodeo Sessions with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer, which won the 2012 Grammy for Best Folk Album. August 2013 saw the release of Thile’s debut solo mandolin recording, Bach: Partitas and Sonatas, Vol.1, produced by Edgar Meyer. Nonesuch Records released Bass & Mandolin in September 2014, the second duo recording from Thile and Meyer, which won the 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. In January 2015, Nonesuch Records released Punch Brothers’ newest album, The Phosphorescent Blues, which was hailed by The Herald in Scotland as a piece of music that “…deserves to be filed next to the best work of The Beach Boys, Big Star, and Richard Thompson.”
This performance marks Chris Thile’s La Jolla Music Society debut.