Ken Kolodner & Mary Lynn Michal
Download an Info Sheet for Out from the Shadows
For booking, contact Ken Kolodner 410-746-8387
Two of the finest hammered dulcimer players in the U.S. have joined forces to perform a wide-ranging repertoire of traditional and original music. At the heart of their sound are tight arrangements for two hammered dulcimers featuring a repertoire of traditional and original music.
Called “a world class instrumentalist” by Sing Out!, the Baltimore-based Ken Kolodner is widely recognized as one of “one of today’s most accomplished, musical hammered dulcimer artists...” (Elderly) and a fine old-time fiddler. A professional French horn player by training with a master’s degree from The Eastman School of Music, Mary Lynn Michal (MLM) discovered a passion for playing the hammered dulcimer in 2012. At that time, MLM was first chair in The Durham Symphony Orchestra.
Over the last decade, Kolodner served as Michal’s teacher and mentor. Kolodner enlisted Michal to assist at Kolodner's Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats, an elite hammered dulcimer retreat held in Sandbridge Beach, VA, now in its 18th year. Over the last five years, Michal has relished her new career as a full-time hammered dulcimer player. It is an incredibly rare feat to switch careers as an instrumentalist from French horn to hammered dulcimer! After living in North Carolina for most of her life, Mary Lynn recently re-located to Middletown, MD. MLM now maintains a flock of nearly 100 hammered dulcimer students privately and on Zoom.
For nearly 40 years, Kolodner toured as a soloist and in ensembles with the ground-breaking world music trio Helicon (with Robin Bullock and Chris Norman), Greenfire (with Bullock and Laura Risk), Scottish National Fiddle Champion Elke Baker, and in the last decade, with his son Brad along with Alex Lacquement and Rachel Eddy as The Ken and Brad Kolodner Quartet. Kolodner is thrilled to have teamed up with Michal to focus on their hammered dulcimer duets.
In 2020, Mary Lynn co-authored with Kolodner The Complete Guide to Theory & Mapping for the Hammered Dulcimer and teaches a year-long (40 session) online class covering the book for more than 325 hammered dulcimer players from around the globe. Michal has mastered many of Kolodner’s arrangements. It was natural that the duo performs together. Their first CD Out from the Shadows was released in 2022. Dulcimer Player News writes that “Michal and Kolodner finish each other’s musical sentences… One of the delights of the record is in the pacing of it all, starting with a bang and then retreating to a more contemplative space for a spell before erupting again with joyous energy.”
Kolodner and Michal have performed together at The Black Mountain Festival (NC), Common Ground On-the-Hill (MD), Kentucky Music Week (Bardstown, KY), The Quarantunes Dulcimer Festivals, Nonsuch Dulcimer Festival (UK), and the Dulcimer Jamboree (Mountain View, AK). Additional concert performances include shows in Watkins Glen NY, Holly Springs NC, Chicago IL, The Texas Theater (St Joe, TX), and Baltimore MD.