Radim Zenkl

Radim Zenkl is a mandolin player, composer and instructor. Originally from the Czech Republic, he began playing the mandolin at thirteen, and discovered bluegrass by listening to records that were smuggled in to his communist country. The sound of a bluegrass mandolin initiated the spark that launched a decision to play music as a career at the age of seventeen and subsequently led Radim beyond bluegrass to an eclectic array of styles. He escaped from Czechoslovakia four months before the fall of communism and settled in the San Francisco Bay area.

Radim won the US National Mandolin Championship in 1992. His style features progressive original and eastern European traditional music flavored with bluegrass, jazz, new age, flamenco, rock, classical and other influences. Radim is at the cutting edge of the mandolin’s future, designing new mandolin family instruments and creating new playing styles. He has invented a masterful technique, the 'Zenkl style,' in which a single mandolin sounds like two. According to David Grisman: “Zenkl has re-invented the mandolin in several different ways.”

Besides collaborating with the top musicians of the acoustic music scene, Radim has built up an extensive repertoire for solo mandolin, mandola and Irish bouzouki. He has recorded several solo CDs (released on Acoustic Disc, Shanachie and Ventana) and has appeared on more than sixty other recordings.

Radim’s worldwide performing and teaching credentials include guest appearances at prestigious music institutions such as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Radim taught at the first and second Mandolin Symposium. This year he will bring a variety of elective classes featuring alternative mandolin techniques, Eastern European music styles, solo mandolin arranging, improvisation and more.

Radim Zenkl's Web Site