Ken Kolodner, Hammered Dulcimer

Prior to performing with his son, Ken toured and recorded for many years with the legendary world music trio Helicon with Chris Norman and Robin Bullock, and with Quebec fiddler Laura Risk and Scottish National Fiddle Champion Elke Baker. He was the only U.S. player to be invited to play at the International Hackbrett Festival in Germany along with the world’s best players. His extensive repertoire of thousands of pieces includes traditional music from over 30 countries on all continents.


Ken has performed in every state in the U.S. and has shared the stage with Doc Watson, Alison Krauss, Jeanie Ritchie, John McCutcheon, Jay Ungar & Mollie Mason, and many others. Kolodner’s nearly twenty recordings include an “Indie” winner for Best Seasonal Recording in 1999 (Helicon’s Winter Solstice) and a #1 World Music title (Walking Stones). He has also written numerous books and instructional recordings for the hammered dulcimer and fiddle.


He teaches locally in Baltimore with over 75 fiddle and hammered dulcimer students and has taught throughout the U.S. at countless music camps and festivals. In the last decade, his focus as a teacher has been The Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats which Kolodner founded as the elite master class for up to 80 players from around the U.S. and beyond (

Class description: 

Using 1-2 tunes, we will focus on the groove and phrasing (swing and accent shifts) that are so essential in old-time music. We will learn a number of backup ideas, enhance the groove by incorporating a variety of rhythm ideas (anticipations, syncopations) and explore creating variations and embellishing the tune.


The music will be taught through demonstration, by ear and using standard musical notation. Full written arrangements will be provided. 


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