The Tennessean, Nashville’s hometown newspaper, remembered Butch Baldassari with a pair of articles over the weekend.
Both were written by Peter Cooper, who noted Butch’s passing on Saturday (1/10) and celebrated his work with The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble on Sunday (1/11).
Mr. Baldassari was a recording artist, a producer, a writer, a bandleader and a teacher. At Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, he served as adjunct professor of mandolin.
Beginning in 1991, he was the leader of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, a group that helped revive the dormant mandolin orchestra tradition that had begun in America in the 1800s. The Mandolin Ensemble’s performances and recordings featured mind-bendingly diverse music, from Tchaikovsky to bluegrass to the theme from Star Trek.
“Most mandolin players have seen pictures of the old mandolin orchestras ‚Ä¶ but hardly anybody today has ever heard one,” Mr. Baldassari told The Tennessean in 1996. With the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, he worked to change that.
Both pieces can be found on The Tennessean web site.