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Backstage Talks

Finnigan McGuinness

Finnigan McGuinness

Young Fiddler

Finnegan McGuinness started fiddling when he was four and began performing in string bands by seven. Since that time, he’s played fiddle and mandolin in the Old Town School of Music Youth String Band, The Young Stracke All-Stars and the String Strangs at festivals and venues throughout Chicago and the Midwest

Leonard Florian

Leonard Florian

Luthier | Dealer

Florian Leonhard has dedicated his life to studying, restoring and making violins...

Sami Merdinian

Sami Merdinian

Backstage Talks host

Mr. Merdinian is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New Docta Festival in Argentina. He has led masterclasses around the USA, South America and Asia and given lectures about music and entrepreneurship in universities such as Penn State, Curtis Institute, New England Conservatory and The New School. In addition, Mr. Merdinian is also the producer and co-host of Down the Pit Podcast

Hannah James

Hannah James

Dancer | Musician | Composer | Songwriter

Described as “a true original” by the Guardian, spellbindingly innovative musician and dancer...

Mateusz Smoczyński

Mateusz Smoczyński

Jazz Violinist

Mateusz Smoczyński is an internationally-acclaimed Polish jazz violinist and winner of numerous prizes at major competitions...

Joshua Gersen

Joshua Gersen

Conductor

An artist of impeccable musical credentials, Joshua Gersen is widely respected as an engaging and inspiring conductor...

Pallavi Mahidhara

Pallavi Mahidhara

Pianist

Indian-American pianist Pallavi Mahidhara made her orchestral debut at the age of 10, performing at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago...