‘Mandolin Madness’ Grammy-nominated Punch Brothers, PSO and other musicians will play at weekend event


PORTLAND — Punch Brothers, the new band of mandolin wizard Chris Thile, best known as the mandolinist and vocalist for the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek, will perform Friday, March 26, at Merrill Auditorium.

Punch Brothers has an eclectic style that is in the realm of new acoustic with roots in bluegrass, played with the precision of a classical quintet.

The five-piece band’s diverse arrangements of bluegrass instrumentals, high-energy and jazzlike improvisations earned a Grammy nomination this year for Best Instrumental Performance for its first album, “How to Grow a Woman from the Ground.”

Besides the concert, Portland Ovations has partnered with Space Gallery and the Portland Symphony Orchestra to present a weekend of “Mandolin Madness.”

The Al Hawkes Trio and other musicians will play beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at Space Gallery. The Portland Symphony Orchestra will present Thile’s mandolin concerto at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 28.

Anyone who purchases tickets to both the Punch Brothers and symphony concerts will receive a 20-percent discount; and those with a ticket or stub from the Punch Brothers or symphony concert will receive $2 off the cover charge at Space Gallery.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. Punch Brothers concert range from $36 to $28. They may be obtained through PortTix, the Merrill Auditorium box office; by calling 842-0800; or online at www.portlandovations.org.

Representatives from the 317 Main Street Music Center will give a preconcert lecture on the mandolin, bluegrass music and some background information on Thile and the Punch Brothers. The free talk will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the rehearsal hall.