Born and raised in Bozeman, MT, Avery Ballotta discovered his love for music at an early age. He picked up his first violin at the age of 9, when he started playing along with his brother Gabe (who was 3 at the time) and studying with Teresa Thomas-Cirihal. He has since studied with Trevor Ostenson, Angella Ahn, Bruce Molsky, and Darol Anger. As a classically trained player, Avery is very adept at sight-reading and ensemble playing along with his experience in various fiddle styles. He currently plays with the bands Damn Tall Buildings and Call Me Doxy as well as various other recording and live projects, Berklee-related and otherwise.
Joe McAnullty holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Penn State University, where he studied violin with James Lyon and orchestral conducting with Gerardo Edelstein. As a professional classical violinist, he is a member of the York Symphony and was recently named the concertmaster of the Central Pennsylvania Symphony. He visits FreshGrass, of course, as a bluegrass fiddler, fresh off of a 1st prize victory at the Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention in Westminster, MD. In his band Colebrook Road, who will grace the stage in the band contest, he provides baritone vocals along with blazing fiddle licks.
Asheville North Carolina native Julian Pinelli is quickly gaining recognition as a prominent genre-bending violinist in the acoustic music scene. American roots music icon and FreshGrass stalwart Matt Glaser describes Julian as “an absolutely awesome and amazing young fiddle player who continues to blow my mind every time I hear him.” Recently honored with the Fletcher Bright Scholarship as well as Grey Fox’s Bluegrass Scholarship, Julian studies violin performance at Berklee College of Music where he is expanding his versatility in jazz while remaining a rooted figure in the bluegrass and acoustic music scenes.
Jordan Rast is a songwriter, fiddler, and multi-instrumentalist from Lancaster, PA. Originally trained classically with the Suzuki method, he was raised in a family of music lovers and spent childhood summers attending bluegrass festivals. In the decades since, his passion for classical music has waned and he spends his time playing in old time and bluegrass combos, including Lancaster stalwarts Second Hand Suits. With his solo project, he has released three records of original songs that blend a folk songwriting background with modern indie pop.