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Teachers at the Old Town School

Brandi Berry Benson

Fiddle, Violin, Viola

Violinist/Fiddler and 3Arts awardee Brandi Berry Benson, whose "four-string acrobatics" and "indispensable skill" (TimeOut Chicago) have been praised as "alert [and] outstanding" (Chicago Classical Review), as her "riffs.. powered by a flashing blur of bow arm, [as they] rolled out with irresistible glee" (Washington Post).  She has appeared with numerous ensembles including but not limited to Newberry Consort, Kings Noyse, Ars Lyrica Houston, Ensemble Phoenix Munich, Apollo's Fire, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra; and as soloist/concertmaster of Chicago Arts Orchestra, Soli Deo Gloria Orchestra (viola d’amore), Mountainside Baroque, Bloomington Early Music Festival Opera Orchestra, and St. Louis's Kingsbury Ensemble. Brandi has also performed throughout North America including at the Library of Congress, Festival de Musica Virreinal de Durango, Mexico City’s UNAM, the Boston, Berkeley, Indianapolis, and Madison Early Music Festivals, Early Music Now, and others. On air, she has appeared on WFMT, WGN-AM, WNUR, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

As a fiddler, Brandi grew up learning bluegrass and Texas swing styles from her early teens in College Station, Texas.  Since then, she has performed with other violinist/fiddler artists like Darol Anger, Rachel Barton Pine, and also part of the Chicago folk scene with Chicago Barn Dance Company, Sunnyside Up, and others. With a keen interest in historical fiddle traditions pre-19th century, has presented workshops and classes through the Country Dance & Song Society, Madison Early Music Festival, and Northwestern University.

Brandi also serves on the faculty of DePaul University as co-director of their Baroque Ensembles program. A student of Stanley Ritchie and Cynthia Roberts, she holds degrees in violin performance from Indiana University and the University of North Texas. Brandi is Artistic Director of the Bach & Beethoven Experience (bbexperience.org), which released A Gaelic Summer and An Appalachian Summer albums in 2019, and will release Chicago Stories in 2020.

Started at the Old Town School in August of 2010

Upcoming Workshops

Renew My Fiddling Workshop Series with Brandi Berry Benson: Renew My Technique

Open to All

$30 ($25 members)

Sat. February 05, 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM · Online

This workshop will focus on healthy playing, and how to overcome technique hang ups, as well as exercises for developing good left hand technique, accuracy, and good bow control. Open to all fiddlers, you will be able to walk away with exercises that can be taken and modified to grow with you from beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Renew My Fiddling Workshop Series with Brandi Berry Benson: Renew My Rhythm

Open to All

$30 ($25 members)

Sat. February 19, 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM · Online

This workshop will focus on developing your rhythm and time. Ever feel like you're in a jam situation or band rehearsal and that either things are moving to quickly or you just don't feel as secure with the beat as you would like? This workshop is for you as we will go through various rhythm exercises and how to use the metronome in new ways to improve your rhythm and sense of time.

Renew My Fiddling Workshop Series with Brandi Berry Benson: Renew My Improvisation

Open to All

$30 ($25 members)

Sat. February 26, 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM · Online

Ever feel like you're just playing the same stuff and need some fresh ideas? This workshop will take a look at what the fiddle giants, past and present, played and how to take that inspiration and put it into your own fiddling. You will walk away with some transcribed solos, re-worked licks, and tools for how to draw inspiration from the masters and make it your own.


Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 01/03/2022

Mondays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 02/28/2022

Mondays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm