Ralph Rinzler, co-founder of the Festival of American Folklife, now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, will be inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, September 27, 2012.
In 1976, Rinzler became director of the Smithsonian Office of Folklife Programs, now the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where he continued to pursue the vision of Secretary of the Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley to “take the instruments out of their cases and let them sing.” The Smithsonian Institution named the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections in his honor in 1998. He was a positive risk-taker who engaged and included diverse cultural points of views and aspirations in his approach to public programming. He championed cultural diversity employment in Smithsonian curatorial and administrative decision-making, which has had an impact on cultural policy across the Smithsonian.
Rinzler is recognized for his groundbreaking work with famous musicians for Folkways Records, and he played with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Mary Travers; was David Grisman’s first teacher; helped Doc Watson tour nationally; and managed Bill Monroe. Rinzler was a member of the legendary Greenbriar Boys, played on recordings with Clarence Ashley and Joan Baez, and won a GRAMMY award for his work on Folkways, A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. Later, Rinzler planned the acquisition of Folkways Records by the Smithsonian; and he subsequently produced Smithsonian Folkways albums on Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, and Bill Monroe. The Ralph Rinzler Collection in the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s archives includes his field recordings that have been used to create a number of releases on the Smithsonian Folkways label.
The International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for outstanding contributions to bluegrass music, and is located in the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Click here for more information on the International Bluegrass Music Association and Hall of Fame.