Bryson City resident Lois Hornbostel is a nationally-renowned mountain dulcimer player and teacher. She plays many styles of music from Southern Appalachian to Celtic to Cajun and World Music. She is the author of several books on playing techniques and repertoire for the mountain dulcimer, published internationally by Mel Bay Publications.
Lois is an experienced mountain dulcimer teacher (over 19,000 children in arts-in-schools residencies and half as many adult players), teaching courses and classes for Silver Burdett publishers and acoustic music and dulcimer events throughout the country for the past 30 years. She has won dulcimer playing contests at the Galax, VA Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, and those at Pulaski, VA, Fiddlers Grove, NC, and Mount Airy, NC. Lois was awarded a “Kentucky Colonel” award for her work with the mountain dulcimer.
Dulcimer event organizing is another of Lois’s skills. For 12 years she directed the Mountain Dulcimer Workshop at Appalachian State University, establishing the first week-long university-level program for the instrument. In 2000 she founded the Western Carolina University mountain dulcimer week, and produced it for 10 years. In 2010, with over 23 years of event organization experience, Lois started independently producing “Dulcimerville,” a week-long mountain dulcimer camp with several courses held in Black Mountain, NC at the start of June each year. This event covers in depth traditional history and music of the mountain dulcimer, as well as continuing traditions in playing techniques and music.
For schools and music events, Lois offers a “menu” of over 30 mountain dulcimer classes for players of all different learning levels, from a very basic introduction to the instrument to advanced repertoire and technique training for expert players.
An accomplished performer, Lois is acclaimed for her stagecraft and the variety of colorful music and stories she presents. She’s performed at Smithsonian, many other places across the United States, as well as the Cecil Sharp House in London. Her Vive le Dulcimer recording was a finalist for an “Indie” Award (the ‘Grammy’ of independent recording labels) in their “world music” category.
Lois Hornbostel offers a wide array of workshops, residencies, and in-service programs. Her work with children teaches them not only to play the dulcimer, but to build simple versions of the instrument. She performs regularly at festivals and in concert in Western North Carolina and beyond.