- By the time Live from Here host Chris Thile turned 15, he had already been playing mandolin for a decade. He’d also started Nickel Creek with Sara and Sean Watkins, and released his first solo recording, 1994’s Leading Off. This Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow teams up with numerous musicians in myriad styles and leads acoustic quintet Punch Brothers. His albums include Thanks for Listening (Nonesuch) 10 studio recordings originally written as Prairie Home Companion Songs of the Week. He is now in his second season hosting the show.
- Actress Serena Brook has appeared off-Broadway, on the national tour circuit, and on regional theater stages. In the Twin Cities, her work includes productions at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 7th House Theater, the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio, and the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. The Eagan, Minnesota, native is also a voice-over artist who can be heard on national and regional radio commercials.
- From a musical family, Madison Cunningham first picked up a guitar when she was only seven. By the age of 12, the California native was singing in church, along with her four younger sisters. Now, less than a decade later, she has established herself as a solo singer-songwriter with a keen understanding of her craft. Her EP, Love, Lose, Remember, came out last year.
- Richard Dworsky, Live from Here's keyboardist, composer, arranger, and music director, has collaborated with diverse musicians -- from Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor to Brad Paisley and Kristin Chenoweth. For 23 years, he served as pianist and music director for Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. Rich has also provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS, and has released many recordings of original material, including his latest, All In Due Time.
- Maybe it’s the gene pool: Chris Eldridge’s father was a founding member of the Seldom Scene, a group that guitarist Chris would join after earning a degree in music performance from Oberlin. He went on to start a bluegrass band, the Infamous Stringdusters, and later to critical acclaim with Punch Brothers. His 2017 duo album with guitarist Julian Lage is called Mount Royal (Free Dirt Records).
- Musician, songwriter, and Grammy-nominated producer Mike Elizondo is best known for his 11-year collaboration with Dr. Dre, as well as for co-writing Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady," Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova," and 50 Cent's "In Da Club." In course of his career, he has contributed to albums for artists across a wide range of genres, including Jay Z, Fiona Apple, Maroon 5, Mary J. Blige, Ry Cooder, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, and myriad others. He is currently Senior Vice President of A&R for Warner Bros. Records.
- At 14, fiddler Brittany Haas began touring with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings. Now Anger says: “Britt opens the window, gets out of the way, and the music floods through in a tide of joy.” The California-born Princeton University grad has performed with a number of bands, including Crooked Still and Hawktail.
- Multi-instrumentalist Alan Hampton began his music career in Houston, Texas. He continued at New York City's New School and then at the Thelonious Monk Institute in L.A. He has performed internationally with Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, and more. In addition to laying down tracks for numerous musicians, Alan's own recordings include Origami for the Fire (Ash Productions).
- Sarah Jarosz is a gifted instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, banjo), distinctive vocalist, and accomplished songwriter. The New England Conservatory of Music alum has carved out a solid niche where contemporary folk, Americana, and roots music intersect. Her fourth album, Undercurrent, took Grammy Awards for Best Folk Album and Best American Roots Performance (“House of Mercy”). See You Around is the first full-length recording from I’m With Her, Sarah’s trio with Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins.
- Paul Kowert started on violin at age three, but by fourth grade he’d taken up bass, and he later graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music. The Nashville-based musician is a member of Punch Brothers and Hawktail, and has toured with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio and Dave Rawlings Machine.
- The New York Times has called Julian Lage “one of jazz’s breezier virtuosos, possessed of an unflappable technical facility and a seemingly boundless curiosity.” A former child prodigy, he boasts a résumé that a guitarist twice his age would be proud to claim. In addition to his many collaborations, Julian has released three albums as leader, most recently 2016’s Arclight. Mount Royal — his duo album with guitarist Chris Eldridge — earned a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
- Guatemalan-born Gaby Moreno was singing even before she could talk. With a style that blends blues, jazz, soul, and R&B, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter received an Emmy nomination for co-writing the theme song for NBC's Parks and Recreation. And she took Best New Artist honors at the 2013 Latin Grammys. She writes in both Spanish and English. "Spanish is more poetic," she says, but "in English, you can describe things better." Her latest album, 2016's Ilusion (Universal Music), earned a Latin Grammy nomination.
- Sound Effects artist Fred Newman went from the storytelling of small-town Georgia to Harvard Business School and Newsweek magazine. He then veered left to become the author of MouthSounds, puppeteer for Jim Henson, and TV host of shows such as The New Mickey Mouse Club, creating voices and music for Nickelodeon’s cartoon series DOUG, a symphony celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge, and the sound of Old Faithful for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Visitor Education Center — all with his mouth. He performs his own stories around the country.
- With her ethereal voice and substantive songwriting, Aoife O’Donovan captivates fans and critics alike. She was lead singer of the string band Crooked Still and a featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Her own recordings include Man In A Neon Coat: Live From Cambridge. See You Around is the first full-length recording from I’m With Her, Aoife’s trio with Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins.
- "Adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking drumming," said Modern Drummer magazine of Ted Poor. An in-demand session player and sideman, this Eastman School of Music alum has toured worldwide with various bands, and he is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington, Seattle. For the past few years, Ted has been a member of Andrew Bird's band and appears on Bird's 2016 release, Are You Serious.
- Mild-mannered Tim Russell one minute -- Obama, Trump, or myriad others the next. It's almost impossible to stump this "man of a thousand voices." A longtime radio personality (veteran of WDBQ in Dubuque, WCCO and KJJO in the Twin Cities, in addition to his decades-long Prairie Home stint), Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
- Violinist Gabe Witcher was barely school age when Bill Monroe invited him on stage to play a duet at a festival workshop. Gabe has been wowing crowds ever since, whether with the Witcher Brothers, the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, or Punch Brothers. In addition, Gabe is a sought-after producer, arranger, and session player, working with artists from Paul Simon and Elton John to Rosanne Cash and Willie Nelson.
- Benjamin Apple is a writer, director, and actor from Philadelphia who has been creating comedy in New York and Los Angeles since 2009. Benjamin has written for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Onion, and Upright Citizens Brigade sketch teams. He co-produces UCB’s annual Movie Cram, and has produced and directed multiple original web series, including the LA Times TV Pick Cubed for Broadway Video’s Above Average Web channel.
- Rachel Axler is a four-time Emmy Award-winning writer, currently working on HBO’s Veep. In the past, she’s written for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Parks and Recreation, How I Met Your Mother, Childrens Hospital, and several other awesome shows, but APHC is by far the job that impressed her mom the most. She’s so thrilled to be a part of this venerable institution and family.
- Patrick Clair is a writer, actor, improviser, and teacher. He’s been writing and performing live comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York since 2006. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and plants.
- Andrew Lee is a writer and sometimes performer living in Los Angeles. After graduating college, he jump started his writing career by working as a budget analyst for the New York City government for over six years. He has written for the NBC Scene Showcase, won the half-hour spec category for Final Draft’s Big Break contest, and also was lucky enough to win a couple games on Jeopardy!
- Comedian, author, and Live From Here head writer Tom Papa is one of the top comedic voices in the country. Just ask the myriad fans of his stand-up routines or Come to Papa, his weekly hit podcast and SiriusXM show. He’s also an actor whose movie and TV credits include Behind the Candelabra, Analyze That, The Informant! and The New Adventures of Old Christine, plus a voice-over role in the animated feature Bee Movie. Human Mule, his third hourlong stand-up special, premiered in 2016. His new book, Your Dad Stole My Rake, is just out.
- Sean Tejaratchi was born in California and has lived in towns as varied as Portland, Oregon. In addition to writing, he’s a graphic designer of books, postcards, LPs, and many more things that fail to promptly come to mind. This next part has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It is here merely to fill up space. Still, it is words, rather than repeated letters, since the latter might not give the proper appearance, namely, that of an actual bio. His zine, Crap Hound, exists, and his website, LiarTownUSA, is enjoyed by many dozens around the world. Sean currently lives in Los Angeles.
- Mark Vigeant is a comedian, writer, director, and performer in New York City. His work has been featured on The A.V. Club, Fusion, Nerdist, The Huffington Post, and Funny or Die and he is a former staff writer and performer at Seriously.tv.
- On any given day, you may find Debra Beck making travel plans for Live from Here staff, arranging catering for upcoming shows, or seeing to hotel reservations for performers. Overseeing logistics means mowing down a zillion details for each week’s program. It’s challenging to keep up with all her interests: gardening, traveling, hiking, reading, knitting, dancing, the list goes on. She grew up in Sabin, Minnesota — a small town near Moorhead — and studied at St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota.
- Theresa Burgess is a Minnesota girl, and was thrilled to come work for Minnesota Public Radio in 2005. Her job is always an adventure, even after all these years, doing what she can to help Live from Here listeners, staff, and anyone she can in, accomplishing their goals. She currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughters, and dog.
- Maddie Calhoon hails from Madison, Wisconsin. Her absolute favorite thing in the world, other than pizza, is live music – making Live from Here a pretty ideal workplace. She currently manages the Live from Here writing team, does various research – and is also a copying and paper-clipping expert. Outside of the office, you might find her out dancing the Lindy.
- While other little kids were playing cops and robbers, Sam Hudson spent childhood days tinkering with tape recorders, pretending that he worked at a radio station, or listening to the mix on his dad's Frank Sinatra and Stan Kenton LPs. By the time he hit junior high, he was running the sound equipment at church and for school music events and friends' bands. He's still at it. For many years, he operated his own recording studio, where he produced radio and TV commercials and a slew of CDs. Since the early 1990s, he has worked as an audio engineer for A Prairie Home Companion, and now Live from Here with Chris Thile. In addition to his broadcast engineering duties, Sam researches and scouts out performers to appear on each week's show.
- Back in her PS 127 days, Janis Kaiser had the starring role (princess) in her 4th-grade play, and classmate Lorraine Bracco had to settle for a supporting part (court jester). Lorraine now has The Sopranos on her résumé, and Janis is still a star — a behind-the-scenes star — as lighting designer for Live from Here’s New York runs and when the show is on the road. She's been with the company since 1990. Born and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Janis has stayed pretty close to her roots. She attended Brooklyn College and now makes her home in Rowayton, Connecticut. Weekdays, she works in administration at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Stamford, Connecticut. In her free time, she and her husband, Kevan, are apt to be sailing on Long Island Sound.
- New website features, videos and updates from the latest broadcast, social media posts, even the code that displays the text you're reading right now — if it's Live from Here-related and online, Ben Miller probably had something to do with it. He grew up in Anoka, graduated from the University of Minnesota, and worked at a Minneapolis marketing agency for several years before joining the LFH staff. When he's not obsessively reading the internet (there's a lot to read), you might find him singing and playing guitar around the Twin Cities in The Federales.
- While Sr. Technical Director Thomas Scheuzger has roots in the Chicago area, he spent many years in Boston, graduating with honors from Berklee College of Music with a degree in music production and engineering. He was Director of Audio Facilities at the New England Conservatory of Music, before returning to Chicago where he was Director of Engineering for a group of jingle studios and also freelanced as a studio designer, engineer and technician. After meeting Andrea, the Minnesota woman who would become his wife, he followed his heart north in 2002. At the show, Thomas works with Sam Hudson, mixing the live broadcast and making certain that Live From Here’s broadcast signal gets from the show's various venues to the control center in St. Paul, where it is distributed through American Public Media.
- Kathryn Slusher oversees the extensive music library we have at the Live From Here office, and prepares our house band, host and musical guests for rehearsal each week. She does a lot of research, including compiling the extensive list of notable birthdates for our weekly Musician Birthdays segment. She also sees to songwriter royalties and music credits, schedules rebroadcasts and is busy backstage on show days with production of the music segments on the show.
- Originally from South Dakota, Noah Smith attended college in Moorhead, MN, studying music production and engineering. This somehow led to an internship tinkering with robots with the late, great Steve Kramer, which somehow led to running a teleprompter for Chris Thile. Since he signed on with the staff in 2006, Noah has had an ever-evolving stack of tasks on his plate, from keeping up-to-date archives of Live from Here, to recording and producing promos, CD projects, and repeat broadcasts. In his time off, you're likely to find him in his home recording studio.
- See Live from Here and you may notice the guy who appears onstage to move things along or adjust a microphone. That's stage manager Albert Webster. He arranges production needs in advance and tours with the show to supervise the local crew, load the truck, set up the band, and help people on and off stage. During the week he helps contract and set up our tour sites. He's worked in professional theater since 1985, including as a production manager at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Playwrights Horizons in New York, and the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul. He started his career as technical director at Playwrights Horizons, working on the original productions of “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Sunday in the Park with George,” among others. Albert and his wife Kris live in the University City area of St. Louis, where they are embarking on their fourth home renovation. They are active in the neighborhood, high school, and church. Their older son is a successful homeowner and makes the donuts at a major family-owned grocery store in town. Their daughter is pursuing her PhD in Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. Their younger son attends Valparaiso University and performs with their music ministry group Sweetwine.