Smiling man standing with a banjo wearing a suite

2022 Prize Winner: Bill Evans

New Mexico-based player and Virginia native Bill Evans has been involved with bluegrass music and the banjo for over forty-five years as a player, teacher, composer, author and historian. Bill occupies a unique niche in the banjo world: he is celebrated worldwide for his traditional and progressive bluegrass banjo styles and his innovative original compositions. He also enjoys a reputation as an outstanding instructor and music camp director as well as being an expert player of 19th and early 20th century minstrel and classic banjo styles. He has recorded four critically acclaimed solo recordings, including The Banjo in America, a DVD/CD set covering music from the 1780’s to the present day, and is the author of Banjo For Dummies and Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies. He directs his own music camps in New Mexico and hosts four online instructional courses for Peghead Nation.  

Bill counts his many teachers and mentors as crucial to his development as a musician. These include Ben Eldridge, Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, Ron Thomason, Sonny Osborne and J. D. Crowe. Bill currently tours with his solo show The Banjo in America and performs with guitar legend Dan Crary and with the All-Star California Bluegrass Reunion. Over the years, Bill has performed with Dry Branch Fire Squad, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Tony Trischka , Kathy Kallick & Alan Munde, among many others.

Bill has taught at over 200 banjo and bluegrass camps all over the world and he has helped thousands of people to find joy in the banjo through his books, online courses and videos, workshops and one-on-one lessons. He feels that his greatest accomplishment has been to bring people together through the banjo.