Stephenson, Claude

Claude Stephenson

Claude Stephenson 2Education

BUS, University Studies 1985
University of New Mexico

MBA, Business Admin 1987
University of New Mexico

PhD, American Studies 2001
University of New Mexico

Music Background

  • Award-winning mandolinist with Big River boys, Sons of Rodan, and Elliott’s Ramblers
  • Guitarist and violinist with numerous groups
  • Producer KUNM-FM, Only the Radio 1979-1983
  • Producer KUNM-FM, Live Variety Show 1989-1991
  • Radio DJ, Folk Music USA and Folk Routes 1983-present

Administrative Background

  • State Folkorist emeritus, State of New Mexico 1991-2014
  • Folk Arts Coordinator, New Mexico Arts 1991-2014
  • Director, New Mexico Music Commission 2011-2014

City of Residence

Albuquerque’s South Valley

Commission term

expired May 6, 2016 ~ continues to serve until resignation or termination by the governor


Stephenson has been a working musician all of his adult life and is an award-winning mandolinist who played with seminal southwest bluegrass groups the Big River Boys, the Sons of Rodan, and Elliott’s Ramblers. In addition to mandolin, he has played and recorded acoustic and electric guitar and violin with more bands than there is room to list here. He produced the live radio programs Only the Radio (1979-1983) and the Live Variety Show (1989-1991) at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque promoting New Mexican musicians and has been a KUNM DJ producing Folk Music USA and Folk Routes since 1983.

Claude was the New Mexico State Folklorist and Folk Arts Coordinator at New Mexico Arts from 1991 to 2014. He obtained his Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of New Mexico in 2001 and wrote his dissertation on the music of Matachines dance groups of New Mexico. He plays violin with the Bernalillo Matachines.

Now semi-retired, when not playing music, Claude and his wife of thirty-eight years, Zoe Economou, manage EcoStep Farm in the South Valley growing and selling unconventionally grown vegetables and eggs at local grower’s markets.