Profile PicJohn Birt is a diverse musician who has proven his versatility on many stages throughout the world.

As a classical guitarist, recent solo programs have explored 16th century lute music, the solo cello and violin music of J.S. Bach, and have included world premieres by American composers David Macbride and Thomas Schuttenhelm. John completed his Master’s degree in Guitar Performance at The Hartt School and his Bachelor’s at Rhode Island College, during which he performed in master classes with Oscar Ghiglia, Andrew York, Odair Assad, and Scott Tennant.

As a folk musician, John has studied and performed Celtic music for over a decade, performing on guitar, voice, mandolin, and banjo.  In 2010 he founded a seven-piece Irish ensemble called Craic Was Mighty (“craic” being the Irish word for fun, gossip, merrymaking, etc.). The group recorded two full-length albums and continues to make appearances in the USA and Canada.

In 2016 John became one of the founding members of the French 75 Dixieland Jazz Band, an early jazz quintet in which he performs on tenor banjo and vocals.

In 2019 he took part in recording the music of composer Phil Salathè, which was released on Phil’s album “Imaginary Birds.”

Amidst the chaos of 2020, John and his wife Jess converted a van into an RV and traveled across the country in it for seven months. Since returning to Providence, RI he teamed up with Dylan Harley to start a jazz duo dedicated to music from the 1920’s-40’s. Birt & Harley are now one of the busiest jazz ensembles in the area, performing the music of Django Reinhardt and collaborating with many artists.

John has taught private lessons for over 15 years in his own studio, as well as through private schools, group classes, and non-profit organizations. Students of his have been accepted in collegiate music programs, recorded albums of original music, and have been awarded scholarships for excellence in performance.

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