John Birt is a guitarist, banjoist, and mandolinist who has proven his versatility on many stages throughout the world. He 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 soloist, his programs have focused on 16th lute music, J.S. Bach’s solo violin and cello works, and contemporary music, including world premieres by American composers David Macbride and Thomas Schuttenhelm.
Over the years he has founded many ensembles in a variety of genres, including a seven-piece Irish ensemble called Craic Was Mighty (“craic” being the Irish word for fun, gossip, merrymaking, etc.), an early jazz quintet called French 75 Dixieland Jazz Band, and most recently the Paper Moon Jazz Band, which is one of the busiest jazz groups in Rhode Island and Boston dedicated to Swing Era, Hot Jazz, and the music of Django Reinhardt.
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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