John Birt is a 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 at The Hartt School, where he studied with internationally recognized pedagogue Richard Provost and partook in master classes by Oscar Ghiglia, Andrew York, Odair Assad, and Scott Tennant.
Diversity of style is one of the most distinguishing factors in John’s musical output, and his current ensemble work shows an array of genres and influences. In 2015 John arranged Franz Schubert’s vocal cycle Die Schöne Müllerin and performed alongside mezzo-soprano Greta Moorhead in series of benefit concerts for the UN Refugee Agency. In 2019 he took part in recording the music of composer Phil Salathè, which was released on Phil’s album Imaginary Birds
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. He is currently performing and recording with Celtic harpist Evelyn Cournoyer on a program of traditional/contemporary Irish and Scottish music.
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.
John currently lives and performs in Richmond, VA. When not making music he is most content when surrounded by used books/records and listening to live radio broadcasts of the Boston Red Sox.
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