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James Kerr: Bio

James possesses the ability to be equally at home in the worlds of Renaissance lute, classical guitar, and bluegrass. He has performed at such New York area venues as Irving Plaza, The Knitting Factory, Gracie Mansion, Trinity Church, The Wetlands, Symphony Space, as well as the Juilliard School and Yale University. James attended the University of Michigan where he studied jazz, and received a master's in music education from Columbia University. He completed a doctorate in classical guitar performance in 2016 at Stony Brook University (SUNY). His primary teachers on classical guitar were Kevin Gallagher and Jerry Willard. James has also studied Renaissance lute technique and repertory in lessons and masterclasses with the world's leading players including Nigel North, Jakob Lindberg, Paul O'Dette, and Robert Barto. In lute recitals James specializes in music of the late Renaissance, in particular the lute fantasias of John Dowland and Simone Molinaro.  

James performs both chamber music and jazz on banjo with pianist Jordan Shapiro in the Chamber Banjo Project, with concerts and video recordings in 2017.  James has also performed on dobro extensively in bluegrass bands throughout NYC, including as a longtime member of Citigrass.

In 2006 James performed as a soloist with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra Pops in a program that combined bluegrass band and orchestra, with arrangements by Kenji Bunch. Festival performances have included the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, The Craftsbury Chamber Festival, The Long Island Guitar Festival, and the Battery Park Summer Concert Series in Manhattan.

James has taught undergraduate musicianship at Stony Brook University (SUNY) and is currently on the music faculty at Columbia University, Naugatuck Valley Community College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice(CUNY).