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James Kerr: Bio


James possesses the ability to be equally at home in the worlds of bluegrass dobro, fingerpicking blues, and Renaissance music. 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 and Jakob Lindberg. 

In solo concerts James performs a unique mixture of dobro, fingerpicking early blues and ragtime, along with Renaissance lute works arranged for seven-string classical guitar from the original tablature sources. James has also performed on dobro extensively in bluegrass bands throughout NYC, including as a longtime member of Citigrass.

James has performed as a soloist with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra Pops and 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.

Dr. Kerr directs the Bluegrass Ensemble at Columbia University and also teaches guitar at Naugatuck Valley Community College, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).