Our guest artists share their knowledge and experiences with our students while visiting classes, conducting clinics, and performing concerts. Past Guest Artists include: Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Robben Ford, John Scofield, Steve Vai, Randy Bachman, Paul Gilbert, Andy Summers (The Police), Billy Sheehan, Pierre Bensusan, John Petrucci (Dream Theater), John Abercrombie, Duke Robillard, Andy Timmons, Brent Mason, Mike Stern, John Knowles, Rik Emmett, John Jorgenson, Sue Foley, Jennifer Batten, Andy McKee, Orianthi, Paul DeLong, Tommy Emmanuel, Rhonda Smith, Guthrie Govan, Albert Lee, Eric Gales, and many more!
Our 2023 Guest Artists include:
Kirk Fletcher (Nashville Session)
Kirk Fletcher plugs in his guitar and lets out the weight of the world. With every string bend and sustained vocal, the Los Angeles-born and Nashville-based singer, guitarist, and producer summons the spirit of classic Blues spun with his own fresh fire. It’s why he’s been tapped to complement everyone from Joe Bonamassa to The Fabulous Thunderbirds on stage or in the studio. It’s why he has received several nominations for the Blues Music Award. It’s why he has covered Living Blues Magazine and incited the applause of Guitar World, Guitar Player, Guitar, and many others. It’s why he has amassed a beloved solo discography streamed millions of times. It’s also why his 2022 seventh full-length album, ‘Heartache By The Pound’, scorches as much as it does. Produced by Fletcher at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, it proudly affirms him as a preeminent 21st century Blues man.
Alex Skolnick (San Diego Session)
Alex Skolnick is a musician, composer and improviser of a multitude of styles, particularly metal and jazz guitar. While a sixteen year old student of Joe Satriani, Alex joined Bay Area metal outfit Testament, bringing melody, harmony and technique unheard of in thrash metal at the time. During the next decade, inspired by the likes of John Scofield, Pat Martino, George Benson and others, he moved to New York to earn a BFA in Jazz from The New School. He has since released critically acclaimed albums with his own trio. In the mid-2000’s, he reunited with Testament, the impact of which eclipsed the band’s initial run, bringing them closer in status to tourmates such as Slayer, Megadeth and Lamb of God, the latter of whom featured Alex as guest soloist on an album. Alex has also worked with superstar acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, Percy Jones (Brand X, Brian Eno), Stuart Hamm, Michael Manring, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and others. As a writer, Alex has contributed to publications including Guitar World and Guitar Player. Alex has his own line of ESP signature guitars and a signature pickup made by Seymour Duncan. Additional product endorsements include D’Addario, Taylor Guitars, Godin Guitars, IK Multimedia, Orange Amps and more. Whether he’s appearing at sophisticated jazz venues such as The Blue Note and Iridium or shredding at full volume at heavy music festivals, it’s safe to say that Skolnick has found his own niche as a guitarist.
Donna Grantis (Toronto Session)
Donna Grantis is a Canadian artist and guitarist. From 2012 to 2016 Grantis performed and recorded with Prince as a member of his funk-rock trio 3RDEYEGIRL and supergroup New Power Generation. Grantis composed the title track to Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL’s album PLECTRUMELECTRUM, which reached #1 on the Billboard Rock Chart. As a bandleader, she fronted a 5-piece electric jazz quintet and released her debut album, DIAMONDS & DYNAMITE, described by the Star Tribune as, “New millennium jazz-rock fusion, sorta like Jeff Beck meets a post-modern Mahavishnu Orchestra.” She has shared the stage with a number of award-winning artists including Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae, and she has collaborated musically with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl among others. Her newest project, Culture vs Policy, fuses the emotive power of music with thought provoking dialogue concerning human impacts on the planet. Grantis’ formal training includes a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance from McGill University. She first attended Guitar Workshop Plus as a teenager, and shortly thereafter joined as a faculty member at sessions in Toronto and Vancouver. Donna is excited to return as a guest artist in 2023……and GWP is incredibly proud to welcome her back home.
Nathan East (San Diego Session)
Grammy-nominated bassist Nathan East, credited on more than 2,000 albums, is recognized as one of the most recorded musicians in the business. He is a founding member of contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay with Bob James, Lee Ritenour & Harvey Mason. East is known for his musical collaborations with Eric Clapton, Anita Baker, BB King, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Harrison, Beyoncé, Quincy Jones, Ringo, Toto & Daft Punk with Nathan’s bass lines driving worldwide hits “Get Lucky”, Kenny Loggins “Footloose” and Clapton’s “Change The World”. East co-wrote “Easy Lover” with Phil Collins & Philip Bailey earning him multiple awards including Britain’s prestigious Ivor Novello Award. In 2014 Nathan released his debut album on the Yamaha Entertainment Group label which went to #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts and won a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. His second solo album “Reverence” (2017) also reached #1 on the Billboard Jazz & Contemporary Jazz charts. East, a graduate of University of California San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music has his own online School of Bass at ArtistWorks.com and was honored by The United States Congress with a Congressional Record for his contribution to the worldwide music community.
John Jorgenson (Nashville Session)
Grammy-winning guitarist John Jorgenson has had an incredibly eclectic 50 year career as a performing and recording artist, composer, session musician and band leader in numerous styles of music. Other awards include ACM’s “Guitarist of the Year” 3 times, Guitar Player Magazine’s “Album of the Year” and “Country Album of the Year” with the iconic guitar trio “The Hellecasters.” Jorgenson’s celebrated gypsy jazz Quintet has topped jazz charts, and as a founding member of the Desert Rose Band topped country charts numerous times, and with Elton John played on the top selling single of all time. As a composer Jorgenson’s compositions have been featured on Peter Frampton’s Grammy-winning “Fingerprints” album and at the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics. Collaborations onstage and on record include Bob Seger, Bonnie Raitt, Pavarotti, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Earl Scruggs, George Michael, Billy Joel, Benny Goodman, Little Richard, Sting, The Byrds, and countless others. Jorgenson continues to perform internationally with the John Jorgenson Quintet, his blue grass band J2B2 and his Electric Band, as well as Elton John, Rodney Crowell, and others.
Greg Koch (Seattle Session)
It is not a stretch to say that Milwaukee native Greg Koch is one of the most famous unknown guitar players in the world. His fierce creative spirit and crazed sense of fun fused with a tremendous degree of versatility has made him an island of six-stringed mirth in a sea of guitar warlords. Fifteen critically acclaimed CD’s featuring his unique and incendiary brand of playing and composing, international tours as band leader, fourteen best-selling guitar instructional materials for the Hal Leonard Publishing empire, articles and columns in some the biggest guitar magazines, a lengthy past tenure as an ambassador for Fender Guitars and a similar position in that capacity for Fishman Transducers has generated a respectable following for Greg throughout the world. Ultimately, Greg’s 4000 plus videos exceeding 50 million views for Wildwood Guitars of Louisville Colorado showcasing Greg’s wild guitar test drives and random humorous commentary have made him a household name for guitar players throughout the galaxy.
Lorne Lofsky (Toronto Session)
“Guitar players know about him. The people that know, know. His playing is spontaneous, adventurous, playful. I have the utmost respect for him.” Peter Bernstein “American listeners have slept for too long on this major figure in Canadian Jazz, whose gorgeous tone, technical prowess, and cool, cerebral approach to improvisation may remind admirers of the late Jim Hall” Allen Morrison, JazzTimes.
Over the course of a 40+ year career, Lofsky has played, toured, and recorded with some of the most prominent names in Jazz including Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Ed Bickert, Pat LaBarbera, Ray Brown, Joey DeFrancesco, and many others. Born, raised, and based in Toronto, Canada, Lofsky’s career began when Oscar Peterson offered to produce his first record, It Could Happen to You (Pablo Records), in 1980. During the years that followed, Lofsky worked extensively in the Toronto area and toured with the likes of Pat LaBarbera, and fellow guitarist Ed Bickert. Bickert and Lofsky’s fruitful collaboration ran from 1983 through 1991 and produced two widely-acclaimed recordings including the well-known 1990 Concord release This Is New. A master guitarist known for pianistic voicings and virtuosic skill; Lorne Lofsky is considered one of Canada’s great musical treasures. This Song Is New is his first recording as a leader in over two decades and signals an exciting new page in the guitarist’s illustrious career.
Christie Lenée (Nashville Session)
“Acoustic Guitarist of the Year” and celebrated singer/songwriter Christie Lenée is more than a musician – she’s an experience. Symphonic compositions flow from her fingertips effortlessly, with sound ranging from transcendental folk-pop to virtuosic instrumentals. Christie has been described as “Dave Matthews meets Joni Mitchell and Michael Hedges,” integrating melodic pop lyricism with catchy hooks and percussive, harmonic textures. Her captivating performances have been seen on stages with Tommy Emmanuel, Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Andy McKee, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Melissa Etheridge, Antigone Rising, Kaki King, Jake Shimabukoro and Christopher Cross to name a few. Featured on the Grammy Museum’s virtual program streaming from Los Angeles, along with a variety of articles in Guitar Player Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and the recent notability of “Best Acoustic Guitarists in the World Right Now” (Guitar World Magazine), Christie continues to awe crowds with the unique essence of her music. Lenée’s newly released album Coming Alive features iconic guitar hooks, powerhouse vocal performances and reminds devout listeners of her spiritual and sublime songwriting, inspirational lyrics, and of course, sensational guitar playing.
Mark Lettieri (Seattle Session)
Mark Lettieri is a guitarist, composer, and producer based in Fort Worth, TX. Proficient in a multitude of styles, he records and performs in virtually every genre of popular music with both independent and major label artists. He also composes and produces original instrumental music under his own name. Playing in the vibrant gospel and R&B scene led Lettieri to join jazz / world group Snarky Puppy in 2008, where he continues to contribute as guitarist, as well as arranger and composer. The group has earned three GRAMMY Awards and tours constantly, having performed on every continent except Antarctica. Outside of Snarky Puppy, Lettieri has released six albums as a leader and his most recent is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category. Due in large part to Lettieri’s vibrant social media presence, these records have created a sizable buzz among fans of instrumental music worldwide. He performs this music live in a quartet format as the Mark Lettieri Group. Mark has also appeared on four releases by The Fearless Flyers quartet. As an in demand session guitarist and touring sideman, Lettieri has logged miles with neo soul icon Erykah Badu, gospel singer Anthony Evans, and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips. He’s also performed with a myriad of other artists, including Nelly, Anthony Evans, Chrisette Michele, Myron Butler, N’dambi, Bilal, and even comedians Dave Chappelle and Harry Shearer. Session recording work includes artists such as David Crosby, Kirk Franklin, The Jacksons, Fred Hammond, Tori Kelly, 50 Cent, Ledisi, Tamela Mann, Eric Roberson, Lecrae, Lupe Fiasco, Keyshia Cole, and Xzibit.
Ariel Posen (Toronto Session)
Ariel Posen’s music occupies the space between genres. It’s a rootsy sound that nods to his influences — heartland rock & roll, electrified Americana, blue-eyed soul, R&B, Beatles-inspired pop — while still moving forward, pushing Posen into territory that’s uniquely his own. Along the way, Posen has received standing ovations not only from his audiences, but also from outlets like Rolling Stone, who dubbed him “a modern-day guitar hero” Music Radar listing him as a fan voted top 10 rock guitarist of the year and the Western Canadian Music Awards who nominated him for Breakout Artist of the Year in 2020 and 2021, as well as Rock Artist of the Year and Recording of the Year in 2022.