Faculty & Staff
Peter Janson, MM
Senior Lecturer II in Music, College of Liberal Arts Director of Jazz Ensembles
Areas of Expertise
Jazz ensembles, guitar instruction (jazz, classical, folk), music appreciation
MM New England Conservatory
Website: Click here
Peter Janson is the “perfect combination of instrumentalist and composer, entertainer and educator” (WUMB Music Festival). He is a Senior Lecturer II at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he has served since 1991. His teaches courses in jazz history, jazz theory and arranging, jazz ensembles, applied guitar, music of Latin America, and general music appreciation.
In addition to teaching, Peter Janson is a "gifted acoustic finger-style guitar player" (Dirty Linen), who performs world-class guitar music in recording and on the concert stage, in fresh contemporary arrangements of new and traditional tunes from around the world. His original and compelling contemporary style is filled with artistry, superb technical mastery, and heartfelt passion, weaving songs about life and the heart.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mr. Janson began playing guitar at age 7 and composed already as a young teen. His eclectic, early influences ranged from Django Reinhardt, Andres Segovia, Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Les Paul, and Grant Green to Steve Reich, Arvo Part, Brian Eno, and others; these artists continue to be his inspiration. While acquiring his Master of Guitar Performance degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied under David Leisner, Robert Sullivan, Thomas Oboe Lee, Thomas McKinley and others, Mr. Janson focused on early music for stringed instruments, jazz, Indian classical and contemporary classical composition. At this time, through the intense study of a variety of musics (stemming both from his interests as well as his heritages), a style of music ignited in his soul that allowed him to create a unique kind of guitar music that "falls in the space between the personal and the universal." His passion for folk, jazz, world, and traditional music was formed. Since that time he has performed primarily as a soloist on six-string guitar, and occasionally as a singer.
Mr. Janson is an experienced, independent performer who has played across the US and Canada, from the legendary Freight & Salvage in Berkley CA,to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, to the iconic Club Passim in Boston MA. He has had the privilege of performing with a variety of acoustic artists, including American Guitar Masters tours with Larry Pattis and Steve Davison, Artistry of the Guitar tours with Ken Bonfield, String Songs,and concerts with luminaries Tim Farrell and Michael Manring, friends concerts with Steve Hunt, Henrik Bridger and Bertram Lehmann. He has also shared stages and co-bills with Ed Gerhard, Alex DeGrassi, Dakota Dave Hull, Chris Proctor, Jamie Bonk, singer-songwriters Brooks Williams, Shane Jackman, Greg Greenway, Tim Harrison, Ugandan artist Kinobe and Celtic artists Aine Minogue, Aoife Clancy, Robbie O'Connell, and others.
His blending of technical virtuosity with heartfelt spirit has earned him critical acclaim from reviewers and industry peers alike: “perfection ... highly creative,” “a true artist’s soul,” and “absolutely one of the best heartfelt acoustic players today." There is no doubt that he has bridged a gap between the every-day music fan with die-hard guitar fans. Mr. Janson won an NAR Lifestyle Music Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his CD, Beautiful Day, and Album of the Year and Best Instrumental Album Acoustic awards for his co-writing and performing on Jamie Bonk’s CD My World. He has composed and recorded music on 14 national and international recordings, including six CDs under his name; music for video games; and music that has been featured on a variety of regional and national documentaries including CBS News' "Living in the Shadows: Religion's response to human trafficking." His recordings have been featured on PBS, commercial and college radio, syndicated radio, Sirius/XM, Music Choice TV, Pandora, Spotify, and in-flight programming resulting in over 1/2 million BMI verified broadcasts.
• A Long Road: tunes from Celtic lands, composer, arranger, co-producer, solo guitarist for fourteen songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records, 2013
• Dream Logic: The Echoes Living Room Concerts, vol. 16, composer and solo guitarist for one song, Echodisc 2010
• Compass Rose, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for eleven songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records 2009
• Winter Gifts, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for eight songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records 2007
• Beautiful Day, composer, producer, guitarist for seven songs for acoustic guitar, voice, bass, piano, and percussion, EWM Records 2006
• Serenity at UMB: a Relaxation CD, music composer and arranger, UMass Boston University Health Services, 2006
• Amningsro, compilation CD, composer and solo guitar performer of one song, THETA Music Sweden, 2006
• En forsmak fran THETA: Musik, Guidad Avslappning, Naturljud, compilation CD, composer and solo guitar performer of one song, THETA Music Sweden, 2006
• A Clear Stillness, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for ten songs for solo acoustic guitar, THETA Music Sweden 2005
• My World, Jamie Bonk, composer and guitar performer for one song, Waiting For Winter, Bonk Productions 2004
• Firelight Moonlight, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for ten songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records 2004
• Firelight Moonlight – Audiophile Recording, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for twelve songs for solo acoustic guitar, Orange Music Pte Ltd. Singapore 2004
• Sounds of New England, Vol. 1, compilation CD, composer and solo guitarist for one song, Mansfield Music and Arts Association, 2003
• Sometimes From Here, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for ten songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records 2001
• Across the Bridge, composer, co-producer, solo guitarist for ten songs for solo acoustic guitar, EWM Records 1999
• “Teaching at a University.” Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Guitar Pro, July 2008, Vol. 19 no.1 issue #187, String Letter Publishing, san Rafael CA, pg. 8 (reference); pg. 72