UMass Boston


Peter Janson

Performing Arts
Senior Lecturer III
University Hall Floor 2

Area of Expertise

Jazz Ensembles, Jazz History, Jazz Music Theory, Guitar Instruction (jazz, classical, folk), Music Appreciation


MM New England Conservatory

Additional Information

Peter Janson is the “perfect combination of instrumentalist and composer, entertainer and educator” (WUMB Music Festival).  He is a Senior Lecturer III at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he has served since 1991. He teaches courses in jazz history, jazz theory and arranging, jazz ensembles, applied guitar, music of Latin America, and general music appreciation.

Building what he considers a meaningful life, Peter’s music events are also an important part of that - he performs concerts, tours regularly, founded his own Eastern Woods Music label, gives guitar workshops, and he performs for audiences throughout the USA. There aren’t many jazz guitarists today focusing exclusively on solo guitar, but for Janson playing solo jazz guitar is both his passion and love - he is inspired by the solo guitar works of players like Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Wolfgang Muthspiel, as well as jazz legends such as Joe Pass, Earl Klugh, and Jim Hall. Growing in international recognition, Peter signed worldwide sub-publishing deals with STOMP Music Korea and with UK based SUPREME SONGS Limited in October 2022.

Reviewed as a "gifted acoustic finger-style guitar player" (Dirty Linen), Peter Janson performs world-class guitar music in recording and on the concert stage, offering 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. "Peter Janson's music has the substance of great jazz presented in an original and accessible style. Truly great!”
~ Steve Hunt, keyboardist (Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham)

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.

Janson's performances across the US and Canada range from the legendary Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, 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, Sean McGowan, Preston Reed, Adam Miller, Tony McManus, 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 24 national and international recordings, including nine 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 3.5-million BMI verified broadcasts.


Getting To Here, Peter Janson, Eastern Woods Music Records, 2022

Rooted in Song: An American Msic Experience, Peter Janson guitarist and co-writer on one duo track, "Santa Cruz," Axon Entertainment, 2020

The Best of Friends, Steve Davison, Peter Janson guitarist and co-writer on two duo tracks, "The Water Is Wide" and "Santa Cruz," Finger Food Productions, 2018

Places In Time, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2017

Dust Bowl: American Stories, Grant Maloy Smith, Peter Janson guitarist on the Billboard charting recording of "Old Black Roller" (10 weeks in TOP 10, #2 on Heatseekers chart), Suburban Cowboy Records, 2017

A Long Road: Tunes from Celtic Lands, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2013

Dream Logic: The Echoes Living Room Concerts, vol. 16, various artists, Echodisc, 2010

Oasis Acoustic, vol. 9, various artists, Oasis, 2010

Compass Rose, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2009

Winter Gifts, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2007

New Age Music and New Sounds, various artists, Universal Quiet (Italy), 2007

Beautiful Day, Peter Janson & Friends, EWM Records, 2006

Serenity at UMB: a Relaxation CD, Peter Janson: music composer and arranger, UMass Boston, University Health Services, 2006

Amningsro, compilation CD, various artists, THETA Music Sweden, 2006

En forsmak fran THETA: Musik, Guidad Avslappning, Naturljud, compilation CD, various artists, THETA Music Sweden, 2006

A Clear Stillness, Peter Janson, THETA Music Sweden, 2005

A Window on Salt Spring, various artists, Creek House Realty, 2006

My World, Jamie Bonk, Peter Janson composer and guitar performer for one song, "Waiting For Winter", Bonk Productions, 2004

Firelight Moonlight, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2004

Firelight Moonlight – Audiophile Recording, Peter Janson, Orange Music Pte Ltd. Singapore, 2004

Sounds of New England, Vol. 1, compilation CD, various artists, Mansfield Music and Arts Association, 2003

Sometimes From Here, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 2001

NAV Sampler, various artists, New Age Voice, 2001

Oasis Acoustic Instrumentals, vol. 3, various artists, Oasis, 2000

Across the Bridge, Peter Janson, EWM Records, 1999


• Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, BEAUTIFUL DAY
• Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic, BEAUTIFUL DAY
• Best CD of the Year, BEAUTIFUL DAY
• Album of the Year, JAMIE BONK - MY WORLD
• Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic, JAMIE BONK – MY WORLD
• Top 20 of the Year, FIRELIGHT MOONLIGHT ~ KTEP-FM (El Paso TX)
• Essential Audiosyncracy Collection Award winner, SOMETIMES FROM HERE ~ KTEP-FM (El Paso TX)
• Best New Age Album Nominee, SOMETIMES FROM HERE
• Top 20 of the Year, SOMETIMES FROM HERE ~ KTEP-FM (El Paso TX)
• Top 20 of the Year, SOMETIMES FROM HERE ~ KRSC-FM (Tulsa OK)
• Best Acoustic Instrumental Album Nominee, ACROSS THE BRIDGE
• Best of the Year, ACROSS THE BRIDGE ~ KGOU-FM (Norman OK)


•       “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