Shawn Persinger, a.k.a. Prester John, is one of the most innovative composers, guitarists, and singer-songwriters writing, teaching, and performing today. Drawing on a wealth of influences, Persinger has combined the best of classical, rock, jazz, folk, world music, and the avant-garde to develop a sound that is uniquely his own.
From his solo acoustic guitar music to his work with the groundbreaking avant-rock-prog-fusion band, Boud Deun, his pieces for the “concert” music world to his aggressive folk-singing style, Persinger demonstrates an unlimited musical sensibility. His acoustic duo Prester John has been hailed as one of the most forward-thinking outfits to hit the acoustic music scene in years. The critics and public agree. Prester John’s 2010 CD Desire for a Straight Line was included on the Grammy nomination ballot for “Best Contemporary Jazz Recording.” Rolling Stone, Relix, Jazziz, The Village Voice, Gramophone, and countless others publications have praised his playing, composing, and live performances.
Persinger began his career in 1991 after graduating from Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. As a composer and performer he has had his music performed innumerable times, in varying ensembles, on five continents, in 36 countries, and countless cities. He continues to tour and perform constantly around the world. Persinger has also been featured, reviewed, or interviewed in Guitar Player, Guitar World, and Premier Guitar. In 2004, Acoustic Guitar magazine named his solo recording The Art of Modern Primitive Guitar one of the best CDs of the year.
As a music educator Persinger has taught thousands of students and directed multifarious ensembles and group workshops. He has also written articles, features, and lessons for Premier Guitar, Guitar Player, Frets, and Taylor Guitar’s Wood & Steel. He is a faculty member of Guitar Intensives in Bar Harbor, Maine; The Center for Creative Youth in Middletown, Connecticut; and has served on the faculty at The National Guitar Workshop. His other books include Bebop Jazz Guitar, The Pedagogical Sketchbook for Guitar, and The Young Person’s Guide to Free Improvisation and Experimental Music.