Bend Guitar Blast Warms Up January with Eight Days of World Class Six-String Masters

Some of the best players in the world converge on the Tower for a weeklong Guitar Blast, celebrating the renovated theatre’s 10th anniversary, as well as Bend’s well-known love of the six-string instrument and its performers.


The eight day event features live performances, clinics, classes, collaborations with local guitar students and teachers, and a musical film documentary. January 22-30, the Bend Guitar Blast lineup, sponsored by Worthy Brewing and Drake Restaurant, features 12 acts and a movie premiere.

(♫ denotes public workshops available. Call 541-420-8904 for details):


California & Montreal Guitar Trios        Wednesday, January 22
It’s a six-by-six-string event when the two virtuoso groups return to the Tower, performing separately and together. A witty and spirited evening of music by Queen, the Beatles, Ennio Morricone and intricate original compositions showcasing both acoustic and electric guitar wizardry.


New West Guitar Group♫            Thursday, January 23
Bend native John Storie returns with his trio, recently featured in Downbeat Magazine and on NPR, acclaimed by the Seattle Times as “sharp and refined.” Rooted in classic jazz, these versatile players and composers shift seamlessly “from chamber-like elegance and fragile introspection to exhilarating swing and gritty blues.” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine)


Omaha Guitar Trio & Cavatina Duo♫        Friday, January 24
Central Oregon Debut
The Omaha Guitar Trio graduated from University of Nebraska at Omaha as classical guitar performance/education majors. Since their debut in 2010, OGT has performed their soothing yet passionate style of classical, flamenco, jazz, and top 40 at festivals and schools across the Midwest.

As the Cavatina Duo, Spanish flutist Eugenia Moliner and Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic have captivated audiences for 18 years in 15 countries and festivals in Chicago and Beijing. Their repertoire, described by Classical Guitar Magazine as simply “remarkable,” includes baroque, romantic, contemporary and folk.


Jeff Peterson  ♫                Sunday, January 26
Central Oregon Debut
Two-time Grammy winner, this slack key guitar giant had five songs featured in George Clooney’s The Descendants. Jeff uses open tunings to explore traditional Hawaiian island music, plus jazz, classical and standard genres. His collaborations range from Eric Clapton to Keola Beamer, and from Michael Feinstein to Sergio Mendez.


Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project    Monday, January 27
Central Oregon Premiere
Fascinated as a child with his grandfather’s player piano, 19-time Grammy winner Pat Metheny commissioned a mechanical mini-orchestra, all controlled by his guitar. The collaboration between this master guitarist and his wildest imagination resulted in acompletely unique approach to his solo performance. The Orchestrion Project showcases Metheny single-handedly operating a symphony of acoustic instruments in a fascinating, one-of-a-kind musical experience.Filmed by Grammy- and Emmy-winning directors Pierre and François Lamoureux at the former St. Elias Church in Brooklyn. (2012, rated PG)


Bill Frisell’s Guitar in the Space Age        Tuesday, January 28
Oregon Debut
The revered guitarist, composer and Grammy winner pays homage to the popular instrumental music made at the birth of the Fender Telecaster. Includes numbers made famous by Chuck Berry, Merle Travis, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Wrecking Crew, The Beach Boys, and more. Frisell, whom The Wall Street Journal calls “the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years,” is joined by Greg Leisz (electric and pedal steel guitars), Tony Scherr (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums). Frisell is Guest Curator at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Artistic Director at SFJAZZ, and 12-time Best Guitarist winner in the Downbeat Critics Poll.


Christie Lenée                    Wednesday, January 29
Central Oregon Debut
The two-handed, percussive finger tapping guitar expert from Portland introduces Bend to her innovative musicianship and soulful lyrics. Her folky yet funky compositions prompted Tim Reynolds, guitarist for Dave Matthews Band, to call her “a wonderful spirit making beautiful music.” Christie also incorporates, and was recently endorsed by, The Engle, a drumstick for guitar that launched in 2012.


International Guitar Night                Thursday, January 30
Four guitar gurus from around the world bring the Bend Guitar Blast to a roaring conclusion. International Guitar Night founder Brian Gore’s finely-crafted poetic “songs without words” are inspired by myth and modern literature. Mix them with his buoyant personality for a memorable night, as Gore hosts: Italy’s Pino Forastiere, revered in contemporary steel string guitar circles for his unique mix of melody, improvisation and hand percussion; England’s Mike Dawes, one of the world’s finest young finger style performers, currently touring as Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward’s lead guitar player; and Argentina’s Quique Sinesi, master of tango and folklore on the Spanish and Piccolo guitars and charango. It’s an inventive evening of contemporary guitar mastery.

541-317-0700 or

Tower Theatre GUITAR BLAST Workshops
New West Guitar Group
Wednesday Jan. 22
Cascade School of Music
Introduction to Improvisation
Bring: Guitar, pencil, any current music you’re working on


Omaha Guitar Trio
Thursday Jan. 23
Dudley’s Book Store (upstairs)
Intro to Classical Guitar
    Bring: Guitar, and your curiosity

Jeff Peterson
Monday Jan. 27
Cascade School of Music
Introduction to Slack Key Guitar
Bring: Guitar, and a spirit of Aloha


Anyone purchasing a Bend Guitar Blast festival pass ($129) can attend all classes free, plus receive reserved seating at all Guitar Blast performances at the Tower.
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