Photo from the Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, MD
Jan Knutson, guitarist
Jan is 19 years old and has been playing the guitar since 2009. He has studied with Rodney Jones, Peter Bernstein, Steve Abshire, Paul Wingo, Shawn Purcell, Frank Vignola, Frank Latino, and Heather McKay in addition to online lessons with Martin Taylor.
In April, 2015 Jan was selected as one of six 2016 Artists in Residence for the Strathmore Music Center in Rockville, MD. Chosen from a large pool of candidates, Jan presented several concerts at Strathmore Mansion in April, 2016 as well as collaborated with fellow Artists in Residence in concerts throughout the year. In December, 2015, Jan was named the guitarist for the 2016 Jazz Band of America and performed in Indianapolis, Indiana with a select group of high school jazz musicians from across the country. In October, 2015 Jan won first prize in the Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Soloist Competition and performed as a soloist with the US Army Blues. Jan was selected to be a member of the elite Jazz At Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy in Summer 2015 and 2016. He also attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz program. In May of 2016 he was featured with Frank Vignola, Julian Lage, Vinny Raniolo, and Olli Soikkeli at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jan has performed at many venues in the region including Strathmore Mansion and the Kennedy Center. He has played with Frank Vignola, Al Caiola, and Olie Soikelli at The Cutting Room in New York City, and with Frank Vignola at Germano's in Baltimore, the Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD and the Djangoary Festival in Richmond, VA. In June, 2015 he joined Steve Abshire, Steve Herberman, and Bucky Pizzarelli back at the Mainstay.
He recorded his first CD, Out of Nowhere, produced by Frank Vignola in August of 2014 at Sweetfoot Studio in Easton MD, The CD was recorded over a four hour period, each track performed back to back one to three times. The final product is a compilation of the best takes with no edits and minimal audio enhancement, the goal being to capture the spontaneity of a live performance. The recording has been played on radio stations across the country and was reviewed in Just Jazz Guitar magazine. His second CD, Looking Both Ways,is on the Patuxent Music label and came out in April 2016. The recording is a mix of standards and originals and includes solo guitar and combo performances featuring some of the finest musicians in the DC area including guitarist Steve Abshire, mandolinist Danny Knicely, and Tommy Cecil on bass.
The subject of several newspaper interviews, Jan was featured in the May 2015 issue of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine and February issue of Riff Journal.
In addition to the guitar, Jan plays violin, viola, and trombone. He now studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Rodney Jones.