Friday, April 6, 2012

Rest in Peace, John McGann

Word has reached me that John McGann has passed away. John was a great teacher, performer, transcriber, arranger, a notloB alumni and a hell of a fellow!

Rest in Peace, John McGann.

Faculty Biography

Helen Norton-Russell

John McGann, Professor

"At Berklee, we offer the unique opportunity to study with master musicians across a spectrum of styles, from all periods of classical music through the cornucopia of styles found in rock, blues, and various ethnic traditions (each with very specific sub-styles) such as Latin, Balkan, Irish, African, etc., as well as the great variety of indigenous American idioms within jazz and bluegrass (with its associated tributaries of old time and Texas contest styles). Not to mention great music that is, as Duke Ellington might say, 'beyond category.'
"The recently launched acoustic string program (mandolin, banjo, and harp, with an associated mandolin/guitar dual principal) allows us to address the needs of contemporary musicians by deepening their roots in traditional styles while exposing them to a the vast range of music. While the banjo and mandolin are most strongly identified with bluegrass, the possibilities for these instruments are only limited by the imagination of the player. In addition to addressing technique and musicianship, we explore improvisation from a variety of angles, including harmonically based ('playing from the changes') as well as melodic variation and development. Many of the most exciting young mandolinists of our time are choosing Berklee for both a well-rounded education and a vital and sympathetic musical community.
"I truly enjoy exposing students to great music they haven't yet discovered. Opening new doors for people is one of the joys of teaching."
  • Founding member of the Wayfaring Strangers, Boston Edge, Rust Farm, Beacon Hillbillies, the Dactyls
  • U.S. National Mandolin Champion 1986, Winfield, Kansas; winner of numerous regional guitar and mandolin contests
  • Board of Directors, Traditional Music Foundation
  • International performances with Celtic Fiddle Festival, Sam Bush, Karan Casey,  Seamus Connolly, Paddy Cronin, Seamus Egan, Bill Evans, David Grisman, Martin Hayes, Darol Anger, Yoshirio Arita, John Blake, the Boston Pops, Utah Symphony,  Dave Mattacks, the Time Jumpers, and Stefan Wrembel
  • Recordings include solo album Upslide (Green Linnet), The Boston Edge (Mapleshade),The Man Behind the Box (Mapleshade), and the Wayfaring Strangers’ This Train(Rounder)
  • Compositions and arrangements for the Boston Pops, the Utah Symphony, New Philharmonia, Annika Lückebergfeld/JZO Orchestra, and Childsplay
  • Major publications include Developing Melodic Variations on Fiddle Tunes: Guitar and Mandolin Editions (Mel Bay), Guide to Octave Mandolin (Mel Bay), Joaquin Murphey Classic Western Swing Steel Guitar Solos; Rhythm Tune Up DVD; Rhythm Mandolin DVD; and Sound Fundamentals DVD (distributed by Mel Bay)
  • House transcriber for David Grisman's Acoustic Disc
* Part-time faculty member

Updated at 7:20pm
Source Bluegrass Today

John McGann passes
 | April 6, 2012 0 Comments
And the sad news just keeps coming…
John McGann, noted instrumentalist and acoustic music educator passed away this morning in Boston. He was on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music where he taught mandolin and guitar, and led a number of string ensembles. He was also a gifted performer who was conversant in a wide variety of musical genres.
David Hollender, who served with McGann on the Berklee faculty, tells us that John had been diagnosed with a kidney condition just a few weeks ago, and was thought to have been responding well to treatment. He had been away from school, but the expectation at Berklee was that a full recovery was anticipated.
John leaves behind a wife and young daughter.
Hollender described his colleague as…
“One of the nicest, funniest, most knowledgable people I have ever known. The things he knew about music would blow your mind.
When he was out playing with Matt Glaser, they used to play a game on stage called “Ask John.” No matter what instrument he had in his hands, people could call out any Beatles tune, and he could start playing it on the spot.
He knew bluegrass, jazz, gypsy jazz, classical, Celtic and Central American folk music well.
John wore lot of hats. He was a great musician and we will miss him terribly.”
One bluegrasser whose life John touched is Sierra Hull, who studied with him every week while she was enrolled at Berklee.
“My heart is so heavy with the news of Johns passing. He was a special person and has been a great inspiration to me. I feel so blessed to have known him, and to have studied with him during my two years at Berklee.
He was one of the most gifted mandolin players and musicians I have ever met. He knew how to teach in such a way not to intimidate, though he knew more than I will probably ever start to grasp. He always carried with himself with a smile, and was a great encourager to anyone that he was around. Thanks to him, my Berklee experience was one that I am proud of and thankful for.
He will be so greatly missed!”
Bluegrass Today offers our most sincere condolences to the McGann family, the community at Berklee, and all John’s many friends and students who loved him dearly.

No comments: