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Reno De Stefano

Professor of jazz guitar

An encounter with Reno De Stefano, professor of jazz guitar at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music.

  • Could you talk to us about your background and your area of research?

I’m first and foremost a jazz guitarist, but I also hold a Ph.D. in jazz musicology. So I teach guitar, jazz history, composition and various jazz ensembles. I’m continually searching for new vocabulary, new playing techniques and new harmonic approaches for the solo guitar. Music was always there when I was young. In my teens I was heavily influenced by the melodic lyricism of Carlos Santana and, later on, by the playing of jazz musicians Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Charlie Parker and Martin Taylor. Jazz composers such as Kenny Wheeler, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver also influenced me a lot.

  • What distinguishes your way of teaching?

Whether in a classroom or in individual lessons, my first goal is to inspire students and have them discover new things. I also want to transmit my passion for music and for jazz guitar. My aim is to stimulate curiosity and interest so that students can motivate themselves to develop their abilities and to grow as artists. To that end, my classes are full of concrete examples. I like to teach with passion and dedication, taking the strengths and weaknesses of each student into consideration.

  • Tell us about a memorable experience from your career.

It’s hard to limit myself to a single experience! In 2008 I was nominated for the Grand Prix General Motors at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. There are also my weekly performances at Modavie restaurant, which over ten years have helped me continue to improve my guitar playing. I think also of the publication of my articles and lessons in Just Jazz Guitar magazine (2000-2015), as well as the interview I did for the same periodical with the legendary English guitarist Martin Taylor.

November 2020