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John Doan

Professor Emeritus; Classical Guitar

Headshot of John Doan

Contact Information

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301


John Doan is an Emmy Nominee and pioneer of playing the guitar with twenty strings for which he recently was awarded the International Brand Laureate Award for "World's Leading Harp Guitarist." As Associate Professor of Music he has shared his passion for learning and teaching at Willamette University since 1977. The courses he teaches focus on guitar performance and American music. He also has a unique collection of historical guitars and related instruments which he shares with his students who have interest in playing the renaissance lute, vihuela, baroque guitar, baroque lute, early classical guitar, and harp guitar. Several of his students have gone on to having careers in music.

Off campus John has performed with a diverse range of artists including pop star Donovan, folk legend Burl Ives, jazz ace Larry Carlton, Mason Williams (of "Classical Gas" fame and more), as a member of the New Christy Minstrels with Randy Sparks, among others and his virtuoso playing and arranging has attracted praise from no less guitar luminaries than Chet Atkins and Doc Watson.

His recordings on Hearts O' Space Records have been nominated for "Best Celtic Album of the Year" with Eire - Isle of the Saints winning that title. His music has also been featured on numerous prime-time television and movie productions including Walt Disney, HBO, among others. He starred in two Public Broadcasting television specials seen on PBS with his "A Victorian Christmas with John Doan" receiving an Emmy Nomination for "Best Entertainment Special of the Year." Other video productions include “A Celtic Pilgrimage”, “Live at Deepwood”, and “In Search of the Harp Guitar.” John also hosted an International Harp Guitar Festival at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The music on John's recent recordings "The Lost Music of Fernando Sor" (the world’s first recording of Sor’s harpolyre music) and “Homage to Fernando Sor” are featured in his new touring show chronicling the life and times of the fabled “Father of the classical guitar.”

  • "John returns audiences to a time when we use to dream before movies did that for us." – Mason Williams
  • "I have no idea where I have been for the past several minutes! What incredible music you make!" – Doc Watson
  • "John's music is simply beautiful. No, it is more than that, it is heavenly!" – Burl Ives
  • “I was captivated and enchanted by your tremendous Homage to Sor performance. The imaginative kinship this immersion engendered, was truly elegant, interesting and inspiring.” – Dr. King, Chair, Music Department, Willamette University

For more information on John's music activities go to

Recent Publications

February 2017 - Article: "In Memoriam: Jim Forderer" - Journal of American Lutherie (Quarterly Journal for Guild of American Luthiers), pages 69-70

March 13, 2017 – National Public Radio (200 stations) "Hearts of Space" features "Into the Quiet" in program

August 19, 2017 - "The Lost Music of Fernando Sor – Transcriptions of Harpolyre Music for Guitar," 125 pages

April 2018 – "Heartwood" recording "Farewell" on first 6000 year old Bog Oak guitar by Gary Southwell, England

Released CDs

Doan, John. December 8, 2016 - Recording: "Into the Quiet" Harp Guitar Solo Album, Wavelength Studios, Salem, Oregon


May-June 2018, Six Week Concert Tour in France, England, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland


August 5, 2014 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - The Brand Laureate Award for "World's Leading Harp Guitarist"

April 29, 2018 Willamette University All Greek Awards "Professor of the Year"

Papers Presented at Conferences and Guest Lectures

June 22-25, 2017 Salem, OR – Hosted, Lectures/workshops 10th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat

July 20, 2017, Tacoma, WA – "Instruments of Sor's Time", Guild of Am. Luthiers Conf., Pac. Lutheran University

July 21, 2017, Tacoma, WA – "Sor Instrument Exhibit", Guild of Am. Luthiers Conf., Pac. Lutheran University

October, 24, 2017, McMinnville, OR – "The Evolution of Strings on Guitar" Hillside's "Adventures in Learning"

Willamette University

Music Department

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6260 FAX