John Behling has been mesmerizing audiences for nearly thirty years with his exquisite guitar music. He has performed extensively as a soloist of jazz standards, Brazilian guitar music, and classical repertoire, and also as a sought-after sideman with a multitude of fine musicians.
He has performed throughout the United States, playing with legends such as Jay McShann, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, James Naughton, and Patti Page, plus the award-winning jazz and Celtic fiddler Jeremy Kittel and the renowned banjoist Clarke Buehling and his ragtime orchestra, The Skirt Lifters. Most recently, John has been in Chicago, collaborating with artists including Rob Dorn, Ana Munteanu, Jarvis Raymond, and the popular Brazilian jazz band Rio Bamba.
John enjoys playing for audiences large and small. He has appeared at world-renowned festivals such as the Chicago Celtic Festival and landmark venues including the Kennedy Center for the Arts. He has had the honor of performing for both President Clinton and President Obama. In addition, he plays corporate events, private events, and local clubs including Katerina’s and Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush Street.
John is also an accomplished scholar and teacher. He has written extensively about jazz in Chicago and has presented talks on topics including Chicago jazz, Sammy Davis, Jr., Broadway musicals, and other issues related to music and American culture. He holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan and an M.M. in jazz and classical guitar performance from the University of Arkansas. He has taught at the University of Michigan, DePaul University, the University of North Dakota, and Harold Washington College. He currently teaches at the University of Illinois and Columbia College.