Contact/Meet the Director

For questions about the festival or competition, please contact John Paul Shields at northwestguitarfest@gmail.com.

John Paul Shields

John Paul Shields is a guitar performer, composer, and instructor with over 20 years of professional experience, currently based in Ellensburg, WA. A graduate of the University of Washington in classical guitar, with a masters in guitar performance from the University of Idaho, John Paul has performed worldwide in a colorful array of settings, from public festivals in Peru to Seattle’s Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya, to live radio and television. A passionate musician dedicated to the lifelong pursuit of learning, John Paul has played as both soloist and in various ensembles, ranging in genre from classical, Peruvian folk, to rock, pop, bluegrass and even jazz.

In 2008, John Paul’s career moved him to Peru, where, in addition to performing and teaching, he studied the rich intricacies of Andean folk guitar music. John Paul worked with several renowned musicians in Peru, including Frank Collazos, Luis Salazar Mejía and the legendary Ayacuchan guitarist Raúl García Zárate, who was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in Latin American culture. Recently, John Paul has just edited and recorded all the music examples for the Andean guitar method, Método Guitarra Andina Peruana, written by Luis Salazar Mejía.

Besides his work on Peruvian and classical guitar repertoire, Mr. Shields currently teaches guitar at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, WA, and Yakima Valley College in Yakima, WA. Additionally, John Paul teaches for Guitars in Recovery through Holy Names Music Center, a program that offers lessons and guitars to veterans with PTSD. Mr. Shields also plays in the guitar duo, South Hill Guitars, with University of Idaho guitar professor James Reid, while pursuing Alexander Technique teacher training under his mentors Bill Conable and Shawn Copeland.