Ralph Towner

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Ralph Towner at a concert with Paolo Fresu, Treibhaus Innsbruck 2010

Ralph Towner (born March 1, 1940 in Chehalis , Washington ) is an American jazz guitarist .

Live and act

Towner completed a classical trumpet training and also learned to play the piano autodidactically. From 1958 he completed his composition studies at the University of Oregon and in 1963 went to Vienna to study classical guitar playing with Karl Scheit . This was followed by studies with Homer Keller at the University of Oregon, followed by another year of study with Scheit in 1967.

In 1968 he went to New York City as a guitarist and pianist , where he became a member of the Paul Winter Consort in 1970 . In 1972 he founded the group Oregon with Glen Moore , Collin Walcott and Paul McCandless , with which he recorded more than thirty albums over the years. He also worked with musicians such as Keith Jarrett , Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter ( Weather Report ), Egberto Gismonti , Gary Burton , John Abercrombie , Gary Peacock , Jack DeJohnette , Jan Hammer , Eddie Gomez , Elvin Jones , Freddie Hubbard , the Trio Azimuth and in 2009 in a duo with Paolo Fresu (at the Enjoy Jazz Festival).

Towner performs worldwide, in North and South America, Asia, all of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He received the Down Beat Critics Poll in 1974 and won the German Record Prize in 1976 with Solstice and in 1988 with the Oregon album Ecotopia .

He composed orchestral works which u. a. performed by the Stuttgart Opera Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Freiburg Festival Orchestra, a solo suite for guitar as well as chamber music and film music and wrote a book on playing technique and improvisation on the classical guitar.


  • Improvisation and Performance Techniques for Classical and Acoustic Guitar (1982)
  • Solo Guitar Works, vol. 1 (2002), ISBN 0971727805
  • Solo Guitar Works, vol. 2 (2006), GSP 01-910034


Web links

Commons : Ralph Towner  - collection of images, videos and audio files