John Bullard

John Bullard | Classical Banjo

About the Artist/Ensemble

Over the course of his performing and recording career, John Bullard has invited audiences to share in a transformative revelation: to experience the artistic marriage of banjo and classical music. “Absolutely enchanting,” writes critic Graham Rickson of the UK-based The Arts Desk. “A musical education and experience that broke genre barriers,” noted Morgan Morrison, program director for the performance space The Barns of Rose Hill.

As a classically trained musician and the first graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music to earn a degree in performance with the banjo, John Bullard has established a critically praised performing and recording career dedicated to exploring the artistic marriage of banjo and classical music. Bullard understands that accepting the banjo—a “folk” instrument with a complex pedigree—into the classical fold is a challenging proposition for traditionalists; the guitar once had to navigate a similar journey to mainstream acceptance. But through three album-length recordings, live performance, and workshops, Bullard continues to introduce the classical banjo to a growing audience worldwide.

Bullard’s concert repertoire includes solo, duet, and quartet performances of works from Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and others of the Baroque Period, along with later-period pieces by Schumann and others. More recently, Bullard has begun featuring new works by contemporary American composers, including a Caprice in D minor in the Romantic style, from composer Frank Mullen, and a set of 24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, commissioned from Adam Larrabee. In addition, Bullard is now working on a new commission from the genre-fusing composer Joshua Stamper and a new work from rising composer Steve Snowden.

Concert/Performance Description

Solo Program, “Bach, Banjos and the Hero’s Journey” – suitable for all ages 

In an inspirational solo program, John Bullard uses the metaphor of the hero’s journey to tell his own story and to introduce a captivating program of classical music on the banjo. On stage, John is surrounded by three banjos and renders faithful and stunning transcriptions of Bach and his contemporaries. John also shares newly commissioned works, original compositions, and even a little Bluegrass. In this interactive program, John engages the audience and invites them to reflect on their own hero’s journey in life and in music.

Duo Program, “Baroque with Pluck” –  suitable for all ages

In this duo program, John is joined by Markus Compton on piano. This artful program mines the rich character of Baroque masters, showcasing the earthy pluck of the banjo. The duo performs works from John’s recent CD recording Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art. Selections include Partita in E minor by G.P. Telemann, Sonata in G minor by J.S. Bach (BWV1030b) and Concerto in D minor by Alessandro Marcello. John also includes a set of his captivating solo banjo transcriptions

Quartet Program, “John Bullard and Friends” – suitable for all ages

Joined by Markus Compton on the keyboard, Tressa Gold on the violin, and Schuyler Slack on the cello; John Bullard and friends perform much of the material from his recent CD recording: Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art. Selections include Trio Sonata No. 8 in G minor by G.F. Handel and Concerto in D minor by Alessandro Marcello. Various configurations of the quartet are also featured for variety. John also includes a set of his captivating solo classical banjo transcriptions.

Technical Requirements

Electrical Outlet within 15ft of the stage. Freshly tuned grand piano for Duo or Quartet configuration. One or three armless chairs depending on the configuration.

Educational Programs

School Program by John Bullard–  suitable for Middle School Students and up 

Using ingredients from his solo program “Bach, Banjos and the Hero’s Journey”, John Bullard sparks the quest for inspiration. Highlighting his unique musical journey, John shows younger audiences how to find purpose and meaning in life’s obstacles – inviting them to discover their own hero’s journey in life and music. 


Fees – negotiable per program option – contact John Bullard


  • All Ages
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