John Doan

Associate Professor of Music, Classical Guitar

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

Books — Edited and Authored

Doan, John. The Lost Music of Fernando Sor — Complete Works for Harpolyre Transcribed for Guitar. Tapestry Productions, 2017.

Released CDs

Doan, John. Into the Quiet. 2016. Audio Recording.


Doan, John. “In the Woods.” Performance at 9th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat. Salem, OR. June 2016.

Doan, John. “Sor to Doan.” Casa Della Zisa Concert Series. Portland, OR. October 2016.

Doan, John. “Christmas Unplugged — Reclaiming the Holiday Spirit.” Portland and Salem, OR. December 2016.

Doan, John. Performances in Oregon and Washington. Summer 2017.

Doan, John. “Christmas Unplugged.” Oregon and California. December 2017.