Home » Jazz Musicians » Brian Prunka

Brian Prunka

Brian Prunka emigrated to New York from the tiny nation-state of New Orleans in the year twenty-aught-three. He had spent the previous decade honing his musical skills in the Home Of Jazz and ingesting what he could of the local culture. Originally from Newtown, CT, Brian grew up in the cultural wasteland of Miami, FL during its well known "Vice" era. Equally proficient on both guitar and oud, Brian composes and performs jazz and middle-eastern influenced music with his own projects (such as the Near East River Ensemble) and with musicians such as Michael Bates and Simon Shaheen. Brian returned to New Orleans in 2008 to teach jazz guitar at Loyola University and to pursue various music projects with Simon Lott, Michael Jenner, Tim Green, and Helen Gillet among others. In 2009, he moved back to New York. He currently performs with Nashaz, The New York Arabic Orchestra, Simon Shaheen and others.


New York City Department of Cultural Affairs/Brooklyn Arts Council Grant, 2008


Guitars: Gibson ES165, D'Angelico EX-DC, Gibson L4ces, Prisloe/Pavan TP-20, quarter-tone modified Fender Strat.
Ouds: 1924 Shukri al-Mulki (Syria), 1998 Viken Najarian, 1932 Nahat modified by Najib Shaheen.
Buzuq: 2007 Ibrahim Sukkar (Syria)


Take Five With...

Take Five With Brian Prunka

Read "Take Five With Brian Prunka" reviewed by Brian Prunka

Meet Brian Prunka:Prior to moving to Brooklyn in 2003, Brian was living and performing in New Orleans, where he spent his formative years honing his musical skills while being immersed in the jazz community. Although his background was in jazz, rock and blues, Brian has always found himself drawn to a wide range of music without regard to boundaries. In the late '90s, fate introduced him to the oud, and he had an instant and profound connection with ...

Read more articles


Oud Awakening: Nashaz Furthers the Tradition of Blending of Jazz and Arabic Music

Oud Awakening: Nashaz Furthers the Tradition of Blending of Jazz and Arabic Music

Source: rock paper scissors, inc.

A puzzling and intriguing challenge from an Egyptian cab driver in New Orleans inspires an impulse purchase of an alluring album in a used CD store. The album inspires a search for a difficult to find instrument, which in turn takes a jazz player to a radically different approach. This unlikely turn of events ultimately led jazz guitarist Brian Prunka to switch gears, obsessively learn as much about Arabic music as he possibly can, and begin down two paths: a ...

"a graceful union of instruments, gorgeous harmonies and colors . . . written descriptions won't do the music justice" �"Dave Madden (Splendid Ezine) "an eclectic and adventurous composer"�"Dindi Soutine (Where Y'at Magazine) "a gifted player and composer"�"Steve Masakowski
Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


Former jazz guitar instructor at Loyola University, Brian is accepting beginning to advanced students on guitar and oud.

B.M. Loyola University 1997
M.M. University of New Orleans 2001
Arabic Arts Institute Arabic Music Retreat: Summer 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2011
Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, 2006
Studied jazz with Steve Masakowski, Ed Petersen, Michael Pellera, Johnny Vidacovich
Studied oud and Arabic music with Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Ali Jihad Racy, Najib Shaheen

Teaching Experience:
Adjunct Professor, Loyola University, F2008-S2009
Teaches jazz guitar, jazz combo
Adjunct Professor, Delgado Community College, S2001-S2003
Taught music theory, jazz guitar, group guitar, jazz theory, music appreciation

Clinic/Workshop Information

Read more



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced


In Praise Of Shadows

Skylight Music



From: In Praise Of Shadows
By Brian Prunka



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.