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)
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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
Willing to teach
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
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