Sten Hostfalt

Sten Hostfalt

Instrument: Guitar | Location: New York City

Sten Hostfalt is a leading innovative guitarist and composer working on the New York music scene of today. He performs with some of the most original and unique voices in modern music and has been called 'highly exceptional' by legendary American music icon Jimmy Giuffre and 'virtuosic' by musical innovator Joe Maneri.

—Jon Damian, Fresh Music: Explorations with The Creative Workshop Ensemble For Musicians, Artists and Teachers

Updated: August 19, 2022

Born: December 14, 1962

Manifested in a four-decade innovative commitment to music, via exploration of the parameter of pitch, and self-invented instrumental techniques, contributing to the expansion of the vocabulary of the guitar, and to music of our time. Sten Höstfält (Hearst-felt) is a leading innovative guitarist and composer working on the New York music scene of today. He performs with some of the most original, unique voices in modern music, and has been called highly exceptional by legendary icon of American Music Jimmy Giuffre, and virtuosic by musical innovator Joe Maneri (Jon Damian, Fresh Music, 2015). His music has been labeled genuinely innovative, predicted as groundbreaking in the future (Jazz Review, 2005), and among the most riveting explorations of the microtonal world ever recorded (Signal to Noise, 2005).

This year, Hostfalt celebrates two decades of performances/recordings of original microtonal music since the 2002 recording of 29 Pieces for The Microtonal Guitar Live at Knitting Factory New York, an album critically regarded a seminal work for microtonal music in the improvised idiom. Documented by a re-release of 29 Pieces, along with 'Transformations' featuring compositions commissioned for a 2014 solo concert at the XXXV Encontre Internacional Compositors, at Pilar i Joan Miro' Palma de Mallorca. As well as a 2018 duo recording with Italian avant-garde trumpet player Johnny Lapio, and the compilation Microtonal Works Vol.1. All released on Sonus Rex.

Sten Höstfält was introduced on the New York jazz scene through early 1990's Berklee College of Music facilitated apprenticeships in orchestras led by Herb Pomeroy and Phil Wilson. Via Performances and collaborations with mentors Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley, the latter of whom initiated Hostfalt's debut recording as a leader. And concerts with masters of Jazz Gary Burton, Peter Erskine, Clare Fischer, Rob McConnell, and Bobby Shew. As well as, as one of the 'brilliant soloists' (David R. Adler, All Music Guide, 1995) in 'one of the better continuing experiments in New York', (Peter Watrous, NY Times, 1995), the first edition of Guillermo Klein's ensemble. In which he appeared with Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, Melvin Butler, Aaron Goldberg and Jeff Ballard weekly at the since influential Jazz Club, Smalls, during the inception of the venue, and on Klein's 'frenzied, passionate, interesting and finely executed' (Marcela Breton, Jazz Times 1997) album for Candid records 'El Minotauro'.

Initially self-taught as a musician and composer, Luleå-born, Swedish-American Hostfalt's early musical experiences combined non-formal and formal formats through activity on the 1980's Scandinavian Progressive/New Wave scene, in parallel with classical guitar studies. Hearing finger-style nine-string blues guitar legend Big Joe Williams solo live, and participating in a workshop with Jazz piano master Horace Parlan. As well as work as a street musician in Copenhagen and Paris was followed by a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and membership in the institutions legendary 'Recording Band' led by Herb Pomeroy.

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'The total immersion of a miniverse of finely etched detail taken to glorious extremes, 29 Pieces for The Microtonal Guitar is among the most riveting explorations of the microtonal world ever recorded. It's fine focus and beauty of detail puts the cycle in a class with John Cage's exquisite 'Sonatas and Preludes for Prepared Piano' - Larry Cosentino, SIGNAL TO NOISE MAGAZINE Genuinely Innovative-May Be Considered Groundbreaking Don Williamson JAZZ REVIEW Inimitable PM NYC / PAPER MAGAZINE Impressive, Intense TIME OUT NY Sten Hostfalt Takes The More Rigid Confines Of The Guitar and Transforms it, Showing Just How Far an Instrument Can Be Bent and Altered to Meet a More Experimental and Adventurous Need - Taking You On A Journey To A Place Where Anything is Possible John Kelman ALL ABOUT JAZZ Another Angle On Exploring Tone Colors That You Will Not Want To Miss Grego Applegate Edwards CADENCE MAGAZINE Highly Logical in A Completely Different Way JAZZ NOW Virtuosic For Sure Joe Maneri Highly Exceptional Jimmy Giuffre

Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Advanced only



Sten Hostfalt (b. Lulea, Sweden 1962) is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer and guitar virtuoso with over 30 years of documented activity alongside leading names in music worldwide. And a veteran music educator, teaching professionally since 1985.

A former faculty member of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and currently, since 2009, a faculty member of NY Jazz Academy, Mr. Hostfalt has served as an applied lessons instructor in Guitar, Bass, Piano, and Electronic Music at Columbia University's Teachers College, and via the Office of Continuing Education at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York*. Disclaimer: Sten Hostfalt's NYC Guitar Studio is not affiliated with Queensborough Community College, or The City University of New York.

He holds a Masters Degree in Music Education from Columbia University's Teacher's College, a Master of Music Degree in jazz Composition, and a Graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory, as an NEC honors emissary, as well as a Bachelor of Music Degree in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music with honors and as an Outstanding Musicianship Recipient.

With numerous students active as professional musicians and educators in their own right. Sten Hostfalt conducts his own New York City creative music studio, that while catering to students in a wide variety of styles and on all levels of proficiency ages 9 and up, also is one of few facilities anywhere offering systematic studies of the application and interpretation of microtonal music.

Sten's Guitar Studio (formerly NYC Guitar Studio),
6072 Madison Street Apt 5K
Ridgewood NY 11385
email: sten[AT]stensguitarstudio[DOT]com
phone: (1) 347-546-0092


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Paul Bley
Eric Dolphy
Jimmy Giuffre
Joe Maneri