Jennifer Trowbridge has enjoyed a 20-year career in guitar performance spanning classical music, jazz, world music, and a range of popular styles which has put her on stages in Chicago, New York, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and elsewhere.
She began playing the banjo-ukulele at age three and the guitar at age four under the tutelage of her father, a bandleader and multi-instrumentalist who led his own Detroit-based jazz orchestra in the 1950s. Her passion for working with singers began with her grandmother, a mezzo-soprano who studied voice, opera, and piano in New York and Rome in the 1930s.
Trowbridge's guitar playing embraces many styles of music, and her diverse solo repertoire spans from the sixteenth century to the present with an emphasis on Spanish and Brazilian music. Trowbridge's recent performance with tenor Bernard Holcomb (Lyric Opera of Chicago) was aired on Chicago's WFMT.
Other recent collaborations include playing electric guitar with Chicago Opera Vanguard's The Suitcase Opera at Pritzker Pavilion, drum set with Chicago Tap Theater at the Atheneum Theater, and classical guitar with soprano Chelsea Morris in a series of intimate salon concerts. Although guitar is her primary instrument, she also plays drums, percussion, electric bass, flute, clarinet, and banjo, performing on all of them over the years with a variety of actors, poets, dancers, puppeteers, and singers.
She composed music for the award-winning documentary film, The Pantanal: Brazil's Forgotten Wilderness, televised on PBS, and has been the recipient of several grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Trowbridge received her bachelor's degree in music from the University of Chicago and her doctorate in guitar performance from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, studying with Anne Waller. She has performed in master classes with world-renowned guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, Denis Azabagic, Manuel Barrueco, Oscar Ghiglia, Sharon Isbin, and David Russell.
A dedicated teacher, she founded The Trowbridge Guitar Studio in 1996. She also taught guitar history and jazz improvisation at the Chicago High School for the Arts. She led the guitar department at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Camp in Michigan from 2013 to 2015. She recently opened Trowbridge Music in Oakland, California, and offers many different classes and private lessons.
Dr. Trowbridge's recent scholarship focuses on classical and avant-garde composers and performers who used Beatles songs to promote "serious" music in the 1960s and 1970s. She has presented her research at major academic conferences around the country.