Red Hot Strings 2023 workshop


photo taken May 2016 at Centrum’s ‘Vintage Jazz’ intensive. Third from the left on Matt Munisteri’s right, is our beloved friend John Morton, who was a fine musician and luthier, and an essential counsel in development of the program, suggesting Matt Munisteri, who agreed to Curate and coined the program ‘Red Hot Strings’. Lucky us!



From Hot Jazz to Western Swing, Rags to Beguines, we will be offering Red Hot in-person classroom instruction in guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin, violin, steel guitar, and bass at Fort Worden State Park. Some classes will be available for audit online.


Choice of four daily one-hour class sessions Thursday and Friday, two on Saturday. Ensembles practice in the late afternoons. Evenings’ artist faculty present special-topics and performances. Toward or on the weekend, ensembles perform and on Saturday evening, artist faculty present a public performance. Playing music together happens in between everything else.


Wednesday after dinner – orientation in the Wheeler Theater followed by introduction to and sign-up for the ensembles in Building 204

  • Thursday and Friday – four 1-hour class sessions
  • Thursday – Saturday – faculty led ensembles
  • Saturday – two 1-hour class sessions
  • Saturday – public performance artist faculty 
  • Every evening – faculty presentations and jams sessions.



There is no age or skill restriction however, to get the most out of the intensive, one should be familiar with your instrument and be able to move about at a good clip.


Scholarships are awarded on a first come first served and as needed basis.

Select the Scholarship registration type when you register.  

This workshop fills up quickly so don’t hesitate to sign up!


Scroll below to see the outstanding roster of artist faculty Artistic Curator Matt Munisteri has put together for 2023. Call or e-mail if you have any questions.  

Mary Hilts, Program Manager mhilts @ 360-385-3102 x 116


Red Hot Strings faculty Dennis Lichtman, Tyler Jackson and Matt Weiner at Fort Worden 2019


Artistic Curator, Matt Munisteri

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and Brooklyn native Matt Munisteri grew up with early interest in American folk music that led him from finger-style Country and Ragtime guitar, through Blues, to Tin Pan Alley and Jazz. His own compositions, and lauded guitar playing, accurately reflect this life-long immersion in the history of American Popular Song; linking rural and urban, long-gone with contemporary. As one of “New York’s finest vintage guitar stylists” (Downbeat Magazine), Matt is regularly called upon to play on a wide range of CDs, movie soundtracks, television shows, and commercials. He’s also worked with a wide range of artists in the studio and on the road. Over the past decade he’s worked regularly with violinist Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing, Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra, and the singer Catherine Russell, in whose trio he is the guitarist and music director. A sought-after accompanist, Matt has recorded with many of today’s most individual singers, including Holly Cole, Madeline Peyroux, Liz Wright, “Little” Jimmy Scott, Geoff Muldaur, Sasha Dobson, Catherine Russell, Kat Edmonson, and Loudon Wainwright. In addition to arranging for his own bands Matt has contributed arrangements to 5 of Catherine Russell’s CDs, and to Wainwright’s 2010 Grammy-winning CD “Hight Wide and Handsome – The Charlie Poole Project.” In 2014 he was a co-producer of his friend Julian Lage’s debut solo guitar CD “World’s Fair”. Matt has played every one of Carnegie’s Halls, but on the rare occasions that he’s not on the road, Sunday evenings find him crammed into a dim corner of a tiny watering hole on Manhattan’s lower west side, playing music with cherished musicians and friends as The EarRegulars.

Artist Faculty

Tyler Jackson

Tyler Jackson is a world renown tenor banjoist and upright bassist.  Under the tutelage of Buddy Griffin, Tyler quickly learned the ukulele, tenor banjo, and electric bass. Tyler went on to study the double bass at the University of North Texas under Lynn Seaton and began to fine-tune his skills as a professional bassist. During this period, he was asked to work for Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys. Touring with Price took him all over the world and to venues across North America including the Grand Ole Opry, Massy Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Gruene Hall, as well as the Stagecoach Festival, Austin City Limits Live and more. In 2007-09 Ray Price teamed up with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to form the highly successful “Last of the Breed” tour. Tyler worked with many well-known artists spanning genres including Earl Klugh, John McEuen, Randy Travis, Jim Cullum, and Dale Watson.


Jonathan Stout

Los Angeles-based guitarist and bandleader Jonathan Stout is well-known to swing dancers everywhere for the wonderful dance orchestra he leads, but any fan of swing guitar currently stalking the internet knows him for the beautiful touch he brings to relaxed swinging versions of standards played chord-melody style on an array of prized old archtop guitars. One of the few guitarists working today who harken back to the era when acoustic chord-melody giants roamed the earth, his recordings and Swing Guitar Blog have increased people’s awareness of past masters like Allan Reuss and George Van Eps. During the past year Jonathan has given fans a welcome relief from the pandemic doldrums through his regular “front porch practice sessions”.

Eva Scow

Eva Scow is an American mandolinist and violinist from Fresno, California. She began studying music at a young age, starting on the piano and violin at age 4, and later adding the mandolin at age 8. Growing up she played in Classical orchestras and bands, exploring different kinds of music from Bluegrass to Brazilian Jazz. She began playing professionally in high school, collaborating with different musicians/bands around the country.
At age 15 she recorded for mandolin pioneer David Grisman on his album ‘Tone Poets’. She was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2006 for a Young Artist Spotlight alongside bassist Edgar Meyer. She recorded her debut album with guitarist Dusty Brough entitled ‘Sharon by the Sea’ (Adventure Music) in 2007. The album features influences, from Flamenco, Jazz, and Brazilian folk music. That same year she also recorded with jazz guitarist Anthony Wilson for his album ‘Power of Nine’ (2007). Eva has performed at the International Festival du Mandoline in Lunel, France (2010). She toured alongside country pop duo Attwater, opening up shows for Willie Nelson (2011). Eva has opened concerts for artists Poncho Sanchez, Lee Ritenour, and JJ Cale. She has recorded on numerous projects, ranging in styles from R&B, Country, Pop, and Jazz. Eva also teaches string orchestra and jazz education at the middle school level in Fresno, CA. Eva is a member of the contemporary jazz quartet Espacio, and the progressive funk group The Experience. She continues to play in numerous groups across California as a side-person, equally at home in the classical, folk and jazz idioms.

Mikiya Matsuda

Mikiya Matsuda is a steel guitarist and sometimes string bassist living in San Francisco, CA. He is the leader of the Alcatraz Islanders, a swing-era Hawaiian group, and a regular sideman with various traditional jazz and western swing dance bands in the Bay Area. Mikiya graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in music, studied privately with steel guitarists John Ely and Alan Akaka, but mostly learned (and continues to learn) the instrument by listening and playing along with old western swing, country, Hawaiian, and mainland jazz recordings.

Dave Biller

Dave Biller has toured and recorded with Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson, and Deke Dickerson and is mostly known as a professional pedal steel player, but his record, Hot Guitars of Biller & Wakefield, captured the ears of music lovers everywhere. Like many guitarists of his age, Biller’s first heros’ were classic rock guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Clapton, and Hendrix, but jazz “became his religion” after discovering a ‘Best of Coltrane’ cassette in a clearance bin in an old record store. Dave Biller has a unique guitar style that takes influence from jazz heavyweights such as Barney Kessel and Howard Roberts, country pickers such as Roy Nichols and James Burton and the three Blues Kings; Freddie, Albert, and BB, but he says the guitarist which made the biggest impact on his playing was Django Reinhardt. Of Reinhardt, Biller said “In 1998 I saw the film footage of him for the first time and it changed my life in music forever. It was a pivotal moment and for the next 5 years I was hopelessly lost in the world of gypsy jazz.”


Don Stiernberg

Don Stiernberg has been a professional musician for nearly 50 years. Along the way he has been involved in performing, writing, recording, producing, and teaching but is best known for his mandolin playing. His path was set very early on as he grew up north of Chicago. Emulating his older brother, he experimented with playing various stringed instruments, finally landing on the mandolin. Things got serious when an ad played on the radio: “Study Mandolin with the great Jethro Burns”. At his first lesson he discovered what he wanted to do: play the mandolin, be a musician, and try to be as cool as Jethro Burns! Within a few short years he was playing professionally, first in a bluegrass band with his brother, later standing right next to his hero in The Jethro Burns Quartet. There was no turning back, and thanks to encouragement and mentorship from his family and hero he is still out there trying to achieve those early goals. Currently Don is regarded as a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, and a respected teacher. In June of 2020 his tenth recording project ”Straight Ahead” by The Don Stiernberg Quartet, was released and quickly garnered praise in The Chicago Tribune as one of the “Best Jazz Recordings of 2020”. There are four online instructional courses for mandolinists available at, and the book “Jazz Mandolin Appetizers” is available from Mel Bay. In person, Don teaches at mandolin-focused camps and events from coast to coast and abroad, and covers the same territory performing at clubs, festivals, and concert halls with his own group. On the horizon is more of the same: a dedicated pursuit of ‘the good notes” to share with audiences, listeners, and students.

Katie Shore

Like many fiddlers, Katie was inspired at a young age by her grandfather. At six years old she told her parents she wanted to “play music you can clap your hands and stomp your feet to”. Hailing from Fort Worth “Cowtown”, Texas, Katie grew up playing in a world of strong fiddle traditions, attending fiddle contests, music camps such as Mark O’Connor’s and Johnny Gimble’s, and with some classical training, was part of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. After receiving her Associates Degree in Commercial Music in 2008, Katie moved to Austin, Texas. In addition to becoming a luthier and teacher, Katie leads her own project and has performed and collaborated with musicians including The Jitterbug Vipers, Continental Graffiti, Ghosts Along the Brazos, Willie Nelson and George Strait. Inspired by many styles and cultures, Katie’s voice and fiddle have taken her around the country and abroad. Currently the female vocalist and fiddle player for 9-time Grammy Award winning band, Asleep at the Wheel, Katie looks forward to every new adventure and opportunity to play!



Jeremy Wakefield

Jeremy Wakefield is more like Speedy West fused with Jerry Byrd. And a little bit of Noel Boggs.” Those are the words used by Wayne Hancock to describe Jeremy Wakefield’s playing, and he isn’t far from the truth. Throw in a big dash of Joaquin Murphey and Jeremy’s own unique sensibilities and you’ve got one of the world’s best non-pedal steel guitarists. In the 30 years that Jeremy has been on the scene, he has played with and contributed to some of the finest Western Swing and Rockabilly music made this side of 1960. His credits include Wayne Hancock, Deke Dickerson, The Hot Club of Cowtown, The Horton Brothers, Biller and Wakefield, The Lucky Stars, Bonebrake Syncopators, Dave Stuckey and the Rhythm Gang, Smith’s Ranch Boys, Richard Cheese, and many others. Listen to any one of those recordings and you’ll hear that even at his earliest he had it together with a great touch beyond his years. He’s developed his playing today to a frighteningly articulate and fluid level, and he has a musicality that is natural and unpretentious. His 1999 recording with Dave Biller, The Hot Guitars of Biller & Wakefield, gave a taste of the influence that Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West left behind to a whole new generation of listeners. Not only did the record capture their great picking on a program of all original music, but also the joy and humor that embodies Hillbilly Jazz.