Gerken’s technical facility is obvious, his performances impeccable, and his tones gorgeous
– Barry Cleveland, guitarplayer.com.
San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Teja Gerken has enchanted audiences ever since coming onto the acoustic fingerstyle scene in the late 1990s. Initially influenced by guitarists such as John Renbourn, Michael Hedges, and Leo Kottke, Teja ultimately began weaving together his diverse musical interest into a style that is his own, releasing his debut album On My Way in 1999. In the two decades since, Teja has fine-tuned his sets to include original compositions, Celtic traditionals, classical pieces, jazz standards, and some favorite tunes by his fingerstyle guitar peers, several of which are included on 2005’s Postcards. Teja’s latest release is 2020’s Duets, a collaboration with fellow Bay Area guitarist Doug Young.
“Employing an impressive battery of artisan guitars, Teja and Doug produce a wonderful range of sonorities and musical directions that updates the classic chemistry of the “Bert & John” (Jansch & Renbourn) recordings of the sixties – a treat for fans of both acoustic guitar music and the art of lutherie.” – Alex de Grassi
Postcards is a very versatile album with varied skilled techniques, brilliant melody lines, appealing moods of a superb guitarist who knows to absorb a listener. – Bridge Guitar Reviews
Teja is at ease in performance settings ranging from intimate house concerts to cafes, clubs, concert halls, and festival stages. He has performed at many of the Bay Area’s top acoustic music venues, such as the Freight & Salvage, Great American Music Hall, Backroom, 142 Throckmorton Theater, and more. Venues that have hosted Teja outside of his home turf include SOhO in Santa Barbara, California, the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, New York, Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts the Argenta Acoustic Music series in Little Rock, Arkansas, Artenschutztheater in Berlin, Germany, Club Passage in Dresden, Germany, the A38 in Budapest, Hungary, L’Inoui, in Luxembourg, and many more. Teja has shared the stage with fellow guitarists including Alex de Grassi, Andy McKee, Peter Lang, Tim Sparks, Peter Finger, Muriel Anderson, Jacques Stotzem, and Eric Skye, has opened shows for John Renbourn, Adrian Legg, Kaki King, Adrian Belew and others. Teja has performed at taught at guitar festivals including the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, Winters Guitar Festival, Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration, and the Dresden Guitar Festival, and has participated in Germany’s International Guitar Night tour.
Teja’s compositions for music libraries is represented by BMG Production and Pollen Music, and his works have been used by clients including Adobe, Kelloggs, and Zyrtec. Teja has performed at San Francisco’s Dreamforce conference and other corporate events, and is available for private engagements.
Besides performing and recording, Teja has also written extensively about guitars, guitarists, and related subjects. He was a senior editor at Acoustic Guitar magazine from 1997 to 2013, and he has contributed to Guitar Player, Premier Guitar, Fretboard Journal, Akustik Gitarre, Gitarre & Bass, and other publications. In 2014, he co-founded Peghead Nation, an online e-leaning environment with video instruction for guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, bass, and dobro.
A Few Facts:
– Born in Essen, Germany, in 1970.
– Got his first guitar at the age of six and learned his first chords from his dad.
– First formal lessons at the Freies Musikzentrum München, in Munich, Germany.
– Moved to California in 1986.
– Lived in the guitar-making town of Paracho, Mexico, where he built a classical guitar.
– Private studies with George Quirin, Peter Greenwood, Jim Fletcher, Peppino D’Agostino, Jeff Massanari, and Duck Baker.
– Has managed a guitar shop (Tall Toad Music, in Petaluma, California).
– Was the Gear Editor, then Senior Editor for Acoustic Guitar magazine from 1997 – 2013.
– Wrote The Taylor Guitar Book, and has contributed to several other books.
– Has hosted two long-running monthly Acoustic Guitar Showcases at San Francisco’s Bazaar Cafe (2001 – 2013), and Fairfax’ Sleeping Lady (2009 – 2015).
– Is a former radio host/DJ for KUSF’s Guitar Journey’s program.
– Co-founded Peghead Nation in 2014, where he hosts the Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop, demos instruments, and is the company’s producer.
– Owns a lot of guitars, but you’re most-likely to see him with a Martin Custom Shop OM, a Lowden O10, a Taylor 355 12-string, a Kenny Hill classical, a Mario DeSio baritone, or a National Tricone.
Teja plays his composition “1948.”