John Feeley is one of Ireland's foremost classical guitarists, and a teacher and editor of guitar music.
He has been described by The Washington Post as 'Ireland's leading classical guitarist' and by Michael Dervan in The Irish Times as "a trailblazer ... when it comes to the guitar and guitar-playing in Ireland".
Feeley was born in Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland. He started guitar playing in popular music, and at age 17 "was recognised as one of Europe's best electric guitarists" After graduating from Trinity College Dublin, with a first class degree in music, he moved to the USA to study with Oscar Ghiglia, Ángel Romero, and David Russell, completing a master's degree at Queens College, City University of New York. In the following years he taught at Memphis State University, Tennessee. He now teaches at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin. His past students include all current members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet, along with Redmond O'Toole, Michael O'Toole and Alec O'Leary, director of the Waltons Guitar Festival of Ireland. Composers Benjamin Dwyer, Ciarán Farrell, David Fennessy and David Flynn, all of whom have written music for Feeley, were also guitar students of his.
In 2006 Feeley completed a doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy in Music [Performance]) at Maynooth University, which involved a major thesis in three volumes with the title Classical Guitar Music by Irish Composers: Performing Editions and Critical Commentary.
Feeley is internationally renowned as a performer and teacher, with appearances at such festivals as the Guitar Festival of Ireland, Bath International Guitar Festival, the Dundee International Guitar Festival, and the Wirral International Guitar Festival. He has won numerous awards including the Special Award for interpretation in the 1984 Mauro Giuliani competition, Italy. He has appeared as a soloist with The American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Contempo Quartet. He performs regularly in duet with the flautist William Dowdall.
Feeley is an enthusiastic champion of contemporary Irish music and in this capacity has commissioned works from many of Ireland's leading composers including Seoirse Bodley, John Buckley, Jerome de Bromhead, Jane O'Leary, Brent Parker and Eric Sweeney. He also has a great interest in traditional Irish and Scottish music and in has recorded with The Chieftains and published his own arrangements of traditional melodies.