Winning guitarist plays in Grass Valley |

Winning guitarist plays in Grass Valley

“… one of the world’s best, and most versatile, guitar instrumentalists.”

– Chicago Tribune

Muriel Anderson is a premier fingerstyle guitarist who does everything from Bach minuets, Sousa marches, Spanish flamenco, The Beatles and beyond, to her own adventurous compositions, mixed with a gentle sense of humor. She is performing at at 8 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Center for the Arts.

Her trademark song is “Nola,” found on her CD “Hometown Live!” In a published interview, Anderson said, “I discovered ‘Nola’ when I was experimenting with bluegrass banjo … using a technique called cross-string fingering. The notes ring into each other with a harp-like, cascading sound.”

It is this type of extraordinary finger work that got Anderson the honor of becoming the first nylon-string guitarist, indeed the first female guitarist, to win the National Guitar Fingerpicking Championships in Winfield, Kan., in 1989 – a title which she still holds today.

Raised in a musical family from Illinois, Anderson studied classical guitar at DePaul University. She then went on to study with classical virtuoso Christopher Parkening and with Nashville legend, the late Chet Atkins. Atkins called her a good friend and a great guitarist. Anderson calls him a wonderful mentor.

“While I didn’t take formal lessons from him,” says the Nashville resident, “and my music is not all his style, I learned from him how to be open and share music. He would say, ‘Here’s a song you should learn for your gigs.'”

In this vein, Anderson does her share of helping out other musicians. Her yearly “Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night,” presented at Anaheim’s biggest convention of the year, NAMM (National Association of Music Mercantilers), has helped promote the careers of guitarists of all musical styles. This, the 14th year, saw both legendary and up-and-coming guitarists performing to a full house.

Her national charity, Music for Life Alliance, helps put musical instruments into the hands of underprivileged children. While the nearest chapter of this organization is in San Jose, Anderson suggests that anyone in Nevada County who wants to donate or apply for musical instruments go online at

Since the age of 6, she’s been doing her own composing. Recently, Muriel completed commissioned works for the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Vox Caelestis Womens Choir. She has released seven CDs in the United States and three in Japan, and two videos, and she has authored numerous articles and instructional books. A cassette of her popular “Heartstrings” actually traveled high over the earth on a space mission.

In order to hear clips of music, go online at, something she recommends, saying, “My show is something a lot of people haven’t experienced before, and I’m the only one doing what I do.”

That uniqueness extends to her instruments. Audience members at this concert will have a chance to see her play an unusual harp guitar, so named because it has seven extra base strings that fan out, “a fascinating instruments,” says Anderson.

Rex Richards opens for Anderson. He used to live in Nevada County and plays flamenco and classical guitar.

Tickets are available at The Center for the Arts or at on the Web. They are $15. For more information, call 274-8384.


WHAT: Muriel Anderson

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 5, 8 p.m.

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St., Grass Valley


INFORMATION: 274-8384; on Web at

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