B i o g r a p h y
It was Christmas of 1978 when Kirk got his first "real guitar." Typical first guitar: steel strings, high action, everything a growing boy needs.
Summers in college included tours in the US and Asia backing various groups, or playing solo in resorts in Door County, Wisconsin. He completed graduate school in 1992 at Shenandoah Conservatory, just outside of Washington, D.C.
After completing his masters degree, Kirk moved back to Wisconsin, teaching at various universities while playing concerts and casuals. In 1996, he moved to St. Louis, MO for a teaching opportunity, and has been in the area ever since.
Since the mid 80's, Kirk has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan as a soloist and ensemble member. In concert and on recordings these days, he is mainly heard with John McClellan as the internationally acclaimed Hanser-McClellan Guitar Duo.
Their recording,"La Vida Breve", was called "...passionate, beautiful...guitar playing at its highest order" by Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine (U.S.), while Classical Guitar Magazine in the U.K. delighted in the duo's "...sheer swagger & verve."
When playing in St. Louis, Kirk performs regularly as an on-call guitarist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Muny, St. Louis Opera Theater, as well as for weddings and corporate events.
As an instructor, Kirk has been recognized with several awards including Childbloom's Outstanding National Program of the Year (twice!) and National Teacher of the Year. Bella Corda, his student touring ensemble (ages 12-17) from the St. Louis Academy for Guitar was awarded first prize in a nationwide guitar ensemble contest in 2014.
Kirk serves on the music faculty for several colleges and universities, arranges music for events and publications, and acts as director for both the Childbloom Guitar Program and the St. Louis Academy for Guitar.
In 2014, Kirk Hanser and John McClellan were appointed to a teaching residency position at the Paris Conservatory, becoming the first guitar duo from outside of the conservatory to be given such an honor in the history of the school.
Kirk has given many other residencies and master classes in Europe and throughout the United States. In the winter and spring of 2016, Kirk and John gave a ten-school teaching residency throughout the city of St. Louis, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council, by special arrangement with the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society.
Since 2002, he has directed the Mid America Guitar Camp for young guitarists from around the U.S. These camps bring young guitarists in from all around the country to participate in this unique week-long guitar event.