Dana Starkell is a professional musician well recognized for his skills as a classical guitarist. Recent achievements include the GigMasters ‘Best of 2012-2014’ and ‘Top Guitarist 2011’ awards with over 180 Five-Star Reviews. Dana is based in the Midwest and performs throughout North America.
Dana has held concerts in Canada, USA, Trinidad, and Brazil and performed at a wide variety of venues: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Planetarium, Lyric Theatre, St. John’s Chapel – University of Manitoba, Centennial Concert Hall, Pantages Playhouse, and Orange Street Theatre. His creative works include “Fantastic Voyage” – a three CD set of Renaissance, Spanish, and Baroque masterpieces; a three-volume guitar method, and three classical guitar books. Dana’s CD’s and books are available through iTunes and at several online stores.
Although dedicated to self study, Dana has had significant help along the way. Private guitar lessons at age 10 and music theory with Gwendolyn Davies and Peter Klassen. Following high-school graduation, Dana embarked on a two-year canoe adventure with his father and brother. This trip led to numerous impromptu sessions with Latin-American guitarists and had a profound affect on Dana’s music. During a break in Trinidad, Dana was befriended by Philip Keiler, a student of famed New York guitarist, Alice Artz. This friendship prompted Dana’s first formal concert at The University of West Indies in Port of Spain and another in Belem, Brazil. After returning from South America, Dana competed against local university students and won the Senior Classical Guitar category of the Canadian held Manitoba Music Festival. Since then, Dana has attended master classes held by renowned guitarist Christopher Parkening, and taken lessons from John Sutherland, David Brandon, Norbert Kraft. Dana lists John Williams and Julian Bream as primary influences to his playing style and credits his long-time friend and guitar virtuoso Michael Daher for unlocking the secrets to many invaluable techniques.
The 1987 Guinness Book of Records recognized the two-year adventure Dana took with his father and brother as the longest canoe trip in history: 12,181 miles from Winnipeg, Canada to the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. The story is documented in the international best selling book “Paddle to the Amazon” which led to two national book tours and appearances on Larry King and the Today Show in New York. Dana overcame his asthma during the course of the journey and currently a major film and documentary are in the works.
Adventure and teaching have played a significant role in Dana’s life — keynote speaker, substitute music teacher, private guitar lessons, and songwriting residencies at over 100 schools in Canada and the US with the Artists in the Schools program. Today, Dana combines guitar performance and his Paddle to the Amazon presentation to entertain audiences. His message, “Believe in yourself and make your wildest dreams a reality!”