[ ~ full biography below photograph ~ ]

Sean is a musical Artist and guitarist-for-hire living in New York City.  He composes music for solo guitar and for small ensembles, and supports many singers, musicians, and theatrical productions.

photo by takarazzi

“…gives full expression to the mood of the moment.” -Stephen Holden, New York Times

“…a technical virtuoso who’s Joe Pass / Tommy Emmanuel fingerstyle approach is always in service to telling a story or creating a feeling within the song; [Harkness] transcends many genres and can touch listeners of many backgrounds.” -Jazz Inside New York

“Harkness is a wonderfully inventive accompanist who also sparkles during his solo interludes. He sounds at times like a one-man orchestra.” – Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz

As a solo artist with six CDs, Harkness’s music is on Windham Hill Records [Sony/RCA/BMG] and a list of independents. He has also scored music for television, including World’s Strongest Man, ESPN, NASCAR and ABC Sports.

Sean Harkness left Burlington, VT for New York City in 1994 to immerse himself in their music scene. Known especially for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway, television, and screen, Harkness is now a first-call guitarist who compliments an exhaustive client list of artists and productions worldwide. Sean performs extensively both as a solo artist and sideman in New York’s finest jazz, rock, folk, cabaret, blues, R&B, and singer/songwriter venues.

Sean’s first guitar arrived on his eleventh birthday. Within six months, he had a weekly theater engagement in Bridgeport, CT. After high school bands and studies with Brian Keane and Sal Salvador [Stan Kenton Band], Harkness studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. After a year of busking the streets of Europe, Harkness moved to Vermont where for five years he worked in the shop assisting master guitar builder Chip Wilson.

After hearing Sean perform Randall B. Plourde invited him to study guitar technique. Randall helped Harkness develop a signature touch on the instrument that caught the ears of Windham Hill Records and other producers.

At home in New York City, Harkness recently garnered the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, then three MAC Awards [Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets] for ensemble instrumentalist, his solo shows, and most recent CD with duo partner, Canadian trumpeter Mike Herriot. Walden Guitars featured Harkness on the covers of their 2011 and 2012 catalogs, and Cabaret Scenes Magazine ran a cover/feature article about him in their 2012 Nov/Dec issue. Sean is also a product endorser for DR Handmade Strings, George L.’s Cables, and D-Tar Pickup Systems.

Promo video: http://vimeo.com/98289320

m 1.917.805.9230            sean@seanharkness.com http://seanharkness.com

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More details:

At home in New York City, guitarist Sean Harkness recently garnered both the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, and three MAC Awards [Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets] for his New York solo shows, CD with Mike Herriott, and Ensemble Instrumentalist skills.

In addition to featuring Sean on the cover of their 2011 product catalog, Walden Guitars released both a Sean Harkness Signature 12-string guitar in Europe, Asia, and North America, and a brand new B-1 Baritone Acoustic guitar.

Along with numerous duets, compilations, TV, and film soundtracks, Mr. Harkness now has eight commercial artist releases:

Each year Sean performs in concert halls around the country with other Windham Hill artists such as Liz Story, Will Ackerman, Barbara Higbie, Jim Brickman, Tuck & Patti, David Arkenstone, and Samite.

Mr. Harkness is a first-call guitarist who compliments an exhaustive client list [see below] of artists, instrumentalists, Broadway productions, and corporations nationally and internationally.  He is the go-to guitarist for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway and television such as Alison FraserSusan Egan and Carole Demas.  Sean can be seen at Iridium Jazz Club on Broadway in Times Square with Terese Genecco and her Little Big Band on the last Tuesday of every month.

Sean has appeared as an artist and sideman extensively in New York’s finest jazz venues including the Blue Note, Smoke, Small’s, the Jazz Standard, Birdland, Iridium, Feinstein’s, Edison Ballroom, Mile’s Café, the Metropolitan Room, St. Nick’s, and Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller Center.

Mr. Harkness also appears regularly in any of New York’s folk and rock singer/songwriter clubs such as the Cutting Room, Joe’s Pub, Bitter End, Mercury Lounge, Rockwood Music Hall, the Living Room, Bowery Poetry Club, P&G, and Shrine.

Sean was the guitarist in Contemporary Jewish icon Debbie Friedman’s band until her untimely passing in 2011.  He continues to perform regularly with Craig Taubman and Josh Nelson in major congregations nationally.

Mr. Harkness also provides a House Concert Series for personalized, private, in-home, concert-like performances.  The up-close intimacy brings a unique impact to each event.

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Sean Harkness’ first guitar arrived on his eleventh birthday.  Within six months, he had a weekly theater engagement in Bridgeport, CT.  High School bands, studies with Stan Kenton Band’s guitarist Sal Salvador, Berklee College of Music, ‘busking’ in Europe, Vermont’s Green Mountains, 5 years assisting master guitar builder Chip Wilson, extensive world travel, and NYC’s vast music scene have all contributed to forming the seasoned professional Sean is today.

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Productions: Performances:
  • Alhambra Café with Megs Booker, Shem Guibbory, Diane Phelan, Mel Johnson, Bob Stillman, Jim Lowe, Robert Levin
  • AMAS Musical Theatre 40th Anniversary Concert with Dionne Warwick & Leslie Uggams
  • Dorian Gray with Bill Castellino and Ian Herman
  • DoubleTime with Nile Rogers, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Doug Oberhamer
  • Easter Bonnet 1995
  • 2010 NYMF favorite “I Got Fired”
  • Jimmy Awards – NHSMTA w/Kathy Lee Gifford and Tommy Tune
  • Lion King on Broadway sub guitarist
  • Little Death with Karen Kohler
  • Magpie with William Gary Friedman and AMAS
  • Matthew Passion with Phil Hall
  • Mel & El at ARS NOVA
  • Our Time at the Cherry Lane Theatre
  • Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Annual Gala 2009, 20010, and 2011 with Doug Oberhamer
  • Sheba with Bill Castellino and Christopher McGovern
  • Southern Rain with Lina koutrakos, Dan Gross, Karen Mason, Lennie Watts, etc.
  • Stewart F. Lane’s A Moment In Time with TV stars Drake Bell and Lyndsay Pearce of Glee Project, Robert Cuccioli, and Liz Larsen
  • Swing! with Lynne Taylor Corbett and Doug Oberhamer, 2x int’l tours
  • The Day It Rained Forever with William Whitefield
  • The Me Nobody Knows with William Gary Friedman and AMAS
  • Three Penny Opera in Prospect Park w/? [1995]
  • Wanda’s World with Lynne Taylor Corbett and Doug Oberhamer


  • Artist on Windham Hill Records [Sony /RCA/BMG] with one full length CD and sixteen releases on compilations
  • National Performing Arts Center tours, radio promotions with Windham Hill Records
  • Musical Coordinator – Windham Hill’s 30th Anniversary Concert [14 top artists, 3 stages] at Villa Montalvo in Napa Valley, CA
  • Walden Guitars endorser, including signature 12-string and co-design of their best selling Supra Natura G1070ce.  Sean is on the cover of their 2011 catalogue.
  • Numerous ‘library’ recordings for sports TV clients such as CBS, MSNBC, NASCAR, etc
  • ‘Goy For Hire’ – regular guitarist and bassist for Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Sam Glaser, Josh Nelson
  • Musical Director for Jimmy Norman [singer/songwriter, ‘Time Is On My Side’, 30 years as Coasters frontman, mentor to Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley] with weekly shows in the Upper West Side and frequent events for the Jazz Foundation of America.
  • Musical Director for projects at KMA: The Writer’s Studio in the Brill Building, Times Square
  • Brand new recording ‘Harkness Knight’ featuring the guitar/sax duo with Eric Knight
  • Brand new recording ‘Harkness Herriott’ with Canadian trumpeter Mike Herriott
  • Guitarist in House Band for ‘Chicago Blues ‘ night club first year in New York, 1994-5
  • 12 trips to Japan and Okinawa so far for shows and recordings
  • Various readings, workshops, and showcases for new theater
  • Once did a duet with fab reedist Amy Platt sitting in the green Astroturf of the apple stand at a D’agostino’s supermarket holiday campaign. Really.

photo: Kvon









photo: Bill Bernstein


Al DiMarco
Alex Rybeck
Alison Fraser
Amy Douglas
Angels of Venice
Anne Steele: Strings Attached
Anne’s Band @ Club Metronome
Annie Kozuch
Anthony Wellington
Barbara Higbie
Bill Whitefield
Billy Stritch
Bob Stillman
Bobby Sherman
Bria Skonberg
Brian Camelio
Broadway Underground
Carole Demas
Casey Rankin [Tokyo]
Chad Hollister
Chad Watson
Chikara Tsuzuki [Tokyo]
Chip Wilson
Christine Lavin
Christopher McGovern
Collen McHugh
Craig Taubman
Cynthia Crane
Danielle Bitton
Danielle Grabianowski
Danny Leary
Daryl Glen
David Arkenstone
David Budway
David Goldman
David Ralston [Okinawa]
Dawn Derow
Deb Berman
Debbie Friedman
Debra Pitkin
Diane Phelan
Dimitri Minucci
Doug Acosta
Doug Oberhamer
Eddie Jaques
Eli Brueggemann
Elizabeth Tryon
Eric Knight
Erich Kory
Essiett Okon Essiett
Everett Bradley
Flat Black
Freddie Simpson
Fro [Harold Davis]
Gamal Buhaina
Gary William Friedman
George Petit
George Tortorelli
Gerald Veasley
Grace Cosgrove
Gregory Generet
Ian Herman
Jack Donahue
Jack Phillips
Jason Marsalis
Jeff Haynes
Jess Domain
Jesse Moore
Jillian Lauraine
Jim Brickman
Jimmy Norman
Joanne Tatham
Joe Iconis
Joey Reynolds Show
John Kaprowski
John Pattitucci
Jonny Rose
Josh Nelson
Joshua Stedman
Julie Holtzman
Karen Kohler
Karen Mason
Karen Oberlin
Kate Dawson
Kathleen ‘Elin’ Melgarejo
Kathleen France
Kazu Minamizawa [Tokyo]
KJ Denhert
Keren Dere
Kristen Bussandri
Laurie Wells
Lennie Watts
Lisa Lynne Franco
Liz Lark Brown
Liz Story
Lori Fogler
Lorinda Lisitza
Marcus Simeone
Mark Miller
Mark Stuart Eckstein
Mark Winkler
Marya Grandy
Matt Jones
Meg Okura
Mel & El
Melissa Heche
Michael Case Kissel
Michael Winther
Michelle and Mychelle [Collier,Colleary]
Michelle Citrin
Mike Herriott [H2]
Miki Howard
Miki Howard
Mimi Jones
Monique Varsames
Natalie Douglas
Nate Buccieri
Nina Seigel
Noah Aronson
Patrick Pfeiffer’s PHX
Phil Aaberg
Phil Hall
Raissa Katona Bennett
Randie Shane
Rinken [Okinawa]
Ritt Henn
Rob Langeder
Ruth Aguilar
Sam Glaser
Shem Guibbory
Steve Doyle
Stevie Holland
Susan Egan
Suzanne Carrico
Sylvia Cuenca
Tamara Tunie
Tamela D’Amico
Tedd Firth
Terese Genecco
Todd Murray
Tracy Silverman
Tracy Stark
Tuck & Patti
Tycoon Dog
Wendy Starland
Will Ackerman
Will Lee
Yaron Gerchovsky
Zero Gravity
Aaron Ramey
Alison Fraser
Amy Platt
Andrew Maliskas
Brian Keane
Casey Rankin [Tokyo]
Chad Hollister
Chad Watson
Cherish The Ladies
Chip Wilson
Christopher McGovern
Dallas Johnson
Dan Pickering
David Goldman
Deb Berman
Dirt Mansion
Don Harris
Doug Oberhamer
Emedin Rivera
Eric Knight
Federico Gonzales Pena
Gary William Friedman
Georga Osborne
Gil Goldstein
Gilles Chiasson
Grace Cosgrove
Jason Nevins [remixes]
Jay Rowe
Jeff Haynes
Jeremiah Long
Jim Branca
Jimmy Norman
Joannie Madden
Joel Rosenblatt
John DePalma
Jon Eaton
Jonathan Mover
Jonny Rose
Joshua Stedman
Kate Dawson
Kathleen ‘Elin’ Melgarejo
Kei Ogura
Lisa Lynne Franco
Liz Story
Marcus Simeone
Marion Meadows
Mark Miller
Mark Walker
Michael Case Kissel
Michael Manring
Micheal Beatty
Mike Herriott
Monique Varsames
Noah Aronson
Pete Seegar
Phil Bowler
Raissa Katona Bennett
Rebecca Luker
Rev. Nathan Brady Crain
Ricky Lawson
Rudy Roberts
Sandra Reid
Scott Jacoby
Simon Phillips
Southern Rain
Stevie Holland
Steven Scales
Susan Craig Winsberg
Susan Egan
Suzanne Carrico
Terese Genecco
Thierry Arpino
Tracy Stark
Tuck & Patti
Val Ghent
Vivek Maddala
Wendy Starland
William Whitefield
Yomo Toro

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guitarist in New York City…and the world at large