Stephen Howland

Lecturer - Guitar, Jazz Guitar

Stephen Howland
  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Personal
  • Video

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Ear-training I/II


  • D.M.A., Arizona State University
  • M.M., Arizona State University
  • B.M., University of Idaho

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Jazz, Classical, and Contemporary Guitar Performance, Pedagogy, and History
  • Music Composition, Arranging, Theory, and Analysis


Applied lessons in Jazz and Classical Guitar, Co-direct the PLU Guitar Festival

Selected Articles

  • Howland, Stephen. "Life at the Crossroads Between Classical and Jazz." Guitar Soundings Vol. 54, No. 4, July/August 2013: 4.
  • Howland, Stephen. "David Russell Masterclass Review." Guitar Soundings Vol. 45, No. 3, May/June 2002: 6.
  • Howland, Stephen. "Masterclass Review: The Guitarist’s Gospel according to Pepe Romero." The Seattle Classic Guitar Society Datebook Vol. 30, No. 1, January/February 2001: 6.


Stephen Howland is a Lecturer at Pacific Lutheran University where he teaches jazz and classical guitar, co-directs the annual PLU Guitar Festival, and directs the PLU Guitar Festival Jazz Guitar Ensemble. He also has served as a temporary sabbatical replacement and taught ear training and jazz history at PLU. Born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington, Dr. Howland earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance from Arizona State University, Master of Music from ASU, and Bachelor of Music from the University of Idaho. He received the highest marks and many academic honors and awards, including a teaching assistantship at ASU, the Presser Award, and the Eleanor Mader Memorial String Award.

Dr. Howland has a diverse professional background as a guitarist, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, and educator. He has focused on performing original music, including regularly premiering new music at the PLU Guitar Festival since 2012. He has played with many of the great jazz improvisers of our region, including Clipper Anderson, Marco De Carvalho, Kyle Doran, Jared Hall, Brad Gibson, Mark Ivester, Adam Kessler, Kate Olson, Nate Omdal, Jason Parker, Gordy Ryan, Melyssa Stone, Cassio Vianna, among others. Howland has been a featured guitarist-composer in new music festivals and a concert artist and clinician at universities, colleges, and guitar societies throughout the West. He has been featured on recordings as a jazz soloist with big band, classical and early music chamber musician, solo guitarist in various styles, and writer and studio guitarist for independent artists and bands, including the Seattle based rock band Motopony. He has published numerous online sound and video recordings, including a string of guitar demos for Rosewood Guitar in recent years. He has written, arranged, and performed a diverse range of music for solo guitar and mixed ensembles. In 2021 Howland did a guitar orchestra arrangement of the song “Simple Gifts” for the Seattle Classic Guitar Society. Recent jazz guitar ensemble arrangements include works by John Coltrane, Angelo Debarre, Duke Ellington, and Artie Shaw. Since 2009 he has performed with PLU colleague Elizabeth Brown, presenting many of his own arrangements for two guitars, including pieces by Albéniz, Bach, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Turina. Howland completed his DMA research paper, Edward’s MacDowell’s “Woodland Sketches” Arranged for Guitar: A Performance Edition, Biography, and Literature Review, in 1998. For more information visit


  • Running: roads and trails, middle and long distances

Pacific Lutheran University Jazz faculty performing "Manhã de Carnaval" by Luiz Bonfá

Howland plays "Guajira Criolla” by Leo Brouwer