Originally from Denver, Colorado, Margaret Slovak is a guitarist, composer and painter. She began playing the guitar at age 11, composing at age 14 and performing professionally at age 16. Margaret studied jazz and classical music and visual art, receiving her BFA in Jazz (Magna Cum Laude) from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. She also attended the Kansas City Art Institute, University of Missouri Conservatory of Music and the Banff Centre Summer Jazz Workshop in Alberta, Canada, receiving several scholarships for her studies. Margaret’s teachers included John Abercrombie, Dale Bruning, Hadley Caliman, Jay Clayton, Jerry Granelli, Jim Knapp, Art Lande, Gary Peacock, Dave Peterson, Julian Priester, Peggy Stern, Don Thompson, Ralph Towner and Kenny Wheeler.
After graduating from the Cornish College of the Arts in 1986, Margaret returned to Denver for two years to study, compose and perform. In 1988 she moved to New York City, where she spent five years leading her own band and performing her original music. While in New York, Margaret had the opportunity to perform and/or record with Fred Hersch, Michael Formanek, Michael Sarin and Joel Weiskopf; she also produced two recordings of her original music and played with the Peruvian folk/jazz group Antara. Margaret toured through Germany in the fall of 1991. In 1993 she moved from NYC to Portland, Oregon; in 1994 and 1995 she toured through the Northwestern US and British Columbia, Canada with her quartet, which included drummer Bob Moses. Margaret performed in Germany and the Czech Republic in the fall of 1996; she has also played extensively throughout Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Texas and California. Margaret moved back to the New York City area in 2008. In 2012 she relocated to Austin, Texas, where she continues to perform and compose.
Since 1994, Margaret has played in a variety of healthcare settings. She has performed for hospital patients in ICU, oncology, neurology, orthopedic, emergency and trauma units; Margaret also played for veterans at the Bronx VA Hospital in NYC from 2009-2012. In addition, Margaret plays in chemotherapy infusions rooms, senior care centers, memory care units and for hospice patients. Margaret is also a painter, creating visual images which reflect her musical compositions; she often presents concerts at which her paintings are displayed on stage while she performs the corresponding musical pieces. Margaret’s original artwork also adorns her CD covers and inserts.
As a composer and guitarist, Margaret combines elements of jazz with classical and world music, creating a unique and highly personal musical style that is deeply expressive and transformative. Margaret’s first CD, Undying Hope (1998) features her solo guitar compositions. Her second CD, New Wings (2005) contains original solo and duet pieces. Her third CD, For the Moment (2007) features her original compositions for a jazz quartet which includes pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Sarin. Margaret’s fourth CD release, Ballad for Brad, highlights her original music for a jazz trio featuring Margaret on guitar, Harvie S on bass and Michael Sarin on drums. Margaret’s music has received national and international airplay, and excerpts have been utilized on NPR’s Morning Edition radio program. In addition, between 1995 - 2007, she was the recipient of twelve grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, OR for her music projects. Margaret is also included in Scott Yanow’s 2013 book The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide.