Dr. Brandon Bernstein is a musician, educator, entrepreneur and social activist. He's a published author and a TED speaker. Bernstein was a professor at USC, University of Louisville, Pasadena City College, Musicians Institute, Cypress College, and Chaffey College where he lectured undergraduate and graduate students since 2003. In 2013, his debut CD, But Beautiful, reached #7 on the jazz radio charts nationally. In 2015, Bernstein founded the social enterprise Music Lifeboat, following his passion to make high quality education more accessible.
Brandon Bernstein is establishing himself as a social activist and a jazz guitarist in Los Angeles. He was the director of jazz of the non-profit Street Symphony, a non-profit that brings high art music to disenfranchised communities from 2011-2019. (LA Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta, who is a close friend, founded street Symphony). Brandon presented at TEDx Skid Row 2013 and has given over 40 concerts to prisoners, homeless, terminally ill, assisted living, and veteran communities since 2012.
Brandon Bernstein began studying guitar at age 13 and developed an immediate passion for music. Soon after that, he had no doubt he would devote his life to playing the guitar. At the age of 18, Bernstein was awarded scholarships to continue his study of jazz at Berklee School of Music. He would later complete degrees at Concordia University (in Montreal, Canada), the University of Louisville, and the University of Southern California where he received a doctorate in Jazz Performance at 28 years old.
In 2013 Bernstein released his debut album 'But Beautiful' which reached #7 on the Jazz Charts nationally. Brandon Bernstein has been described as “…one of the most impressive young guitarists on the scene. Although he is only in his early thirties, Bernstein has begun to develop a very personal and unique sound." (Sid Jacobs)
“…one of the most gorgeous guitar sounds he has ever heard on record.” (Larry Koonse)
Bernstein regularly performs at venues throughout the L.A. including: The Blue Whale, Vitello’s, The Jazz Bakery, Steamers Jazz Club, Red White & Bluezz, and The Lighthouse—among many others. Bernstein also performs internationally including recent trips and festivals in South America, Europe, Asia, and Canada.
As a musician, Bernstein has performed with a variety of well-known artists including:Arturo Sandoval, Gary Foster, Putter Smith, Mundell Lowe, Howard Alden, Ben Monder, Joe Labarbera, Kendall Kay, Larry Koonse, John Stowell, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jimmy Wyble, Matt Otto, Greg Leisz, Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith, Mark Ferber, Eric Reed, Terrell Stafford, and Vic Juris. He studied with notable guitarists: Bruce Foreman, Ben Monder, Larry Koonse, and Roddy Ellias.
In 2003 Bernstein co-authored a book of Kurt Rosenwinkel transcriptions for Mel Bay Publishing Co. and is a regular contributor for Just Jazz Guitar magazine.
Brandon plays a Linda Manzer archtop and a Jeff Traugott Flat-top guitar. His amps are a Headstrong Lil King-S an AER. Brandon uses only Thomastik Infield Strings. He also is an endorsed artist for K&K pickup and BlueChip picks.
Brandon currently resides in Laguna Beach California.