After several years touring North America John took the time to formally study his art. He took private lessons with various teachers and later majored in jazz at Capilano College, where he received a scholarship and graduated with top honours. In the guitar, John had found his instrument but he was still searching for his muse.
At age 26 he immersed himself in Flamenco guitar, inspired by the incredible sounds of Paco de Lucia, Vicente Amigo, Nino Josele and many others. John spent the next 6 years studying Flamenco, practicing 8 to 10 hours a day. The effort would pay off and the accolades would follow. In 1995, John won "Best Acoustic Guitar Performance" in the Music West Star Frets Competition. He won Vancouver's Unplugged Competition in 1996, in 1997 he became a finalist in Vancouver's Global Star Quest and in 2009 competed at the Montreal Jazz Festival winning the Grand Prize at the BOSS Loop Station 2009 Championship National Finals.
Like all great performers, John feeds off the energy of a live audience. The stage is where his heart soars and his music flows. As a 'guitar for hire', John would find his way onto the stage, performing for the Vancouver Playhouse, Michael Barabas, Radio Europe, Alyssa Nielsen, Gypsalero and opening for such notable artists as Cirque du Soleil, Mae Moore and acoustic guitar masters, Strunz and Farah.
perfect and passion makes magic.
In May of 1999 John released his own independent instrumental CD titled "Freedom". A showcase for his considerable guitar talents, Freedom embraced world beat musical elements of flamenco, Latin and Jazz. Above all, Freedom was recorded with the hope to share the peace, joy and excitement John feels when performing for audiences around the globe.
In 2002 John released his second CD called "Peace". Picking right up where Freedom left off, Peace forges further still down the path John has carved out for his music. Passionate and fiery flamenco guitars and beautiful melodies intertwine with exotic percussion, bass and drums. The 2002 West Coast Music Awards nominated Peace as "Best Instrumental Release - Non Classical".
In 2003 John released his 3rd CD titled Christmas, A wonderful collection of holiday classics played on flamenco guitars, accompanied by bass and percussion.
The corporate world has embraced John's music as well, through recent performances for prestigious clients like MasterCard, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Verizon, Lehman Brothers, Sun America. He's also had the distinction of playing for Canada's Head of State, Prime Minister, Jean Chretien.
John Gilliat continues to offer new direction and
contemporary expression to Flamenco, Nouveau Flamenco
and Flamenco Rumba, touring festivals and headlining
concerts with his quartet (bass, 2 guitars, and percussion).
He even finds time to perform regularly with Vancouver's
hot gypsy jazz club quartet, "Gypsalero".
(click on Gypsalero
to learn more about the group)
Now following four successful Japanese tours, including the first-ever concert on an open-air train, performing live on NHK Radio along with various other Japanese radio and television programs and playing Expo 2005 in Aichi. John has released his latest CD in Japan and Canada titled "Beyond Boundaries". The new CD continues to offer new direction and contemporary expression to Nouveau Flamenco, Flamenco Rumba and Jazz. Included in Beyond Boundaries is a very special composition titled "Onishi", created from the beautiful images, sounds and excitement John experienced during his performances at Fujiyama Koen Park in Onishi, Japan.