Still Handy with a Guitar at 92, Joe Negri Marks 45th Year Teaching at Duquesne University

The City Music Center at Duquesne University will pay tribute to Pittsburgh jazz guitar legend Joe Negri during this year's guitar and bass workshop. At 92, Negri-a fixture on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood-is marking his 45th year as an adjunct jazz guitar professor at the Mary Pappert School of Music, where he founded the jazz guitar department in 1973.

Complete with a special proclamation slated to be read in person by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Guitar Day with Joe Negri will honor the local icon on Saturday, July 21, and celebrate his decades of introducing thousands of children, students and others to jazz music.

The proclamation will kick off with a 1 p.m. master class taught by Negri in Room 322 of the music school that will cover technical mastery, stylistic coaching, improvisation, live performance and more.

The one-hour master class is open to the public and costs $5. Participants should register at by Friday, July 20. Attendees from the public are not required to bring an instrument nor are they required to play guitar. The master class is accessible to all interested in learning more about Negri's life and experience as a key contributor to the art of jazz guitar performance. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Guitarist Bill Purse, chair of contemporary music media and jazz at the music school, was one of Negri's first students in the jazz guitar department. "To hear Joe play today? He's really like a fine wine that just gets better and better. And Joe is probably one of the greatest technicians for teaching and pedagogy," said Purse, who succeeded Negri as chair of the program. "And Joe still has a certain amount of students that he wants to teach, and they all want to study with him!"

Considered an advocate for Pittsburgh area guitarists, Negri has taught hundreds of students one-on-one during his more than four decades at the School of Music. The Mt. Washington native began playing ukulele before he fell in love with the guitar at age 8; and by 16, he was touring with a top swing band. Negri, who also plays piano, bass, banjo and mandolin, also is a composer who has written several documentary film scores.

As a guitarist, Negri has appeared with renowned artists including Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, YoYo Ma, Itzhak Pearlman, John Williams, both Wynton and Branford Marsalis, and Michael Feinstein, who featured Negri on his 2010 album, Fly Me to the Moon.

Nearly 17 years after Mister Rogers' Neighborhood went off the air, Negri is still recognized around the country as "Handyman Negri," the lovable character he played for more than 35 years on the classic PBS kids show.

Guitar Day with Joe Negri Registration Information
Students entering eighth grade and up, as well as adults, can register now to attend Guitar Day with Joe Negri and walk-ins are welcome at the door. Guitar faculty from the Mary Pappert School of Music will join Purse and Negri as the camp's instructors. A complete schedule for Guitar Day with Joe Negri is available online. More information is available by calling the City Music Center at 412.396.6080.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

It's time for bigger goals
. Follow Duquesne University on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.