My Story

Michael Coppola began playing guitar at the age of eleven. His musical foundation, which began with instruction from guitarist Ritchie Lengel, was further developed through the combination of classical fingerstyle studies and lessons with jazz artist Sal Salvador. He pursued his education at the Boston Conservatory of Music and soon after in Austria, at Die Hochschule Fuer Music, where he studied serial and atonal composition with Guenther Kahowitz. He followed up this instruction later, in Manhattan, with jazz master Walter Bishop Jr.

In 1980 Michael won 1st place in the Ovation Guitar Company’s national competition. He released his Jet Blue recording in 1987. The album, which received international attention, is a collection of jazz standards and originals all played on unaccompanied nylon string guitar.

Playing in a trio with master pianist John Mehegan inspired Coppola to overstep the technical boundaries of the guitar. In an attempt to achieve those same tightly-voiced chords and pedaled legato phrases used by contemporary jazz keyboardists, he created the concept of the 8 string guitar. This original design, which Coppola commissioned from Luthier James DeCava, requires inner, rather than extra bass or treble side strings. In 1997 Michael recorded “Virtuoso Too” on his new instrument.

In 2000 Michael Coppola expanded his own idea to incorporate a 9th string. This guitar, also built by Luthier James DeCava, is known in jazz guitar circles as The Hydra. On this instrument, Michael has recorded several more albums. Reviews of Coppola’s work are filled with descriptions such as: “unique,” “different,” “mindboggling,” “magical,” and “inventive”. Michael Coppola’s album Return Of The Hydra was chosen as a top ten pick for the year 2002 in Coda Magazine. His original composition “Movin”, released on the New Impressions album, was a runner up in the 2002 John Lennon Song Competition. Reviews and articles about his work have appeared in numerous magazines including: Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar, 20th Century Guitar, and Fingerstyle Guitar.

In July of 2004, Michael attended the CAAS festival in Nashville, TN, and began incorporating the music styles of Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, and Albert Lee into his own unique style. This blend of style was well received and he has, since then, returned as a performer several times.

Currently, Michael performs at national guitar shows, NAMM, festivals, and concerts as well as smaller venues in New England. A few performances of note include: the Montreal Jazz Festival 2011, the Blue Note NYC 2012, the Iridium ( as a guest of Les Paul), and the National Guitar Museum, playing in duos with Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins, Howard Alden, Stephen Bennett and other top guitarists in the country.

Michael was listed as a main entry in acclaimed jazz critic Scott Yanow’s 2013 book  “The Great Jazz Guitarists  (The Ultimate Guide)”, alongside masters such as Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, etc.