Nik Gruber serves on the Concordia College faculty as an instructor of jazz guitar. Each semester he teaches guitar students the basic tools necessary for improvising and accompanying in the jazz style. He has taught guitar since the age of 14, and has previously taught guitar and jazz studies at Ohio University and Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids, IA). He resides in Moorhead, where he is also the owner/operator of Gruber Guitars (gruberguitars.com). Gruber Guitars specializes in the repair and restoration of stringed instruments, as well as the construction of custom built guitars.
As a performer Gruber has played from coast to coast. Equally comfortable playing jazz, funk, rock, or country, Nik has lent his talents to dozens of ensembles in the last 15 years. He has performed with many well-known jazz artists including Joe Lovano, Anthony Cox, Bennie Wallace, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Kenny Wheeler, and Roland Guerin. Gruber is a founding member of the University of Iowa Guitar Ensemble. He is featured on eight recordings, including BBQ Guitar (1998), Standard AIR (2004), Polariscope with Israel Neuman (2005), Friends with Benefits (2006), Bare Essentials with New Beat Society (2007), and Polutropos with Robert Domsic (2008). He currently performs throughout the Midwest as a solo guitarist, as a duo with Russell Peterson, and with his own trio. Gruber hopes to release his first album of original solo guitar compositions in March 2012.
Gruber holds degrees in Anthropology (B.A. 2003) and Jazz Studies (M.A. 2006) from the University of Iowa. He has performed at clinics with jazz artists such as Stefon Harris, Charlie Hunter, Steven Bernstein, David Binney, Ben Allison, Matt Wilson, Larry Goldings, Ron Miles, Corey Christiansen, and Jamey Aebersold.