Boston-born Mike Stern first learned the piano, before taking on the guitar at age 12. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, the young musician kick-started his professional career at 22 by joining Blood, Sweat and Tears. Quickly becoming one of the most respected guitarists in the music industry, Stern was later invited to join the legendary Miles Davis onstage and in the studio, rubbing shoulders with the likes of David Sanborn, Michael Brecker and Jaco Pastorius. At the top of his art in 1985, the guitarist released a first album as a leader with Neesh. In 2007, Stern was part of the Festival's prestigious Invitation series and in 2009 recorded Big Neighborhood, featuring guests Esperanza Spalding, Steve Vai and Randy Brecker.