Born in West Virginia, Ronn McFarlane spent his youth in the neighboring state of Maryland, where he developed an interest in music at an early age. As a teenager, he taught himself to play on what he calls a “cranky sixteen dollar steel string guitar.” He went on to develop his talent, combining blues and rock music on the electric guitar with studies on the classical guitar. He graduated with honors from Shenandoah Conservatory and continued studies at Peabody Conservatory before turning his full attention and energy to the lute in 1978. The following year, Mr. McFarlane started performing solo recitals on the lute and became a member of the Baltimore Consort. Since that time, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with the Baltimore Consort and as a soloist.
Mr. McFarlane was a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory from 1984 to 1995, teaching lute and lute-related subjects. In 1996, Mr. McFarlane was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Shenandoah Conservatory for his achievements in bringing the lute and its music to the world. He has numerous recordings on the Dorian label, including solo lute recordings, lute song recordings with Julianne Baird (soprano) and Frederick Urrey (tenor), CDs with the Baltimore Consort and ballad recordings with Custer LaRue and members of the Baltimore Consort.
Recently, Ronn McFarlane has been engaged in composing new music for the lute, building on the tradition of the lutenist performer-composers of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This new music is the focus of his recently released solo CD, Indigo Road.