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Lily Guarneros Maase

Lily Guarneros Maase



Guitarist, composer, producer and musical director Lily Guarneros Maase was born in Corrales, New Mexico and educated at the University of North Texas and California Institute of the Arts, with 15 years of professional experience in New York between degrees. She is the daughter of seminal session guitarist and educator Steve Maase (1946-2016), whose roots in the industry date back to the era of Buddy Holly and the legendary Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, NM.

A student of the instrument since age seven, Lily is a product of the Mexican-American community that immersed her in all aspects of the oral tradition from the moment she was able to hold a guitar; she grew up accompanying Flamenco dancers, sitting next to her father in the control room of various recording studios, learning rock and roll by ear and discovering the tradition of Spanish guitar through guidance from John Truitt, the first educator to establish a formal high school guitar program in the United States. She is directly downstream from the rhythmic, stylistic and spiritual approaches to improvisation established by John McLaughlin, who lived alongside her father and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana in the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez, NM until she was born. She was introduced to the idea of modal improvisation and composing for odd meter at an early age, and discovered in her mid-20s that she has synesthesia, a visual response to tonal centers that lends her composition style a cinematic, landscape-driven quality.

After nearly fifteen years spent working in New York as a bandleader, educator and producer, the #metoo movement inspired Lily to return to her birthplace in order to speak safely about the challenges of being a freelance female musician in a male-dominated field. Her writing on the subject, “Playing While Female,” went viral to the highest levels of the music industry, was quoted in O Magazine, and has been the subject of multiple panel discussions within the worlds of jazz and academic music.

Lily is faculty of Guitar, Studio Practices & Experimental Pop at the California Institute of the Arts, and faculty of Guitar and Production at the Los Angeles College of Music. She runs an avant folk ensemble by the name Curandera, for which she composes, directs, plays and sings. She is also the guitarist, primary composer and bandleader with the Suite Unraveling (Tzadik), has a series of forthcoming duo albums scheduled for release on Infrequent Seams, is the creative director of Handmaid Music, and owns Guitar Dad Publications, which specializes in theory education materials for non music-readers. She maintains a busy home studio in upper Hollywood, holds extensive theater credits on both coasts, and is endorsed by Godin guitars.

Professional Experience

  • Off Broadway
  • Regional
  • Concerts/Cabaret
  • Education
  • TV/Film
  • Tours
  • Community Theatre
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree


  • LA/Southern California

Interested in touring?

  • Yes

Maestra Expertise

  • Theatrical Composer (Music and Lyrics)
  • Theatrical Composer (Music only)
  • Music Director/Conductor (Baton)
  • Music Assistant
  • Songwriter
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Orchestrator
  • Vocal Arranger
  • Incidental Music Composer/Arranger
  • Instrumentalist/Pit Musician
  • Music Copyist
  • Music Transcriber
  • Music Contractor/Coordinator
  • Sound Designer/Composer
  • Music Producer/Record Producer
  • Recording Studio Engineer
  • Live Sound Engineer
  • Classroom Music Teacher
  • Voice Teacher (Educational Institution)

Primary Instruments

  • Banjo
  • Bass - Double/Electric
  • Guitar - acoustic
  • Guitar - electric
  • Mandolin
  • Ukulele
  • Voice


  • Ableton
  • Finale
  • GarageBand
  • Logic
  • MainStage
  • Pro-Tools
  • Sibelius

Additional Skills

  • Actor-Musician
  • Singer/Performer
  • Film Scoring
  • Arts Administration
  • Home Studio Whiz


  • BMI
  • MUSE

Person of Color?

  • Yes