Orianthi Profile

Learn about the female guitarist in the Michael Jackson rehearsal videos

orianthi panagaris female guitarist michael jackson rehearsal
Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Since the final Michael Jackson "This Is It" rehearsal videos have been released, people have been talking about the female guitarist featured alongside Jackson. Her name is Orianthi Panagaris, and when those videos were shot, she was barely 24 years old.

Born in Adelaide, South Australia on January 22 1985, Orianthi started playing guitar at age six. When the guitarist was 11, she saw Carlos Santana play, and dedicated herself to the electric guitar. By 15, Orianthi had left school to concentrate on playing music full time. That same year Orianthi opened for Steve Vai, and by the time the guitarist was 18, she had shared a stage with Carlos Santana. Apparently, Santana was impressed - he's quoted as saying "If I was going to pass the baton to somebody, she would be my first choice."

Being a serious Santana fan, it's not surprising that Orianthi also chooses to play a Paul Reed Smith guitar. To learn more about her gear, read this overview of Orianthi's guitars from Love-orianthi.com.

If you're looking to see more footage of Orianthi in action, you're in luck... the guitarist has a YouTube account on which she posts clips of her playing, and even some short guitar tutorial videos.

Orianthi was understandably upset by Michael Jackson's death. The guitarist commented on her Twitter feed that "a huge part of music died today, such an incredible artist and person that has inspired so many and brought joy to so many peoples lives". If you want to hear more from Orianthi, you can subscribe to her Twitter feed.

If you're intrigued enough to want to learn more, Orianthi maintains a MySpace page where you can listen to and download the guitarist's music.