Happy New Year, everyone! 2016 was a crazy year, to say the least. With the divisive presidential election, and the tremendous losses in the the world of film and music, here’s hoping 2017 is a better year for all of us. I know it’s hard to be optimistic in these troubled times, but I Joe Deninzon, am a stubborn, idealistic, optimistic dreamer, proudly so til my dying day!
On a personal level, I got to do some very cool things in 2016 for which I am grateful:
I ran the NYC Marathon for the first time, had some incredibly inspiring residencies at the Grand Canyon Music Festival, Highland School in Medina, OH, Sycamore HS in Cincinnatti, OH. Another great year teaching and playing at Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp. Unforgettable performances by Sweet Plantain in NYC, NJ, St. John, St. Thomas, Grand Canyon. Performances with Circuline at ROSfest. Stratospheerius Midwest tours and appearances in Maine, NY, NJ, Connecticut.
This year promises more touring with Sweet Plantain and Stratospheerius, more studio work, collaborations, residencies and teaching opportunities, and … (drumroll please), the release of the new STRATOSPHEERIUS CD (hopefully) in the fall. Stay tuned…
I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy 2017! Stand up for what you believe in, try to talk to people you may not necessarily agree with, communicate and spread love, and always seek inspiration and never lose hope.
In September of 2015, I played the world premier of my “Dream Diary: Concerto for Seven-String Electric Violin and Orchestra,” With theMuncie Symphony Orchestraunder the direction of maestro Douglas Droste. After a lengthy editing process and clearance from the orchestra’s management, I can now share this highlight reel of the concerto. I am working on getting the piece played by many different players and orchestras worldwide. Stay tuned for updates! If you would like to see/hear the whole 30-minute performance, please contact me.
Friday, February 24th, Joe Deninzon residency/performance with Sycamore HS Electric Ensemble in Blue Ash, OH.
For the third year in a row, I am psyched to return to Sycamore HS in Cincinnatti to rock out with the SEE1 band and perform music by Fallout Boy, Aerosmith, Heart, ACDC, Pink Floyd, Soundgarden, and Stratospheerius!
Friday, Feb 24th 7:30 P.M.
Sycamore High School
7400 Cornell Rd.
Montgomery, OH 45242
Saturday, March 4th. Joe Deninzon returns to ASTA conference
The ASTA (American String Teachers Association) conference is like the NAMM show for string geeks. I have been honored to be asked back for the sixth time to to a workshop there. This year, I will be demonstrating to string players how to read chord charts and lead sheets, a skill I feel is severely lacking among string players and greatly in need for all musicians!
My workshop will be on Saturday, March 4th at 8:15 AM
at David L Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA
I recently recorded a bunch of solo electric violin loop videos. Here are the first two finished edits: DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean,” and (in honor of his 75th birthday), Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba.”
Watch Highlights from the World Premiere of “Dream Diary: Concerto for Seven String Electric Violin and Orchestra.” Written and performed by Joe Deninzon. Muncie Symphony Orchestra conducted by Douglas Droste.
Hope you had a great summer! It’s been a truly stellar one for me filled with incredible experiences I will never forget! Highlights include my 6th return to teaching at the Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Campin Olathe, KS, truly one of the weeks I look forward to every year. I also got a chance to meet and perform with some amazing local musicians in Vail, CO in July, courtesy of Howard Stone and the Vail Jazz Society. Just this past week, I had a chance once again to perform with #TheBoss, Bruce Springsteenat Metlife Stadium, as part of an all-star string section which featured Todd Reynolds, Sam Bardfeld, Mazz Swift, Sarah Caswell, Rachel Golub, Janey Choi, and Joyce Hammann. Hearing the roar of 50,000 people when we hit the stage was an out-of-body experience, plus performing with an artist who I can cite among my top 5 biggest musical influences of all time! I am grateful for all these great moments, and looking forward to the cool stuff happening this fall.
I am writing this from my hotel room in Tusayan Village near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where I just finished teaching the 10th year of the Grand Canyon School of Rock program I co-founded in 2006, followed by another performance with renowned harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio and the guitar god Steve Benson.
For 17 years now, I have been coming back to one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, to take part in the Grand Canyon Music Festival. I started out just performing with its co-founder, world-renowned harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio. In 2006, my friend Chris Millateri and I had an idea to get the local community in Grand Canyon Village more connected to the festival. With the invaluable help of Rene Westbrook, who got the grants, The Grand Canyon School of Rock was born!
This is truly a passion project of mine. My partner guitarist Steve Benson, the local high school music teacher Bentley Monk, and I work with kids from Grand Canyon HS, many of whom are novice musicians, and put a band together in 3 days, culminating in two 45-minute performances at the end of the week.
Last year, my groupSweet Plantain made its festival debut, taking part in both the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the NACAP (Native American Composers Apprentice Program). This year we are honored to return. In addition to performing two concerts of our music, we will be traveling throughout the Navajo, Havasupai and Hopi reservations, where local kids spent time learning to write and notate music, and will be performing a free concert of their original works on Sunday September 4th. This program has been around for over a decade, is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and won the President’s Award for it’s success.
All concerts take place at the Shrine of the Ages on the South Rim, Grand Canyon Village. Here’s the schedule:
Alex Skolnickis a guitar legend, best known for his work with Testament in the early 90’s through today, plus his time with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and numerous other projects. I was fortunate to befriend Alex in the early 2000’s when I was teaching at the New School and he was there studying Jazz guitar. He played in Stratospheerius for 3 years and recorded on two of our albums: “The Adventures of Stratospheerius“ and “Live Wires“. It will be a thrill to share the stage with him again and open for his incredible band!
Sonic Voyage Fest’s purpose is to create a night of music that dazzles with virtuosity, ignites the senses, and pushes boundaries. Writes ProgSheet’s editor John A. Wilcox, “Sonic Voyage Fest was like General Tso’s chicken: spicy, filling, and I already want more!”
Here’s a project I worked on last year! I did most of the string arranging and playing, plus my dear friend the late great David Gotay plays a beautiful cello solo on “Dio Solitaire de la Notte.” The singer is Bella D and the music is intense, honest hard rock that tells an incredible story of what she overcame in recent years. Produced by drummer Charlie Zeleny. Check it out!
TILES is a renowned, Detroit-based progressive rock group, now in its second decade, which has toured with the likes of Dream Theater, and has done some shows with Stratospheerius. I am honored to be included on their new album, alongside such luminaries as Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, as well as Mike Portnoy! Look for some upcoming shows with both of our bands.
Jimmy Pitts is a composer/keyboard virtuoso out of Detroit. This is my second time as a guest on one of his albums, alongside legendary drummer Marco Minneman (Eddie Jobson, Joe Satriani, Buddy Rich, Paul Gilbert, Terry Bozzio). I play on the song “A Faint Beautiful Glow,” which closes out the album.
Circuline is a new prog band that I have had the pleasure to record and perform with. This is their debut album, released last year.. Check out the song “Silence Revealed,’ masterfully written by my friend Randy McStine.
Check out the video for the song here:
Check out 3 of the latest songs from Stratospheerius! Our last single, “Take Your Medicine,” is getting rave responses and trending on Reverbnation.com