It’s Friday, September 2nd. I’m sitting here on the balcony of our rented condo in Maui overlooking the islands of Molokai and Lanai, watching the sunset, enjoying our the last days of our annual family vacation, and contemplating the insanity that awaits me when the plane touches down at Newark on Sunday. This fall looks to be one of the busiest runs of performances I’ve ever had, so it’s the GOOD kind of insanity. I just hope I can juggle all this different music in my brain! I feel refreshed and ready to kick some booty! Hope your summer has bee full of beautiful memories and inspirational moments.
Here is a long list of upcoming events I would like to share with you. I hope you can join me on parts of this ride…
9/16 & 17 with Robert Bonfiglio. Grand Canyon Music Festival
My tenure with this festival is old enough to drink (has been for a few years now), which means I’m old enough to have my first colonoscopy.
But enough about that! Sept 12-17th, I return to the Grand Canyon Music Festival to teach the program I co-founded, “The Grand Canyon School of Rock,” and performing with renowned harmonica virtuosos, Robert Bonfiglio, with my friend, guitar genius Steve Benson and local cats John Vail on bass and Bryan Stone on drums. We perform at the Shrine of the Ages (South Rim) on Friday, Sept 16th and Saturday, Sept 17th.
Tickets can be purchased at www.grandcanyonmusicfest.org
9/20Chord Charts/Lead Sheets workshop for www.stringmasters.com
I will be teaching a virtual class for intermediate-advanced string players on how to read chord charts and lead sheets, a skill that is essential for all modern musicians, but often overlooked in traditional string education. Reserve your spot in the class HERE!
10/1 Stratospheerius Sonic Voyage Fest Stone Church. NH with Dark Beauty and Dreadnaught Stone Church is an old Church in Newmarket, NH that has been converted to a music venue. We love playing here, and have not done so since the first Sonic Voyage Fest in 2015. We are excited about coming back and performing with our friends, the newly relocated New Hampshirites Dark Beatry and local favorites Dreadnaught! Come out to the show! Tickets available HERE!
After a long, 3-year break. I’m honored to once again be joining the legendary Annie Haslam and Renaissance, along with my brothers in Sweet Plantain and the Renaissance Chamber Orchestra, for their East Coast “Legacy” tour celebrating Annie’s 75th birthday.
What makes this even more special is that my good friend Rachel Flowers will be opening for us on October 20th, and I’ve just been asked to sit in with her and Annie on an intimate song. More info to come…
11/18 with Steve Sandberg. Miller Symphony Hall. Allentown, PA
I am excited to be joining Emmy award-winning jazz pianist/composer Steve Sandberg (best known as the guy who scored Dora the Explorer!)
and his quartet for this concert at Miller Theater, home of the Allentown Symphony.
Friday, Nov 18th at 7 P.M.
Miller Symhpony Hall 23 N 6th St, Allentown, PA 18101 Tickets and info
In the Studio
I first discovered the music of Dave Kerzner in 2014, when I got hooked on “Sound of Contact,” the band he created with Phil Collin’s son, Simon on lead vocals and drums. Dave was the co-writer, producer and keyboardist of their phenomenal album, “Dimensionaught.” Since then, he has released a series of great solo albums, and I’m fortunate to have contributed strings to two of them. Her is his latest release, “The Travekler,” featuring strings from me, cello from Ruti Celli, Fernando Perdomo on guitar, Nick D’Virgilio and Marco Minneman on drums, Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd/Rolling Stones) on backup vocals, John Davidson from Yes on guest vocals, Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact) on bass, Billy Sherwood (Yes) on bass, and more guests.
All the news that’s fit to print about electric violinist/singer/composer/mandolinist Joe Deninzon
Hey, beautiful people!
How’s your summer going so far? This is Joe D. Checking in with the latest updates.
I’ve been in full sprint (when am I not?!) working on a million things at once. June is usually high season for me. Both with private events, teaching obligations, and creative projects. It’s “full court press,” as I like to say. Here’s what’s going on:
Stratospheerius is finally coming into the home stretch of our double live CD/DVD project that we’ve been working on for two years. I know you’re probably sick of hearing about it. But yeah this thing will see the light of day, I promise!! But a double live cd and dvd and blu ray takes time? I e been through this thing about 100 times checking for mistakes and fixed and making sure it’s just right! Aiming for a fall release. Stay tuned…
Here are the last two singles and videos we released from this upcoming mammoth project, “The Prism” and “Game of Chicken.” You can stream the songs on all streaming services or download them at our STORE page.
This coming Tuesday I’m teaching an online masterclass for www.Stringmasters.com on Live Looping. The class is filling up fast, but there’s still room to sign up. I’m a passionate looper and really believe it’s a great way to improve your musicianship. The class is for beginning loopers on ANY INSTRUMENT! I break down songs to show you how to build a loop.Here’s a link to a promo vid and signup.
Sunday, June 26th. Sweet Plantain performs at Perspectives Festival in Pittsburgh.
On Monday, June 27th, I’ll be sticking around in Pittsburgh and doing aome masterclasses at the Cello Fury Rock Camp for young string players! Big thank you to Nicole Myers for the invitation! I’m looking forward to working with these talented your string players.
This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, surrounded by friends and colleagues who I think the world of and have a special place in my heart. While it’s filled with electric and acoustic string players who want to rock out and find their voice, we have singers, guitarists, bassists, keyboardists…all are welcome and there’s something for everyone!
August 1-2, Sweet Plantain is joining forces with legendary electric violist Martha Mooke for a three-day symposium for string teachers and players at NJCU in connection with the Multistyle String Program, where we all teach.
Day 1 will focus on Sweet Plantain and how to translate different Latin and Afro Cuban styles to strings, including all the percussive effects and grooves we incorporate into our arrangements.
Day 2 will feature mine and Martha’s electric string stylings, talking about improv, looping, effects pedals, arranging, and gigging as an electric player.
Day 3, Martha and Sweet Plantain will join forces, co-teach, and perform.
All the news that’s fit to print about violinist/composer/singer/mandolinist/Stratospheerian Joe Deninzon
Hey, everyone. Happy Spring!
While I look forward to all thesuper cool performances, recordings, and other projects awaiting me in the coming months, I write this with a heavy heart. My family is from Russia. My grandparents and their ancestors on my father’s side were from Ukraine. We have many close friends from the Ukraine. Our hearts are breaking for the unprovoked invasion by the tyrant Putin and the unbelievable hardships the people of Ukraine are going through. We pray for peace and a swift end to this terrible war, for Putin to be removed from of power and punished for war crimes, and the Ukraine to be rebuilt and restored to the thriving democracy it deserves to be.We are also concerned that ignorant people in the United States and other countries do not blame Russian immigrants living among them for the invasion. People have to realize that we escaped this country decades ago because we distrusted its government and couldn’t see a future for our kids there. Most Russians I know, even the ones living in Russia who can’t speak openly about it, condemn this invasion and despise the many who started it.
If you want to help people in Ukraine, a good thing to do is reserve an Air BNB. While you don’t plan on traveling and staying in the Ukraine, you are supporting the folks that own the Air BNB and helping them provide for their families.
Recently, my good friend Rachel Barton Pine commissioned me to write a duet for her and her daughter Sylvia. Rachel is an internationally-renowned violin virtuoso, and her 9-year-old daughter is on her way to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Rachel and Sylvia are doing a 5-date tour of Israel with the Tel Aviv soloists March 11th-15th. She asked me to write a short, flashy, Klezmery piece that she could play at the end of each night with her daughter. I went to work and came up with something that I’m really excited about. The concept was to chronicle my family’s experience as Russian Jewish refugees who came to the US, and connect it with Russian Jewish refugees who came to Israel. But with the recent refugee crisis, I think one could make a thread to the current Ukranian refugees crossing into Poland, Hungary, and other parts of Europe. The work is titled “Livroach el Ha’or,” which means “Escape to the light.”
Here are there tour dates. If you live in Israel, I highly recommend attending a concert. Rachel is, in my opinion, one of the greatest living classical violinists!
Emmanuel is a true inspiration. Born with down syndrome, he is an accomplished acoustic and electric violinist, a champion swimmer, and a polyglot. He has been an international spokesperson for the NDSS. It is such an honor to be backing him up on the Vivaldi A Minor violin concerto and the Seitz Violin Concert, performed on two electric violins. Thank you to my brother Matt Bell for the opportunity. You can read more about Emmanuel here: https://www.potensum.com
9:30 P.M. performing with BRM (Brooklyn Raga Massive) at 55 Bar NYC. Celebrating the music of John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Shakti.
Saturday, March 19th: ASTA Workshop HYATT REGENCY ATLANTA
265 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
I’m excited to return to ASTA after a 2-year hiatus. The American String Teachers Association National Conference is a special time where all of us string nerds get together, share our pedagogical and performance knowledge, and abuse our livers. This year, I’m leading a panel presentation on Saturday at 2:45 PM on “Using Looping and other Effects to Improve Your Classical Technique.” Panel includes myself, Tracy Silverman, Martha Mooke, Julie Lyon Lieberman, Robb Janov, and Andy Reiner. These are THE CATS! The challenge will be condensing everything we have to share into one HR!!! OMFG, I’ve created a monster!
Saturday, April 17th: performing at ROSfest (Sarasota, Fla)
Joe Deninzon performs at ROSfest (www.rosfest.org)
ROSfest is one of the biggest progressive rock festivals in the world and takes place at the Sarasota Opera House
3 PM, I’ll be playing a solo set in the beer garden outside of the theater, as pat of the Minstrels in the Garden series.
8 PM, I’ll be on the main stage, performing with my friend keyboardist Dave Kerzner (Sound of Contact) and his all-star band, which includes:
Bill Sherwood-bass (Yes)
Fernando Perdomo-guitar (Jacob Dylan)
Durga McBroom-vocals (Pink Floyd)
Nick D’Virgilio-drums (Genesis, Spocks Beard, Big Big Train)
Stratospheerius is back on stage!!
We’ve been writing, recording, mixing, editing, and editing some more. But now, we are emerging from our musical manacles for a bit to perform for you all again! Two NY-area shows April 29th and May 12th.
Friday April 29th
9 PM-1 AM
Sonic Voyage Fest presents:
Brooklyn Raga Massive (celebrating the music of John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Shakti)
Joe Deninzon & Strastospheerius https://fb.me/e/3eucrqHdt
118 N. Main St.
Thursday, May 12th
Electric Violin Summit with
One More Once feat John Dinklage (Rush)
Stratospheerius feat Joe Deninzon
The Stratospheerius double live DVD/CD is moving forward. Expected release date is sometime in September, in the meantime, we’re dropping singles every few months just to tease ya! The next one, “The Prism,” is due out on April 8th.
In the meantime, please check out our last SINGLE (the first single form this album) and video “Game of Chicken!”
My wife, NY–Phil violinist Yulia Ziskel was recently interviewed by my old friend and former bandmate, legendary Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick for his awesome podcast, “Moods and Modes,” in conjunction with WQXR. The topic was “Heavy Classical,” turning rock and metal fans on to classical music and finding threads that connect the two genres. Here is the main link to hear the podcast.
If you join right now for as low as $5 per month, I’ll send you my complete digital music catalogue as a FREE gift! Furthermore, you’ll get monthly gig diaries, unreleased downloads, exclusive behind-the-scenes stuff, and early FREE access to anything I release, as a solo artist or with Stratospheerius. We’re hard at work putting the finish touches on our live album and DVD, as well as a new studio album. It’s gonna cost a LOT to manufacture and promote both of these projects, so any help from you, my friends would be greatly appreciated. In return, I will bring you into my crazy world and share my stories, my music, and my heart and soul.
All the news that’s fit to print about Electric Violinist/Composer/Singer Joe Deninzon
First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful and joyous Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus, whatever it is that you celebrate. These are tough times. Like many of you, my family has had had to cancel our travel plans this holiday season. We were going to visit my family in Cleveland, but on Wednesday December 22nd, I started to experience a mild fever, sore throat, body aches, all that fun stuff… Sure enough, I tested positive for Covid the next day! I’ve been isolating in my basemend/studio and just emerged yesterday. My doctor (and the CDC) said if I was symptom-free, a 5-day isolation period would be OK as long as I wear a. mask around the house. The day after I got sick, both of my kids got it too. Yulia has been holding out and tested negative just yesterday! The only good thing, (and yes it’s really the ONLY good thing), is that I got a TON of work done. Stratospheerius is working harder than ever, simultaneously mixing, mastering, and editing a double live CD/DVD and a new studio album. The live project has about 140 minutes of music (taken from tour 2019 and 2021 performances at the Progstock festival) and we hope to release it in May. We might have to leave some stuff out and release it as a bonus to some of our hardcore fans. It’s been a LOT of work, and “miles to go before we sleep,” as they say, but we can’t wait for you to experience this project when it’s released! In fact, we just dropped our first video/single from that upcoming live album, “Game of Chicken (Live at Progstock)” on Melodic Revolution Records. Here are links where you can stream it/watch the video/purchase the track:
We’ll be dropping videos and singles every two or three months until the album’s release.
Speaking of BANDCAMP, my RIDICULOUS/LUDICROUS holiday sale ends on January 5th! I’ve slashed prices on books, vinyl, t-shirts, mugs, CD’s, DVD’s downloads, and everything. Please brows the store and place an order if there is something missing from your collection.
The end of the year is a time to take stock. Even when I feel like I’m not getting anything done, when I look back on 2021, it’s been quite a busy year and there are some cool projects out there in the universe to prove that I’m not a slacker. Haha! So, here are some highlights of my year:
This past October, Stratospheerius returned to the stage with a series of live shows in the NY/NJ area. Our friends Tom Palmieri and Ann Rinaldi invited us to step in last minute and headline their Progstock Festival at Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ when John Goodsall from Brand X got sick and had to cancel his show. John passed away last month and we would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and fans. That night, we got to record more material for our upcoming live CD/DVD and our friends, multi-instrematal genius Rachel Flowers and renowned guitarist/former band member Alex Skolnick got to sit in. There is an amazing performance of Chick Corea’s “Spain” with myself, Alex, and Rachel which we hope to include on the upcoming release.
In February, Stratospheerius released the fourth single from our upcoming studio album, this one called “Cognitive Dissonance,” with special guest vocalist Randy McStine. The video features claymation by our good friend/drummer/multi-instrumentalist/animator Patrick Carmichael.
After Patrick did such a bang-up job with our video claymation, I returned the favor by laying down some strings for his new song, “Table of Elements,” which he composed, played drums, flute, and percussion, and created stop-motion in the video which he produced. I even managed to clone myself! If you like what you hear and need strings for your projects, I can make your wildest string section dreams come true! Here’s Patrick’s new video:
On October 12th, 2019, the night before Stratospheerius recorded our live DVD, I recorded another live DVD with my brothers in Sweet Plantain as the concertmaster of Renaissance, featuring the legendary Annie Haslam on lead vocals. This was the band’s 50th anniversary tour, and that project was released this year!
Here is a clip from the DVD of the song :”Opening Out”
I also reconnected with my old friend Ron Baron, former bassist in Stratospheerius, who now resides in Tel Aviv, Israel. Together with producer Ben Wyde, we put together this fun EDM track called Booqboot. Check it out!
VIRAL VIGNETTES; “PASS THE MATZOH”
Finally, during the peak of the quarantine, my friend (former MTV/Nickelodeon producer) David P. Levin came up with an award-winning online series called “Viral Vignettes,” featuring scripted comedy skits with famous actors speaking on Zoom. Here’s one I contributed music for with actresses Renée Taylor (the Nanny) and Michelle Green (LA Law). If you like the clip, please purchase the movie. All proceeds go to benefit the Actor’s Fund, which helps performers during difficult times like these.
It was also a busy year for Sweet Plantain, performing at numerous concert series throughout the NY area. We hope to get into the studio in early 2022. Stanby for more updates…
As usual, my life an an educator is jam packed, whether virtual or in-person. This year, I taught my 11th MWROC (Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp), the only camp on the planet dedicated entirely to electric strings! This year was virtual again but we all hope to return in person to Olathe, KS in July of 2022.
I also taught at virtual Fiddle Hell, run by the great David Reiner and his family of fiddlers.
Strings Without Boundaries is an online series of workshops related by the great Julie Lyonn Lieberman, who has written over 20 books on string improvisation and has been a legend in the multi style string education world! I had the honor of teaching on her platform in January and July.
All classes are archived on the website and available for purchase.
I continued my private instruction through www.stringmasters.com, where I also gave a series of group classes called “Rock 101.”
In September, I returned to the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where I performed with renowned harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio, guitarist Steve Benson, bassist John Vail, and drummer Bryan Stone, as well as flutist Clare Hoffman and violinist/composer Cenovia Cumins. We also taught our School of Rock program which I co-founded in 2007.
This past August, I was the episode 10 guest on my friend Tracy Silvrman’s new podcast, “For the Greater Groove; the Future of Strings.” Tracy is one of the greatest living electric violinists, and a master educator and all around nice guy. I contributed to his awesome book, “Strum Bowing,” two years ago. The podcast is focused on getting string players to free themselves from the “chains” imposed on them by their classical training and explore more groove-based techniques like chopping, comping, etc. The other guests are a who’s who of legends in the alt strings universe (Mark O’Connor, Christian Howes, Mark Wood, Darol Anger, Earl Maneein). Here’s a link to my episode:
…And here are two jams that were part of the podcast, me and Tracy playing James Brown’s “The Chicken” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Freedom.”
Tracy is a rock star for me growing up, ever since he coached me when I was a college student in the 90’s and he was in the Turtle Island String Quartet, so for him to invite me to be on his podcast is a BIG fucking deal!
Finally, I am excited to have just completed my first semester on the faculty of the new Multistyle String program at NJCU! This is a new Bachelor’s and Master’s program started by my good friend and colleague, electric violist Martha Mooke. The faculty includes Jeremy Kittel, Regina Carter, and Dave Eggar. In 2022, my quartet Sweet Plantain will be added to the faculty as quartet-in-residence. I am super honored and excited about begin a part of this program and contributing to its development!
2022 is linning up to be another exciting year! In addition to the new Stratospheerius releases, I will be presenting at the in-person ASTA National Conference in Atlanta, GA on March 19th alongside a bunch of my colleagues, I have just been commissioned by renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine to write a Jewish-inspired violin duo for her to perform with her daughter Sylvia in Israel in March. I also look forward to returning to teach at Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp in July and perform once again at the Grand Canyon Music Fest in August. There are many more projects in the works, but I don’t want this e-blast to turn into a novel!
One last thing, these mammoth projects I’m working on will require money for adequate promotion, manufacturing, etc. If you join my PATREON for as little as $5 per month, you will get early access to EVERYTHING I release, plus monthly unreleased material and “gig diaries,” where I share my adventures and misadventures as a gigging musician in New York. Heck, I might even give you a personal concert or music lesson!
All the news that’s fit to print about violinist/singer/mandolinist/composer Joe Deninzon
Happy Holidays, friends!
Looking for some gifts and stocking stuffers?
We got em RIGHT HERE!
For a limited time, all the music and merch on the Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius Bandcamp pages is …..well…CHEAPER!
CD’s: Only $5!
T-shirts-15 (Marked down from $20
Vinyl-$15 (Marked down from $20)
“Plugging in” Book/CD/DVD-only $20! (Marked down from $30)
Dec 3rd, Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius release first single/video from upcoming live DVD!
On Friday, December 3rd, I’m celebrating my birthday by releasing the first single off Stratospheerius upcoming “Live at Progstock” CD/DVD, titled “Game of Chicken.”
Join the viewing party at 9:00 P.M. EST THIS FRIDAY!
We’ll be premiering the live video on YouTube and dropping the single on Bandcamp and all streaming services.
Here’s the link for the Youtube premier!
I am excited to be performing with some of my favorite musicians, for 5 FREE shows at American dream Mall in East Rutherford, NJ. One of the biggest malls on the planet, with indoor amusement parks, wave pools, ski runs, and a LOT of live music! Visit www.americandream.com for more information. Here’s the schedule:
Tuesday, Nov 30th, 5-9 PM: Jazz duo with guitarist Steve Benson
Sunday, December 5th, 5-8 PM: Electric string trio with Katie Jacoby (The Who) and Meg Okura (Pan Asian Jazz Ensemble)
Thursday, Dec 16th, 5-9 PM: Duo with electric cellist Bryan Wilson
Wednesday, Dec 22nd, 5-9 PM: Duo electric violin/live looping and tracks
Thursday, Dec 23rd, 5-9 PM: Jazz duo with guitarist Steve Benson
Hope to see you there! Happy Holidays, stay healthy, and be good to each other!