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!
Progstock is the biggest Progressive Rock festival in the Northeast United States, and is run by our good friends Tom Palmieri and Ann Rinaldi. Last year, there were able to keep the festival going virtually. This year, they did it in person, but with strict rules on vaccinations for artists and attendees. With lower than normal attendance due to covid, they pushed forward and made it work! This was the festival’s 5th year and we are proud do say we have performed in 4 of them. This year was different. Upon hearing that their Saturday headliner Brand X had to cancel due to guitarist John Goodsall falling ill with pneumonia, we were invited on one week’s notice to headline the festival. Coincidentally, my friend Rachel Flowers would be playing right before us and our old guitarist Alex Skolnick would be accompanying bass legend Percy Jones in the set right after us. I saw a great opportunity to collaborate with both of these amazing artists and invite them up during our set as special guest. The festival was held at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. In the middle of Stratospheerius’ set, I gave the band a break and did an intimate duo performance of Kansas “Dust in the Wind” with Rachel as a tribute both to recently deceased violinist/singer/songwriter Robie Steingart, and a tribute to the millions of people who passed during the pandemic. The second song was a tribute to Chick Corea, and we invited Alex Skolnick to join us on guitar. Playing with these two world-class musicians was an amazing experience, and the audience felt our energy and many said it was the highlight of the festival for them. Later on, Alex joined Stratospheerius for a song he co-wrote with me twenty years ago, “Heavy Shtettle.”
Here’s an awesome review by Thomas Hatton for Proglodytes:
Here’s a video of Spain with myself, Rachel Flowers, and Alex Skolnick shot from a member of the audience.
And here’s a video of Stratospheerius performing Storm Surge with special guest Rachel Flowers
Here are some photos. As we wrap up editing the Live from Progstock 2019 DVD, it looks like we have some new 2021 footage and audio that we might include. Who knows? Maybe we’ll turn it into a compilation…
Composers Now is an organization founded by renowned composer Tania Leon that promotes the music of modern composers. I am honored to be included in their IMPACT series this month alongside Laura Schwendinger. The livestream premier was on Thursday October 7th, but you can watch a rerun of it here. Thank you to Tanya and everyone in the organization.
Hot off our Progstock and Olive’s performances and hard at work on our upcoming live and studio albums, Stratospheerius is excited to return to Manhattan for the first time since the pandemic hit for a night of epic PROG!
After many years, I finally became a member of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences). This means I can vote for the Grammy’s, and also submit some of my stuff. …cause hey, you never know!🤷♂️
Stratospheerius released two singles in the past year that qualify for consideration; “Cognitive Dissonance” (featuring Rany McStine) and “Storm Surge” (featuring Michael Sadler, Rachel Flowers, Fernando Perdomo, and Ruti Celli.) Here is the info, with a link to the page on my website where you can check out the songs and their videos. If you’re a member of NARAS, please review these songs when time allows. We humbly thank your your consideration.
It’s beginning to sound like a cliche by now, but I gotta say it: I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. As the summer winds down, I have to look back and say …..it’s been a fun ride! Work has come back with a vengeance, and I’ve been playing tons of private events, doing concerts with amazing artists like Brooklyn Raga Massive & Sweet Plantain, still teaching virtually (MWROC, Strings Without Boundaries, Stringmasters) and recording (including an Uber commercial that ran during the Olympics). I take NOTHING for granted and, with covid seeming to take a bit of a comeback, I hope and pray that live music survives and my fellow musicians and I don’t have to go back on unemployment! And I hope you all take the vaccine and take care of yourselves and each other. Here’s what’s planned for the fall…..and let’s hope it stays that way!
For Your Consideration
After many years, I finally became a member of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences). This means I can vote for the Grammy’s, and also submit some of my stuff. …cause hey, you never know!🤷♂️
Stratospheerius released two singles in the past year that qualify for consideration; “Cognitive Dissonance” (featuring Rany McStine) and “Storm Surge” (featuring Michael Sadler, Rachel Flowers, Fernando Perdomo, and Ruti Celli.) Here is the info, with a link to the page on my website where you can check out the songs and their videos. If you’re a member of NARAS, please review these songs when time allows. We humbly thank your your consideration. https://joedeninzon.com/for-your-consideration/
SHOWS, SHOWS AND MORE SHOWS!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Stratospheerius is proud to announce that after a very long hiatus and barring unforeseen circumstances, we will be returning to the stage this fall! Three, count em, THREE NY-area shows!
My big brother from another mother, Tracy Silverman is a pioneer in the world of electric violin. He is the author of the string groove bible, “Strum Bowing,” which I contributed to. He’s worked with the Turtle Island String Quartet, The Whooten Brothers, John Adams (the composer not the president), Tery Riley. He has revolutionized the instrument in the realm of New Music. His new podcast, “For the Greater Groove,” explores the future of string playing through the prism of rhythm and groove outside of the classical cannon, something that I’ve been exploring and teaching through my whole career. He has interviewed Mark O’Connor, Cassey Driessen, Mark Wood, Julie Lyon Lieberman, and Dave Wallace, Darol Anger, and Christian Howes, to name a few, and I’m honored to be included among these giants of the string world! Here’s a link to my interview and here are two really fun groove collars we did in conjunction, jamming on James Brown’s “The Chicken” And “Freedom” by Jimi Hendrix.
This will be my 21st (?!) year performing with harmonica demon Robert Bonfiglio at the Grand Canyon Music Festival, but more importantly, the 15th year of the program I co-founded, the “Grand Canyon School of Rock.” No, we’re not talking about geology here, people, this is ROCK N ROLL, baby! We show up on Monday, form a rock n roll band with a bunch of local kids living near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, put a show together in three days, and perform it twice. It’s always an exhilarating experience bother us and the kids. Thank you to my friend and partner, guitarist Steve Benson, and bassist John Vail, as well as Rene Westbrook, and the new music teacher at Grand Canyon School, Amy Laughlin. Last year, the program was virtual Check out the song the kids wrote and recorded together!
Bonfiglio group performs at the Shrine of the Ages, South Rim on Friday Sept 17th & Saturday, Sept 18th at 7 PM PCT.
My parting gift for you is a recent video I did for a private event gig, performing a jazzy bossa nova version of “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd with my old friend Lucianna Padmore on drums, Stephen Benson on guitar, Nathan Peck on bass, and Jason Teboreck on keys. Hope you dig it!