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!
All the news that’s fit to print about violinist/vocalist/composer/ and all around nice guy, Joe Deninzon
Happy Summer! I can’t tell you how excited I am that live music is coming back! My two main bands, Stratospheerius and Sweet Plantain, are finally getting back to the stage. Sweet Plantain is finalizing some shows in upstate NY, Stratospheerius is performing our first live gig in over a year at a private event on August 7th, and is about to announce a show at our favorite bar, Olives in Nyack on September 24th with Mile Marker Zero and Ad Astra. There will be shows booked in Manhattan as well. Expect another email blast real soon.
THE EDUCATION STATION
IN addition to performing, teaching is a deep passion of mine. I am fortunate to be a part of the revolution that is currently sweeping the world of string playing and string education. The goal is to break string players out of the limited scope that a strict classical education will bring. To prepare string players to be fluent in multiple styles of music, familiar with technology, social media promotion, and know how create your brand and function as a successful small business. With 23 years of experience as a busy freelancing violinist in New York and having earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in music, I KNOW the divide that exists between what you learn in a music conservatory and what you really need to know in the real world! I am involved in a number of amazing online educational opportunities in the “multistyle/alternative/whatever you wanna call it” string universe.
I am psyched to teach my Rock 101 group lessons on Stringmasters.com! We will learn about the basics of rock (power chords, blues and pentatonic scales, song construction), write a song together, work on improv, talk about gear, and explore how to chart out a song, create your part, and be a successful functioning string player in a band. Acoustic and electric players are welcome! Classes are June 16th, 23rd, and 30th at 7 Pm EST.
I have been teaching privately on the Stringmasters platform for the past year. This is a great resource where you can archive all your lessons. The small group lessons they are offering are for up to 5 people. More intimate than a large class. The price is only $150 for three lessons! It’s like getting three lessons for the price of one! Here is the breakdown:
Lesson 1: We learn about power chords, how they are the building blocks of rock and can be used as a foundation for thinking harmonically and learning songs. Then we blast through songs by Blink 182, Ramones, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The White Stripes, and more! I also introduce the blues and pentatonic scales.
Lesson 2: Building a riff: We write a song together using pentatonic/blues riffs and power chords. We also explore soloing using pentatonics.
Lesson 3: What is your role as string player in a rock band? When do you play in the song? How do you build a cool part without getting in the way of the singer? We talk about charting out a song, creating a roadmap for your part, where to play and lay out. We also talk about gear and stage presence.
The class is almost full, so if you’re a violinist, violist, or cellist with a classical background who wants to dive into the ocean of ROCK, this class is for you!
Julie Lyonn Lieberman is a living legend in the world of string education. I am honored to teach at her virtual String Summit for the third time, alongside an all-star cast of colleagues; Jeremy Kittel, Chris Haigh, Chuck Bontrager, David Wallace, Vi Wickam, Jeremy Cohen, and more!
I will be teaching and co-teaching four “Deep Dive” classes:
Thursday, July 8th. 9 AM-12:30 PM EST
“Soloing with Pizzaz” with Julie Lyon. Lieberman
Learn some tricks and schticks to make your solos more dramatic and more interesting. Learn to “get out of your own way” and become a successful improvisor.
Friday, July 9th. 9 AM-12:30 PM EST
“Rock & Pop String Arranging”
Saturday, July 10th. 9 AM-12:30 PM EST
“Rock Strings” with David Wallace
Sunday, July 11th 9 AM-12:30 PM EST
“Looping and Special Effects” with Chuck Bontrager
For the 11th year in a row, I have the honor of teaching at the camp run by the legendary Mark Wood, the man who designed my weapon of choice, my 7-string fretted Viper electric violin. This camp usually takes place in Olathe, KS, but once again we have decided to go virtual this year. I will be co-teaching an arranging class with Dr. David Wallace, head of the String Department at Berklee College of Music. There will be amazing workshops by Tracy Silverman, Chuck Bontrager, Mia Asan, Brooke Alfred, Greg Byers, Alissa Jackman, and more. This camp is mainly focused on electric strings but is open to all singers and instrumentalists.
Thank you to Martha Mooke for her tireless work in creating this program!
You can get a B.A. or a Master’s degree.
New Jersey City University is the first in the country to offer this cutting edge program. Multi-Style Strings embraces all styles of music, technology and improvisation with a mission to support creative exploration, empower artistic identity and provide practical tools essential for the 21st century string player to develop their potential
All the News That’s Fit to Print about violinist/vocalist/composer Joe Deninzon
Season’s Greetings, everyone!
Hope you’re staying safe and not losing your minds yet. 2020 has been a dark vortex of misery, and I like all of you am glad to send it into the dustbins of history.
The good news is that we will all (hopefully soon) will be vaccinated, and when this thing ends, (and it WILL end), people will be hungry for live music and entertainment like never before! So whatever you do, don’t say that this its the “new normal,’ cause to me, that’s just admitting that this situation is permanent, and I refuse to go softly into that goodnight, my friends…
‘TIS THE SEASON! ALL ITEMS ON MY BANDCAMP 20 PERCENT OFF!
That’s right, folks! Please visit my BANDCAMP store and get 20 percent off when you type the code “holidaze2020” at the checkout. Get deep discounts on vinyl, mugs, t-shirts, my book, CD’s, and downloads! Available now until January 1st at MIDNIGHT!
Attention String Players and Orchestra Teachers! Joe Deninzon string arrangements NOW AVAILABLE onwww.sheetmusicplus.com!
Over the years, I’ve written string duos, trios, quartets, and string orchestra arrangements for weddings, high school and college residencies, music camps, hired arrangements projects, and just for my own enjoyment. Some people curl up with a good novel, but I love to sit with my laptop, sip a beer and crank out string arrangements. It’s my therapy & takes me to my happy place. Anyway, I have over 100 titles and will be uploading plenty more in the next few months.
Music by ACDC, Journey, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Coldplay, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Queen, Van Halen, Rihanna, Tylor Swift, Katie Perry, and much much much more! I also have original pieces up there. Check it out! Arrangements for levels ranging from beginner/intermediate advanced!
Visit my store at: www.sheetmusicplus.com
It is my great honor to teach alongside such great artists and colleagues in the “multi-style” string universe. Strings Without Boundaries is a program founded by violinist Julie Lyonn Lieberman, who has been a pioneer in the field of “alternative/multi-style” string playing for over 40 years! I have contributed to her latest book, “A Festival of Violin and Fiddle Styles,” and had a chance to teach at her online symposium this past summer. She has put together an incredible world-renowned faculty to teach this virtual schmorgasbord of classes. There is no tuition and classes can be taken a-la-carte. Visit the website for the schedule and list of classes. www.stringswithoutboundaries.com Mine will include:
-How to Read Chord Charts and Lead Sheets
-Getting in the Groove
-Intro to Live Looping
-Learn the solo to “Stairway to Heaven.”
This past October, Stratospheerius released one of most ambitions songs of all time, “Storm Surge.” Based on a 19th century solo piano piece by German Composer Friedrich Burgmuller, the song was co-written by me, our drummer Jason Gianni, and renowned SAGA lead vocalist Michael Sadler. The track features Michael as our guest lead vocalist, and other guest appearances by guitarist Fernando Perdomo, cellist Ruti Celli, NY-Phil Violinist (and my wife) Yulia Ziskel, and blind prodigy and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Flowers on piano and flute.
The track has been getting some love from Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.
Finally, here’s a livestream/interview we did on October 30th
Rachel Barton Pine plays “Electric Lake of Soul”
In 2015, I was commissioned to compose a solo piecer by my good friend/world-renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine.
The result was an 11-minute piece called “The Electric Lake of Soul,” inspired by the novel “Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates” by one of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins. On December 4th, the day after my birthday, Rachel performed this piece as part of her weekly “Family Fridays” livestream series. She plays my piece right after a caprice by one of my favorite violinist/composers of all time, Mark O’Connor. Check it out!
All of these projects that I’m involved in cost money; Paying musicians, engineers, videographers, promoters, managers, etc etc etc. I would love nothing more than to continue making music for you and the rest of the world to enjoy and to hopefully inspire people. In these dark and uncertain times, it is harder than ever for us musicians to survive. Live gigs have all but disappeared, and I am mainly teaching and recording online, which provides a fraction of the income I had before the pandemic. It will take a long time before I build up that revenue stream to come close to what I was making in the “before time.” Patreon is a wonderful site which enables fans of artist to subscribe for as little as $5 per month. In return, you get a monthly free unreleased download, bootlegs, exclusive sneak peaks, early access to new releases, private concerts, music lessons, free swag, and more!
Join Joe Deninzon, Jason Gianni, Paul Ranieri, Michelangelo Quirinale, with special guests Rachel Flowers, Michael Sadler from Saga, Fernando Perdomo, Ruti Celli, and our videographer David P. Levin as we discuss the creation of our new song/video, “Storm Surge,” feature recent projects from all our guest artists, and discuss the future of music and life as we know it! Hang out and ask us questions. Hosted by Nick Katona from Melodic Revolution Records