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!
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!
Notes:Joe Deninzon will be giving virtual workshops for the “Strings Without Boundaries Winter String Summit” Jan 7-10, 2021. Classes include “How to Read Chord Charts & Lead Sheets,” “Rock 101,” “Learning the solo to Stairway to Heaven,” and “Live Looping.”