The latest on violinist/vocalist/mandolinist/composer Joe Deninzon

joe sullys 5-22-15


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 Camp in 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 Springsteen at 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.

The next few weeks are filled with more highlights, including Sweet Plantain’s return to the NACAP (Native American Composers Apprentice Project) and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, a residency in Reading, PA followed by performances in Baltimore and Kentucky, Stratospheerius opening for Alex Skolnick in Asbury Park and touring the Midwest with Circuline and Cell15 as part of the Sonic Voyages Prog Rock Festival, studio project, and much much more..


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Upcoming shows in NYC, NJ, Ohio, PA,Maryland, Kentucky,, Arizona, and more…!

Grand Canyon Music Festival/School of Rock/NACAP with Sweet Plantain and Robert Bonfiglio Group

School of Rock by Jeremy Helflin 130BonfiglioBwSWEET PLANTAIN OCT 2014 PROMO SHOT

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 group Sweet 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:

Friday, September 2nd, 7:30 P.M.

Saturday, September 3rd, 7:30 P.M.

Sweet Plantain perform at Shrine of the Ages

Sunday, September 4th, 5 P.M.

NACAP final performance.
Performing original compositions by Native students written for string quartet.
Parts of these concerts will be broadcast on PBS Radio

Upcoming STRATOSPHEERIUS shows. Sonic Voyages tour, and more!




This fall, I am honored to have one of the best-ever lineups of Stratospheerius.

These guys are incredible! DO NOT miss these shows!

Aurelien Budynek-guitar (Cindy Blackman Santanna, Rock of Ages, Daredevil Squadron, the Dan Band)

Randy McStine-bass (LoFi Resistance, The Fringe, Stu Hamm)

Jason Gianni-drums (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rock of AgesDaredevil Squadron, Mark Wood band)

Wednesday, September 14th, 7:30 P.M.

Opening for Alex Skolnick Trio at The Saint (Asbury Park, NJ)


Alex Skolnick is 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!



What started out as a three-band gig has turned a traveling music festival!

Circuline, Stratospheerius, and Cell15 are on tap for fall Sonic Voyage Fests. Look for the Festival to hit Gullifty’s in Camp Hill, PA on September 28, Wilberts in Cleveland, OH on September 29, Sodbuster in Sylvania, OH on September 30, and Cyber Cafe West in Binghamton, NY on October 1.

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!”


Wednesday, September 28th

Gullifty’s in Camp Hill, PA


Thursday, September 29th

Wilberts in Cleveland, OH


Friday, September 30th

Sodbuster in Sylvania, OH


Oct 1,  Cyber Cafe West in Binghamton, NY

Sweet Plantain Residency in Reading, PA and performances in Maryland and Kentucky


Wednesday, October 21st

WXAC’s Concert Series @ The Pond, 6-7:30 P.M.

Reading, PA

Friday, October 14th, 8 P.M.

Weinberger Center for the Arts

Frederick, MD

Tuesday, October 25th, 7:30-9:30 P.M.

Glema Mahr Center for the Arts

Madisonville, KY

Sweet Plantain is:

Joe Deninzon-violin/mandolin/vocals

Eddie Venegas-violin/trombone

Leo Grinhauz-cello

Orlando Wells-viola

Joe Deninzon other performances


Performing with clarinetist David Krakauer and Ancestral String Band with Sarah Caswell

The Stone

200 E. 10th St. #126

New York, NY


In the past year, I had the pleasure of guesting on numerous cool and exciting recording projects, many of which have seen their release in the past few months. Here are some highlights:

Bella D-The Crystal Ceiling


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!

Order here:

Tiles-Pretending 2 Run


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.

Order here:

Pitts/Minneman Project

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.

Jimmy Pitts Psychic Planetarium

Order here:

Circuline: Return


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

 behind_the_curtain cover

Give the string player in your life new abilities to rock out and blow people’s minds!


STRATOSPHEERIUS video for “One Foot in the Next World”