AMY DENIO has a four-octave vocal range and plays guitar, bass, alto sax, clarinet and accordion. She composes for modern dance, film, theater and TV. A member of Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, she has written more than 500 works and has produced over 60 recordings solo and in collaboration with artists worldwide.
She has been operating her own recording studio, record label and publishing company, Spoot Music since 1986 with the release of her first cassette, No Bones. Since then, she has recorded & released over 50 cassettes, LPs and CDs, created solo and with an array of international musicians.
She is President of the all-women Tiptons Sax Quartet, Vice President of the Seattle Composers Alliance, and has performed and recorded in Balkan group Kultur Shock since 1999. Mainly self-taught, she has developed her unique musical style by collaborating with musicians and artists worldwide.
Recent productions include Denio’s work for 22-piece chamber orchestra ‘Truth is Up For Grabs” (January 2020), Tiptons Sax Quartet “WABI SABI” (April, 2021) and her 18th solo album ‘PANDEMONIUM’ (June, 2021).
Denio’s multi-media performances integrate video, painting, storytelling and live music, and include ‘Shop of Wild Dreams’ (2006) and ‘Mythunderstandings’ (2013) with the Tiptons Sax Quartet. Her new piece ‘Mujer o Bruja?’ will premiere in Seattle in 2021. This collaboration between her all-women sax quartet and Latin American duo Correo Aereo investigates Neolithic goddess culture, the emergence of patriarchal structures, and current efforts to recreate a ‘partnership’ society, with a focus on Latin American culture.
Her soundtrack for to David Dorfman Dance’s piece ‘Sky Down’ received the New York City Bessie Award, Civitella Ranieri awarded her a fellowship in a 15th century Italian castle, and she received the Artist Trust Paul Goode Fellowship in Ireland. Other honors include multiple awards from the Seattle Arts Commission and 4Culture, the Seattle Mayor’s Award, and funding from Washington State Arts Commission, ArtsLink, Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA, and the Doris Duke Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, Artist Trust, Arts International, and from various philanthropists.
Seattle Theater Group commissioned her to score the film soundtrack for a 12-piece ensemble for the silent film ‘Variete’ (Dupont, 1925) which premiered at the Paramount Theater in 2019. Film distributors KINO LORBER have commissioned her to compose and produce soundtracks for ‘A Daughter of the Law’, ‘The Strike’, and ‘Cunegonde Femme Crampon’. Other commissions include music for Italian National Radio, the Berkeley Symphony, The New York Festival of Song, Relache Ensemble, the Austrian chamber octet Die Knodel, choreographers Pat Graney, Victoria Marks, Aiko Kinoshita, Li Chiao-Ping, Cheronne Wong and Carla Barragan, multi-media performance group Run/Remain Ensemble, UMO Ensemble, The Cabiri, and choreographer/actor/clown Lorenzo Pickle. She received funding from Meet the Composer for her commission to compose the soundtrack to ‘toy theater’ puppet piece ‘Who’s Hungry, Santa Monica?’ by Dan Froot and Dan Hurlin.
Since 1987 she has collaborated with musicians and artists throughout North America, Europe, the Balkans and East Europe, Russia, India, Japan, Taiwan, and South America, going on more than 75 international tours. She’s played festivals, squats, churches, schools, prisons, ruins and one abandoned mercury mine. Denio’s collaborative efforts have been seen and heard at Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Seattle Opera House, Detroit Institute of Art, Venice Biennale, the Roman Theater in Trieste, and on top of 3 Metro Buses in Seattle.
She’s a founding member of Ama Trio, Tone Dogs, The Tiptons (formerly Billy Tipton Memorial) Saxophone Quartet, Danubians, Pale Nudes, Lao Tse and The Entropics, and her Italian chamber/kitchen quintet Quintetto alla Busara.
She has toured solo and has collaborated with various groups and musicians such as Tarik Abouzied, Francisco Lopez, Danny Barnes, the Relache Ensemble, Faust, Fred Frith, Matt Cameron, Bill Frisell, Chris Cutler, Guy Klucevsek, Pauline Oliveros, Hoppy Kamiyama, Ronin, and Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti. She played alto sax in the horn section of Chuck D‘s Fine Arts Militia at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
She has recorded and toured with Bosnian gypsy-core group Kultur Shock since 1999. She recorded and toured with Austrian trio Die Resonanz Stanonczi, sang & recorded with The Science Group (Stevan Tickmayer/ Chris Cutler/Fred Frith/Bob Drake, etc) and Curlew, and she has been collaborating with pan-Latin duo Correo Aereo for more than 15 years.
On New Year’s Eve, 2006, her Italian band Quintetto alla Busara accompanied French circus Farfaides in the Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples Italy with 10,000 in attendance, broadcast internationally.
Though mainly self-taught, (both her parents played jazz contrabass) Denio was sponsored by Jazz India to study voice in Bombay in 1997 with Dhanashree Pandit Rai. She has taught group workshops on improvisation and composition throughout Europe and the US, and teaches music privately.