Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame multi-instrumentalist AMY DENIO (rhymes with ‘Ohio’ or ‘gennaio’) composes for modern dance, film, theater and TV. She has a four-octave vocal range and plays guitar, bass, alto sax, clarinet and accordion. She has written more than 500 works and has produced over 50 recordings solo and in collaboration with artists worldwide. She operates her own recording studio, record label and publishing company, Spoot Music.
Denio entered quarantine mode on March 13, 2020, and since then has been creating a wide variety of compositions for her “Corona Sonora” series. Many of the pieces are based on cities where Denio has resided, along with the numbers of infected/dead in each location being interpreted musically.
In October 2019 Denio presented her suite ‘Truth is Up For Grabs’ for 21-piece orchestra at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. This delightful collection of music was conducted by Mike Jauregui and performed by Denio’s Orkestar Istina. She produced the recording in November, and now ‘Truth Is Up For Grabs” is available for streaming and download. This project was funded in party by Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture and sponsorship by the Seattle Composers Alliance.
In September 2019 Austrian label Klanggalerie released Denio’s 17th solo album ‘EUREKA’, and in October 2019 she presented her revised and expanded work for 21-piece chamber orchestra ‘Truth Is Up For Grabs’, which is now widely available streaming and for download.
Other recent chamber works include a commission from Seattle Theater Group to compose a sound track for silent film ‘Variete’ (Dupont, 1925) which premiered at the Paramount Theater in February 2019. She was also commissioned by KINO LORBER to score and performing/producing the sound track for ‘A Daughter of the Law’ (Cunard, 1921) which is included in their ‘Women Pioneers of Cinema’ DVD boxed set.
In 1997 she received the New York City Bessie Award for her soundtrack to David Dorfman Dance’s piece ‘Sky Down’, and her collaboration with Pat Graney Dance won the Bessie Award for ‘Best Production’ in 2016.
She has received the Mayor’s Award and grants and fellowships from NEA, Meet The Composer, Civitella Ranieri, Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, Arts Link, Pew Charitable Trust, Artist Trust, Arts International, and from various philanthropists. In 2008, she received the Artist Trust Paul Good Fellowship to live in County Mayo, Ireland.
Denio has played concerts and taught musical workshops in festivals, clubs, squats, prisons, churches, sanctuaries, and subways on 6 continents ~ solo and with historic American rock trio Tone Dogs, her all-women sax quartet The Tiptons, Balkan group Kultur Shock, and many other international projects. Her compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and from the top of Metro buses in Seattle.
She has been in quarantine in Seattle since March 13, 2020 when her European concert tour with the Tiptons Sax Quartet was abruptly cut short by the spread of COVID-19. Since then she has composed 20 pieces and produced solo vocal recordings for several releases.
Home-taper since the Dark Ages of Analog, she started her label and publishing company Spoot Music in 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.
Since 1987 she has collaborated with 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.
Denio’s music was included in the John Cage Retrospective at the 1993 Biennale di Venezia, has been performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
In 2007 she worked for the Dream Community in Taipei for three months, arranging and producing a CD of Taiwanese indigenous and pop songs, performed by 25 teenagers from the Amis Tribe.
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.
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 has received grants and fellowships from NEA, Meet The Composer, Civitella Ranieri, Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, Arts Link, Pew Charitable Trust, Artist Trust, Arts International, and from various philanthropists. In 1996 she received Fellowships from both Seattle Arts Commission and Artist Trust. In July/August 2004 she enjoyed her Fellowship at Civitella Ranieri in Umbertide, Italy. In 2008, she received the Artist Trust Paul Good Fellowship to live in County Mayo, Ireland.
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.
She received funding from Meet The Composer to compose the sound track for Dan Froot and Dan Hurlin’s toy theater/puppet piece ‘Who’s Hungry? – Santa Monica’. This work is based on oral histories of ‘food-insecure’ people, and was premiered in Santa Monica, California in January, 2012. Fascinated by ‘unheard voices’, she is now doing research for her new oral history project called ‘Mythunderstandings’ in collaboration with the Tiptons Sax Quartet, which will be first presented in Seattle in January, 2013.
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.