Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Denio, Amy (Eliott)

Denio, Amy (Eliott), composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer; b. Cambridge, MA, 9 June 1961. He parents are John Prentice Denio (b. 1922, Lincoln, MA, contrabass, cello) and Nancy Hall Denio (b. 1925, Boston, MA, contrabass). Her family moved to Bloomfield Hills, MI, when she was 3 months old. She has 2 sisters, Anne Stickney Wiley, (b. 1951), and Catherine Prentice Jospe, (b. 1952, piano). Amy is single.

Amy had piano lessons from age 6-12, and participated in Brookside School Cranbrook's advanced Orff Ensemble, performing concerts in the Detroit area in 1970-71. At age 12, she decided to become an autodidactic musician, teaching herself guitar. A singer/songwriter, while attending Kingswood School Cranbrook ( Bloomfield Hills, MI) and Rathdown School (Dublin, Ireland) she studied Harmony with Franklin Coleman (Cranbrook School), as well as songs of the Irish Revolution. Her first public performance was at age 15, at the Festival of the Sun at Cranbrook School. She began teaching herself alto saxophone in 1982. She graduated Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) with a B.A. in Music Composition and Improvisation, having studied with Roland Wiggins and Ray Copeland. At Hampshire College, she composed music for chamber ensemble, prepared guitar orchestra, and explored improvised music. After graduating, she taught herself other instruments. She moved to Seattle, WA in 1985, with her group The Entropics, and began a long history of collaborations with musicians and artists from all over the world.  She also studied kora with Amadu Jobarteh in 1988 (Seattle), and N. Indian vocal training at the Jazz India Vocal Institute in 1997, with Dhanashree Pandit Rai (Bombay).  She now performs regularly on alto saxophone, clarinet, electric and acoustic guitar, accordion, and is a vocalist.

Denio has been operating her own Spaciouser Spoot Studios since 1981, and has enjoyed working & playing with musicians & artists from throughout East and West Europe, Japan, India, and North America.  She helped found The Entropics, Couch of Sound, Tone Dogs, Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, FoMoFlo, (ec) Nudes, Pale Nudes, Naked Slime Duo, Petunia, Las Machas, and Quintetto alla Busara, and she has been guest vocalist with Curlew, George Cartwright, The Science Group (Stevan Tickmayer/Chris Cutler/Fred Frith/Bob Drake, etc), and Kultur Shock.
Her commissions include music for Italian National Radio, the Berkeley Symphony, The New York Festival of Song, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Relache Ensemble, Yoko Murao, Pat Graney Dance Company, the chamber octet Die Knodel (Austria), Run/Remain Ensemble, David Dorfman Dance, UMO Ensemble, Victoria Marks, and Lorenzo Pickle and Li Chiao-Ping.

Her music was included in the John Cage Retrospective at the 1993 Biennale di Venezia.  In 1999/2000 she composed the music for David Dorfman's piece "To Lie Tenderly", which was part of the Next Wave 2000 Series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (NY), and has been featured in many other venues in the U.S.  In 2001 her piece "AcchorDREAM" premiered in the "VOLUME: Bed of Sound" exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. In 2003 her piece "Tessatura" for 9 MIDI-controlled toy pianos was premiered in Trimpin's exhibit "Klavier Nonette" in Seattle.

Though mainly a self-taught instrumentalist, Denio was sponsored by Jazz India in 1997 to study Hindusthani devotional singing in Bombay with Dhanashree Pandit Rai.  In 2001, she was Rosencranz Artist-In-Residence at Mills College in Oakland, California, and she taught a music seminar at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.  She has taught workshops on improvisation and composition in Italy, Austria, Belgium, and in the US - most recently in a Washington State womens' penitentiary.

No Bones (1986); Entropics: Spagga! (1987); Never Too Old To Pop A Hole (1988); No Elevators (1988) Couch of Sound: Rabagubus (1988);
Tone Dogs: Ankety Low Day (1989); Birthing Chair Blues (1991); Tone Dogs: Early Middle Years (1991); Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet: Saxhouse (1992);Tongues (1993); Curlew with Amy Denio: A Beautiful Western Saddle (1993); Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet: Make It Funky God (1994); (EC) Nudes: Vanishing Point (1994); Pale Nudes: Wise To The Heat (1995);Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet & Ne Zhdali: Pollo d'Oro (1996), Box (1996); FoMoFlo: Slub & Firearms (1995), No.11 (1996); Science Group: ...a mere coincidence... (1997); Pale Nudes: Soul Come Home (1997); More Spoot (i piu grandi successi) (1997); Die Knoedel with Amy Denio: Non Lo So, Polo (1998); Greatest Hits (1999); Danubians (1999); Tattoo (2000); George Cartwright: The Memphis Years (2000); Amy Denio & Francisco Lopez: Belle Confusion 00 (2000); Amy Denio & Petunia: To Lie Tenderly (2000); Amy Denio & Eyvind Kang: TASOGARE (Twilight) (2001); Les Voix Vulgaires (2001); Quintetto alla Busara (2001);Chickenhawks Ought Not (2002); The Tiptons: Short Cuts (2003); Nocturnis (2003); The Tiptons: Tsunami (2004); Amy Denio & Martin Hayes: Vivian Girls (2004)
Single contributions to compilation recordings worldwide, as follows:
Act of Being Polite (Eyesore: A Residents Sampler); Ambaraba Ci Ci Co Co (Coat-Tail Rec. Compilation); Da (Lacmayer's Island); Dishwasher (Cage/Uncaged); Eggy Shaggy (Passed Normal #5); Exiles (Zattere Alla Deriva); Hey Hey #1, #2, #3, Ambaraba Ci Ci Co Co (Dice 2: She Says); Long Song; Partial Gravity (Enhanced Gravity CD-ROM); Traffic Island Psycho ((Y)earbook #3); Traffic Island Psycho (Isole Che Parlano); Your Condition (Naked In The Afternoon: A Tribute To Jandek); Amy Denio & Jeroen Visser: Seafaring (Hallelujah, Anyway: A Tribute to Tom Cora); Amy Denio & Viola Kramer: Flight Path (Poetic Silhouettes); BTMSQ: All Manic (My Kind Of Blues); BTMSQ: Az Du Furst Avek (Lives; A Pointless Night Out); BTMSQ: Air Drone (Lives; A Pointless Night Out); BTMSQ: Big Beat (Wie Es Ihr Gefaellt); BTMSQ: Mu (Sun Ra: Wavelength Infinity); BTMSQ: Tri-Monk (Outloud); Couch of Sound: Lousy In The Tropics (Secretions); Couch of Sound: No Cry (Lacmayer's Island); DeDuo: Whisper (A Far Cry); Fred w/Amy Denio: Mad Furry Love/Golden Rule (Passed Normal #4); Fred w/Amy Denio: Spa Club (Passed Normal #7); Fred w/Amy Denio: Tons of Buns (Passed Normal #5); Tone Dogs: Big Beat (Passed Normal #5); Tone Dogs: Brave It (Recommended Records Sampler, Vol.3 No.4); Pale Nudes: Wise To The Heat (Swiss Radio International Compilation CD); Pale Nudes: Les Sons Se Repondent (Stop Aids Songs)
As sideperson:
Danny Barnes: Dirt On The Angel (2003); Nicholas Vroman: Periods and Question Marks) (2003); Laura Viers: Troubled by the Fire (2002); Ken Field: Pictures of Motion; Jinmo: Takato; KMFDM: Down And Out; The Minus Five: How Many Bones; Frank Pahl: O, O Doc; Mary Lydia Ryan: Devil With Wings/Self Control/Liar; Gitta Schaeffer: Trans Lucency; Joe Skyward: Skyward; Zar: Fiori Sul Ponte di Legno/Kad Bi Ove Ruze Male

Radio & TV Broadcasts:
Denio Concert & Interview (WMNF-FM, 2004)
Denio Interview (KUOW-FM, 2004)
Denio Interview (France Radio International, Sofia Bulgaria, 2003)
Denio Interview & Special (Radio Travnik, Bosnia, 2003)
Kultur Shock (KEXP-FM, 2002)
Denio & Danny Barnes & Orville Johnson (KPFA-FM, 2002)
Kultur Shock (KUOW-FM, 2002)
Denio Solo (KPFA-FM, 2001)
Denio Solo (WMNF-FM, 2000)
Pale Nudes (Swiss National Television-FM, 1999)
Denio Special (KGNU-FM, 1999)
Denio Special (WMNF-FM, 1999)
Naked Slime Duo (KEPX-FM, 1998)
All Things Considered (NPR Special on Denio-FM, 1999)
Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophnoe Quartet (Sicilian National TV, 1996)
False Prophets or Just Dang Good Guessers (KEXP-FM, 1996)
The Seattle Sound (for RAI 3, commissioned by Italian National Radio, 1995)
The Seattle Sound (broadcast throughout Europe, 1995-1998)
Pale Nudes (RAI 3, Italian National Radio, 1996)
Pale Nudes (KPFA-FM, 1995)
4 Accordionists of the Apocalypse (West Deutsche Rundfunk, 1996)
Pale Nudes (Berlin TV, 1995)
Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (KPFA-FM, 1995)
Sonic Renegades (West Deutsche Rundfunk, 1992)
Brave New Waves (CBC-FM Special on Denio, 1992)
Played bass and acted in film "Shredder Orpheus" (1987)
The Beat (Kultur Shock live on KUOW-FM, 2002)
The Entropics (live on KCTS-TV, 1987)
Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (KCTS-TV, 1992)

Film and televsision soundtracks:
I&I (Jeff Bickford Dance, 1990); Saxhouse (Pat Graney Dance, 1991); Sit Still (Run/Remain Ensemble, 1992); Faith (Pat Graney Dance, 1992); Sherman Preludes (Run/Remain Ensemble, 1994); Windows (Pete Vogt film, 1994); The Seattle Sound (for Italian National Radio, 1995); Approaching No Calm (David Dorfman Dance, 1995); Pangaea's Brood (Thomas Edward Film, 1996); Twilight & The Grove (Jeff Bickford Dance, 1997); Into The Tumbling Ocean (Jeff Bickford Dance, 1997); Sky Down (David Dorfman Dance, 1997); Survival Skills (TV Pilot, 2001); TASOGARE (Twilight) (Yoko Murao Dance, 2001); Unfurled (Evelyn Jarosz Digital Video, 2001); White Girls (KT Niehoff/D9 Dance, 2002); The Other One (Aiko Kinoshita Dance, 2002); Against Ending (Victoria Marks Dance, 2002); Synchrony in Estrus (Thomas Edward Film, 2002); Planet Love: The Colour of Love (Biljana Tanurovska Digital Video, 2002); Nocturnis (Li Chiao-Ping Dance, 2003); The Naked Proof (Jamie Hook feature film, 2003); The Vivian Girls (Pat Graney Dance, 2004)

Unissued Films/Videos:
Women in Jazz (Kaye Raye film)
The Seamstress & The Officers (Kultur Shock music video) USA 2002
Mastika (Kultur Shock music video) USA 2002
Parking (FoMoFlo music video) Italy 1997
Big Beat (Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet music video) USA 1994
Vexed at the Vogue (Tone Dogs music video) USA 1991
Concerts filmed in N. America, Europe, Japan, India, Brazil and Argentina 1987-present

Unissued recordings:
Surveillance CD
False Prophets or Just Dang Good Guessers CD
Amy Denio & ZU CD
Naked Slime Duo live on Sonarchy

Newspaper Articles/Book Chapters about Denio (omitting numerous reviews)
Expose (Issue No.20, October, 2000) Amy Denio Tells It Like It Is, by Jerome Schmidt
Seattle Arts (Volume 23 No.2 Spring 2000) Art Is All Around You: Capitol Hill Artists Speak Out
The Rocket (Volume 317, January 12-16, 2000) Alive in the Superunknown, by Chris Nickson
Blowup Magazine #10 (March, 1999) Seconda parte dell'avventura in musica di Amy Denio, by Roberto Municchi (in Italian)
Blowup Magazine #9 (January/February, 1999) Amy Denio: A Beautiful Western "Sadness", by Roberto Municchi (in Italian)
Thicker (No. 5) Amy Denio Rhymes with Ohio, by Pete Comley
Albuquerque Tribune (November 19,1999) Musician Thinks Audiences Should Take Risks on Music, by Shelby C. Chant
Rag & Bone (Volume 6, May 1998) Amy Denio in Japan, by Headbone
The Weekly Planet (March 26-April 1, 1998) Eclectic Avenue, by Eric Snider
Plunderphonics 'Pataphysics + Pop Mechanics: An Introduction to Musique Actuelle (SAF, U.K. 1997) Denio chapter by Andrew Jones
The Asian Age (1 October, 1997) Strains of Death Haunt Jazz Musician, by Kumuda Dorai
Eugene Register-Guard (April 11-17, 1997) World is Musician's Oyster, by Elaine Beebe
Billboard (June 29, 1996) Women In Jazz: Music on Their Terms, by Carrie Borzillo, Bill Holland, Marilyn Gillen, and Melinda Newman
Focus (March 19-April 1, 1996) What The Men Don't Know...What The Girls Understand, by Virginia Bay Area Express (January 12, 1996) Sax and Gender, by Derk Richardson
ReedCreative Loafing (May, 1995) Under The Dress, by Andy Pierce
Seattle Weekly (February 22, 1995) New Jazz City, by Roberta Penn
El Nacional (January 28, 1995) Amy Denio, Multiplicidad de Voces, by David Cortes (in Spanish)
Request Magazine (December, 1994) The 10 Strongest, Smartest Women in Music, by Elisabeth Vincentelli
Option Magazine (No.58, September/October 1994) Sing the Body Eclectic: Amy Denio's Works in Musiche (No. 15, Spring/Summer 1994) The Nudes, ecc., by Sergio Amadori (in Italian)
Seattle Weekly (March 16, 1994) Singing in Tongues - New Music: Amy Denio romps around the Musical World, by Ted Fry
Seattle Gay News (September 1, 1994) Bus Horn Concerto, by Sally J. Clark
ND Magazine (August, 1992) Amy Denio, by Rob Forman
Wire (KCMU Program Information Guide, March/April 1991) Amy Denio Follows Her Heart to the Corners of the Globe, by Raven Gildea
Washington Magazine (July/August, 1990) Amy Denio: The Avant Goddess, by Kathy Witkowsky
Cassette Mythos, edited by Robin James (Autonomedia, 1990) Of Moles and Canning Factories, by Amy Denio
Marquee (No. 070) FoMoFlo interview (in Japanese)
Marquee (No. 064) Amy Denio: Step Across the Borderess (in Japanese)

http://www.rootsworld.com/freereed/2002/denio.shtml (profile, 2002)
http://www.emplive.com/archives/index.asp?section=intv&id=179&pg=1 (interview, 2001)
http://www.columbiagypsy.net/gino.htm (interview, 2001)
http://www.rootsworld.com/freereed/2001/denio.html (profile, 2001)
http://www.csindy.com/csindy/1999-11-18/ispy.html (interview, 1999)
http://www.smoe.org/ectoguide/artists/d/denio.amy.html (profile)
http://www.scaruffi.com/vol5/denio.html (profile)
http://museeks.com/artists/1/Amy_Denio.html (profile)
http://www.deeplistening.org/DLArtists/accordiontribeII.html (profile)
http://www.rattaymusic.de/releases/Cuneiform/Danubians.html (profile)
http://petit.sebastien.free.fr/denio.html (profile in French)
http://www.datacomm.ch/mik/smd/p/palenudes.html (profile in German)
http://www.kunstradio.at/1995B/7_12_95.html#2 (profile in German)
http://www.kunstradio.at/BIOS/deniobio.html (profile in German and English)
http://www.spaziocultura.it/cultura/musica/amy_denio.htm (profile in Italian)
http://www15.tok2.com/home/toshimakihara/amydenio.htm (interview in Japanese)
http://www.republika.pl/nimal/biografie/amy%20denio.html (profile in Polish)
http://www.mancs.hu/legfrissebb.tdp-azon=9844kritika3.htm (profile in Hungarian)

2003 Civitella Ranieri Fellowship Umbertide, Italy
1997 Bessie Award for Composition David Dorfman Dance "Sky Down" Soundtrack (New York Dance and Performance Award)
1999 "Best Animated Film" NY Underground Film Festival Thomas Edward "Pangaea's Brood"
1993 Golden Eagle Award, Houston Film Festival Peter Vogt "Windows"
1990 Seattle Arts Commission Individual Artist Award
Denio has received numerous grants for her creative work from Artist Trust, ArtsLink, Arts International, Mary Flagler Charitable Trust, King County Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle METRO Artists Regional Transportation Project, Seattle Arts Commission, Washington State Arts Commission, and Washington State Cultural Enrichment Program.

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