For those not familiar with this musical iconic family from northwest Ohio (Bowling Green, to be exact) one is in for an ear-bending revelation. These four violinist brothers encompass a vivid blend of bluegrass, classical, and rock genres.
Each brother is a classical virtuoso in his own right, and brings rich and diverse talents to their sound. As a family they have been making music together for over 25 years. They were named “Musical Family of America” in 1989 by presidential decree, were the subject of a nationally televised PBS documentary in 1993, and two brothers (Jason and Zach) were featured in the film documentary Music From the Inside Out in 2005. Their first album as brothers, Classical Grass, sold out of its first printing.
Coming together with Tony Trischka, Mark Cosgrove, Don Liuzzi and a variety of bass players, the band began performing and recording in 2004. Weapons of Grass Construction, with its progressive mix of genres, gives a direct nod to their bluegrass tradition and their classical training, while adding a deeper infusion of rock and blues.
BAND MEMBERS: Wallace DePue, Jason DePue, Alex DePue, Zach DePue, Kevin MacConnell (Bass), Don Liuzzi (Drums and vocals), Mark Cosgrove (Guitar), Mike Munford (Banjo).
MEET THE BAND
Wallace DePue received his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Violin Performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Wallace served as assistant principle of the Austin Lyric Opera Company 2000-2006; is presently assistant concertmaster of the Philly Pops; and most recently, toured as associate concertmaster of the John Williams’ “Star Wars” National Tour Concert Orchestra, and has performed as an extra violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Wallace is the band’s lead vocalist, and shows his vocal versatility by singing in three very distinctive styles on their new CD, Weapons of Grass Construction.
Alex DePue began studying classical violin at age five. He won his first university-level competition at age 10, and later (age 14) won a competition that entitled him to perform at Carnegie Hall as Concertmaster for the National Guild Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Joseph Silverstein. He has continued to win competitions and appear as a guest soloist with orchestras and at festivals worldwide.
Despite his classical training, Alex became interested in fiddling at age seven and began competing in “fiddle” contests. He reigned as the Michigan State Fiddling Champion from 1994-1998; won the first-place trophy at the Walnut Valley National Fiddling Championship in Winfield, Kansas in 1999 and 2005; won first place in the Halletsville, TX “Gone to Texas National Fiddling Championship” in 2000; won first place in the Alabama state fiddle contest in 2006 and 2007; and won first place in the California state fiddle contest in 2007. Also in 2006, he was deemed, “Fiddle King” in Athens, AL (Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention). Alex served as a judge at the National Oldtime Fiddling Championship (Weiser, ID) in 2008 and in 2010 and 2011 he won first place in the Twin Fiddle division with Sedra Bistodeau while ranking among the Top 10 finalists in the Grand National Championship division. Alex toured as Musical Director/Fiddler with Capitol Recording artist Chris Cagle from 2000-2006, with whom he still regularly appears (re-runs) on the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Television, Great American Country and VH1 Country.
In 2007, Mr. DePue joined legendary rock guitarist Steve Vai for a world tour that took him across North America, South America and Europe. Alex’s YouTube (www.youtube.com) videos are from all parts of the globe, and his #1 YouTube hit, 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' (originally recorded by the 80's rock band, Yes) has been viewed worldwide over four million times (re-posting). 2010 continued celebration for Vai's 2009 DVD release, “Steve Vai: Where the WILD THINGS Are” (a live concert music-movie co-featuring DePue), its Grammy nomination (Best Rock Instrumental) for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards and Gold Record (award issued to each band/cast member) from the Recording Industry Association of America in recognition of “Gold” sales status in both the US and Canada (Platinum Award from the Canadian Recording Industry Association). Also that year Alex performed with actor/singer, Kevin Costner.
Alex recently teamed up with Mexican guitarist Miguel De Hoyos. Their unique international sound has been praised by elected politicians and officials in the country of Mexico and their spectacular musical performances are being extolled by popular English-written Mexican publications such as the Gringo Gazette, Baja Times as well as much press from US publications (i.e. San Diego Union-Tribune, etc.). Alex and Miguel, “DePue/DeHoyos”, released their first recording 'Underground Whispers” in 2009 and their most recent recording, “Twisted Strings”, are both available online at www.thefiddlerllc.com .
With the increasingly popular, “DePue Brothers Band” (www.depuebrothersband.com), including all violin-playing DePues, Wallace Jr. (Concertmaster, Philadelphia Pops), Jason (1st Vln. Philadelphia Orchestra) and Zachary (Concertmaster, Indianapolis Symphony), Alex played on the soundtrack and composed one of the pieces for the Philadelphia Orchestra documentary, “Music from the Inside Out”, and also records for NFL Films.
In 2011, Alex DePue launched “The DePue Brothers’ International Fiddle Competition” to benefit his home town's music programs through Bowling Green City Schools (OH) and also released his second solo recording, STAGES, on which he is performing all instruments heard.
With a background in classical violin, fiddling and rock; as well as his ability to play not only the violin but also the viola, mandolin, guitar, bass, drums and piano, Alex is an artist who can produce any style of music.
Jason DePue is a member of the first violin section of The Philadelphia Orchestra. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Jason is a musician of intense colorful variety. He has performed live concerts of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin, as well as the complete Paganini 24 Caprices. He concertizes with The DePue Brothers Band annually with their enjoyable ``Magical, Grassical Christmas`` tour, performing arrangements, originals, and classics from their newly released holiday album titled ``When It's Christmas Time`` (five music videos from this album can be viewed on Jason's YouTube channel). For the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2014 Opening Night Gala last October, The DePue Brothers Band were honored to be featured guests in which four original arrangements of Jason's were premiered.
In musical leadership roles, Jason was concertmaster of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland under James Levine, the New York String Seminar under Jamie Laredo, the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Music Symphony Festival Orchestra in Chautauqua, NY, among others.
An active chamber musician on both violin and viola, Jason continues to cultivate artistic events in many venues in the Philadelphia area. He attended the Isaac Stern Workshop at Carnegie Hall (and also studied privately with Mr. Stern in NYC), Jerusalem Music Encounters in Israel, the Ravinia, La Jolla, Kingston, Sarasota, Chautauqua, Encore, and St. Baarth’s chamber music festivals. He has soloed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Cleveland Philharmonic, Columbus, Toledo, Lima, and Springfield of Ohio Symphonies; the Chautauqua (NY), and WYSO (Interlochen) orchestras among others. An active teacher, his students have enjoyed full tuition scholarships to top music schools such as Juilliard, and Starling Scholarship opportunities to area Philadelphia Music schools. Formerly a resident of Center City Philadelphia for 20 years, he recently moved to Elkins Park's ``Little Israel``, where he lives with his wife, Dr. Zhihui Sun, and cat Copi. His viola is made by Fred Warren, of Findlay, Ohio, ca 1984; his violin is made by Charles Francois Gand, France, ca 1825. Born and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio, principle violin teachers include Boris Brant, Vasile Beluska, David Cerone, and William de Pasquale.
Zachary DePue is formerly a first violinist with The Philadelphia Orchestra and a graduate of the Curtis Institute. Zach is now the Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and a founding member of the classically trained garage band/trio Time For Three.
Kevin MacConnell, Bassist. Living in the Philadelphia area since 1982, Kevin has performed with jazz greats, Mel Torme, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams, as well as a wide variety of other international performers such as, Natalie Cole, Marilyn McCoo, Diahann Caroll, Merv Griffin and opera diva, Denyce Graves. He has performed and recorded with tenor saxophonist, Earnie Watts and local jazz legends, Larry McKenna and Tony Miceli, with whom he performs regularly. No stranger to the classical scene, Kevin has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and many classical ensembles in and around the area.
Kevin has also spent a significant amount of time in the theaters of Philadelphia, having done productions at the Walnut, Merriam and most notably the Prince Theater, where he had the opportunity to work with the late Cy Coleman on his last show, ``The Great Ostrovsky``.
He began performing with DePue Brothers Band in 2007, and performs on occasion with Mark Cosgrove's band, Good Medicine.
Don Liuzzidrums & vocals
Don Liuzzi, drums and vocals, is the principal timpanist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and a Yamaha Artist. He teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music, plays in Philorch Jazz sextet, POPG percussion group, and has two solo percussion and chamber music CD releases ``Movement in Time,`` and ``Zones`` on Equilibrium Records. He also was the Music Director of the Philadelphia All City High School Orchestra, including their 2015 Italy Tour. Don is the founding conductor of the Curtis 20/21 New Music Ensemble, and is the current Music Director of the Main Line Symphony.
Mike Munford, banjo, was raised in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, and has been performing professionally for 35 years. Along with the DePue Brothers Band, he currently tours with Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. He has recorded and performed with Peter Rowan on the grammy nominated Bluegrass Boy. He has recently toured with Tony Trischka for his ``Double Banjo Spectacular`` show. Mike has also been on three U.S. State Department tours to Central Asia with an earlier D.C based band, and has most recently toured again with Peter Rowan throughout Australia & Japan. Mike's banjo style is a true blend of traditional and contemporary, in the Trischka/Fleck model, but with a style and fluidity all his own.
Jordan Tice is an accomplished guitarist and prolific composer of acoustic music based in Nashville. He has released 3 records of original music to rave reviews and has performed or recorded with Tony Trischka, The Dave Rawlings Machine, Steve Martin, and the Duhks. He currently records and tours solo as well as with the acoustic power trio, Haas Kowert Tice in addition to his work as a sideman with many artists around the US. Visit JordanTice.com for more info.
Mark Cosgrove has one of the most distinctive and creative Flat-picking guitar sounds on the scene today. He is known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic, through both his solo work, and as a sideman and session player for Jerry Douglas and others. He has won the US National Flat-picking Guitar Championship in Winfield, KS, and also the Doc Watson Guitar Championship in Wilkesboro, NC. Mark is a regular with the David Bromberg Band. His last solo CD ``Unencumbered`` can be found on www.mcosgrove.com.
OCCASIONAL SPECIAL GUESTS
Tony Trischka (Special Guest) – Perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world, Tony is a Grammy nominated, critically acclaimed recording artist and performer. For almost 40 years, his music has inspired generations of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. Considered one of the banjo’s best practitioners, he is also one of its most respected and sought after instructors having authored 16 books and 4 DVDs. He is currently overseeing the Tony Trischka School of Banjo, a cutting edge, on-line, interactive, instructional website with a world-wide reach. His most recent releases, “Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular” and “Territory,” have climbed the charts to prove, once again, that Tony is one of the most innovative banjo players of our day.
Harold Robinson joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal bass in September 1995. He previously served as principal bass with the National Symphony from 1985 to 1995, and he also served as assistant principal bass of the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1977-85) and principal bass of the New Mexico Symphony (1975-77, then known as the Albuquerque Symphony).
A prizewinner at the 1982 Isle of Man Solo Competition, Mr. Robinson has performed concertos with the Houston Symphony and Houston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, the American Chamber Orchestra, and the Greenville (SC) Orchestra.
A native of Houston, Texas, Mr. Robinson studied at Northwestern University and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He is currently the bass instructor at the Curtis Institute of Music and has given recitals and master classes throughout the United States, Korea, Japan, and Europe.
Don Shean has been substituting with the DePue Brothers Band for the past three years. He has been performing country, bluegrass, and southern gospel music since the late 1970s throughout the eastern half of the United States. A few of his favorite performances include appeaerances on Garrison Keillor's ``A Prairie Home Companion`` and NPR's ``Mountain Stage``; a cameo on NBC's ``West Wing``; and dates with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Pops. Mr. Shean is a two-time winner of the Maryland State Banjo Championship and is a highly sought-after instructor. His 35 years of teaching experience includes faculty positions at both the National Guitar Workshop and the Augusta Heritage Workshop at Davis & Elkins College.
David Cullen is a Grammy Award Winner for Best Pop Instrumental Recording. He has performed with Will Ackerman, Samite, Tracy Silverman, Darol Anger, The DePue Brothers Band and Michael Manring. David also has played with The Jaco Big Band and with the Philly Pops.
David has performed in a dazzling wide range of styles including Classical, Jazz, and World Music. David has performed throughout North America for Classical Guitar Societies, Jazz Festivals, and Performing Arts Series. He has released 10 CDs for the acoustic guitar label Solid Air Records. David Cullen’s recordings have been featured on NPR stations across America. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the Hartt School of Music. David is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Elizabethtown College working with Music Therapy and Music Education majors. He teaches Jazz and Classical Guitar at West Chester University.
David also teaches guitar to Music Business and Music Technology students at Millersville University. Recording work also includes the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler and other Windham Hill Compilation CDs. David has released 2 books through Warner Brothers Publications; Jazz, Classical, and Beyond as well as Grateful Guitar. His performance DVD Jazz, Classical and Beyond features multi-camera angles and lessons.