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"COLLECTED DREAMS CD review"

DAMON DENTON (arranger/composer/synthesizers) ~ ADAM FREY (euphonium)

"............haunting and revelatory. There's a deeply spiritual feeling to this CD that radiates and penetrates even the hardest skeptic. The balance is perfect between the lush keyboard arrangements, and the euphonium, sometimes it's hard to know when one ends and the other begins, as on "Ye Banks and Braes" or on Bach's "Arioso". Whether we're listening to classic melodies like "Danny Boy", "Shenandoah", or "Amazing Grace", this recording is crowd pleasing and astute, simultaneously, in its artistry, musicality and singularity. Forget all those meditation, new age, pre-packaged commercial CD's, do yourself a favor and pick up some real music that crosses over. This is a recording that should be selling out in music stores across the country.

William Gregory, www.Midwest-Ursine.com




- Midwest-Urskine.com


"Shostakovich Concerto No. 1"

The second movement is morbidly dreamy, and its final measures have never sounded so beautiful! Pianist Damon Denton scampers through Shostakovich's figurations with a keen ear for melody and texture. He and the conductor favor changeable tempos, and so the music is less rigid than it can be, too. The trumpeter, Fred Mills, is an alumnus of the Canadian Brass, and even he seems determined to add weight to a work often dismissed as lightweight.

Raymond Tuttle
http://www.classical.net/~music/recs/reviews/p/phx00150a.html - Classical Net Review


"Shostakovich Concerto No. 1"

Next comes a First Piano Concerto that is as unlike Shostakovich's own recorded recitals as one could imagine. "Inauthentic" it may be, but I honestly cannot remember another performance of the work that I've enjoyed more! Hats off to young American pianist Damon Denton for conveying the tongue-in-cheek nature of his lines in the first movement without recourse to overt buffoonery. He is also to be commended for his expert characterisation of the divergent voices he is called upon to represent simultaneously.

W. Mark Roberts


http://www.dschjournal.com/reviews/reviews16.htm#op35 - dsch journal/Shostakovich Society


"Concerto Night ~ The Arlington Theater"

"Denton, with his no-nonsense approach and self assurance, gave a bravura performance (Tchaikovsky Concerto no. 1) leaving his listeners clamoring for more. BRILLIANT!

Bert Willard - Santa Barbara Press


"International Piano Competition ~ Pretoria, South Africa"

"Denton has a huge range of tone and articulation....." - PRETORIA NEWS, South Africa


"Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5 ~ MACON OPERA HOUSE"

Damon Denton was the stand out of the three performers. The cadenza passages were played as if a walk in the park for him, with the same elan found in the original" - MACON TELEGRAPH


"Damon Denton ~ THE CLASSIC CENTER"

"Denton transforms the piano into a mirror of the human soul....."
M.A. BARNES - ATHENS BANNER HERALD


"Damon Denton"

"One of the Nations best pianists" - CNNews


"MSO's series opener wows its audience"

Oliver Wendell Holmes said that life is a romantic business. Composers of the Romantic era seemed to agree. Music of this period is imbued with all the urgency and fervor of life.

The Macon Symphony Orchestra bought the Romantic era into the present Saturday night with the first in this year's Masterworks Series.

The program opened with the overture from Verdi's opera "The Force of Destiny." In selecting this as the opening piece, music director Adrian Gnam set the stage for what was to follow. Full bar rests before and after each theme section were more than mere structural glue as Gnam drew them out into expectant pauses. The clarinet solos in the third section were excellent, as was the horn chorale. From this point onward, Gnam drove the orchestra to a frenzied climax.

This set the stage for the showpiece of the program, Rachmaninoff's well-loved "Second Piano Concerto," with soloist Damon Denton.

The first movement was slightly marred by ensemble and balance problems, but these were soon eclipsed by the sheer magic of the sound Denton coaxed from the piano. The clarinet solo in the second movement was achingly beautiful with swelling and ebbing phrases that, try as it might, no piano can ever match. Instead of imitating the clarinet, Denton aptly chose to exploit the character of the piano when his turn at this theme arrived.

The sumptuousness of Rachmaninoff's writing tempts soloists and conductors to gush in a histrionic manner. A warm yet straightforward interpretation by Denton and Gnam allowed the romance to glow but not flame too soon. The real fire was reserved for the third and final movement.

The opening piano solos of the finale are fiendish in their technical difficulty, but Denton proved equal to the demand. His execution was superb. He also maintained a rhythmic drive that gave the listener the impression of being caught in white-water rapids. Occasional pools of liquid serenity were temporary relief, but Denton made them serve as counterfoil to the tumultuous urgency that infused the entire movement and drove it to a final, thundering climax. If life is truly a romantic business, then one would have to be dead to be able to hear this work without feeling moved.

Brahms' "Symphony No. 4" formed the second half of the program. Though the orchestra lacked focus at first, by the third movement it had gained its second wind. The finale was of such intensity that the audience demanded an encore.

After the drama of the program, there could be no better choice of encore than Wagner. The "Prelude to the Third Act of Lohengrin" with its explosive brass, pastoral wind section and soaring strings energized the audience to sustained applause and keen anticipation of the next concert.

- MACON TELEGRAPH


"PIANIST DAZZLES AUDIENCE"

"To a packed house, Damon just wowed the audience with the dynamic pieces performed at lightening speed ........He presented quite a versatile program of Bach, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Grovlez and Scriabin with apparent ease and elegance......my pick was Liszt's Mephisto Waltz.....Damon Denton was brilliant....any other description just doesn't tell the story..."

- ATHENS BANNER HERALD


Discography

SHOSTAKOVICH PIANO CONCERTO No. 1, Fred Mills, trumpet (Canadian brass)~Phoenix records

COLLECTED DREAMS-New Age
Original ambient synthesized arrangements based on irish, scottish, american traditional, folk, and civil war melodies.... including Danny Boy, Shenendoah, Amazing Grace, Ye Banks and Braes, The Swan, Shall we Gather at the River, etc...

Photos

Bio

"Denton weaves the piano into a mirror of the human soul" (Athens Daily News) Damon Denton graduated from the Juilliard School in New York City with a M.M. as piano faculty assistant to reknowned Russian pianist Mme. Oxana Yablonskaya. Prior to Juilliard he received his B.M. from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His major teachers have included Oxana Yablonskaya, Julian Martin, Lillian Freundlich, Ann Schein, Ilana Vered, and Raymond Dudley.

As a young artist Mr. Denton was a winner of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Young Soloist Competitions; the Peabody Recital Competition and the Peabody Conservatory "Concours"; the Music Academy of the West and Aspen Summer Music Festival's Concerto Competitions; the First National Young Keyboard Artist's Competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the Fourth International Piano Competition held in Pretoria, South Africa, Mr. Denton was the only American pianist passed through to the final round. His SABC televised performance of Prokofieff's Piano Concerto No. 3 live from the State Theater with the National Symphony Orchestra brought superb reviews and one of the competition's top prizes. ("Denton has a huge range of tone and articulation..." Pretoria News).

Concerto performances of note include Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra; Bach Brandenburg No. 5 and Gershwin Concerto in F with the Macon Symphony Orchestra; Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1, Poulenc "Aubade", and Gershwin Concerto in F with the Philharmonica de Queretaro in Mexico. A Cd Disk recording of Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with Fred Mills, trumpet, and the ARCO Chamber Orchestra, is presently out on the Phoenix label.

Most recently, Mr. Denton was piano concerto soloist in the Macon Symphony Orchestra's "Masterworks Series", presenting the opening concert with Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Macon Grand Opera House (The Macon Telegraph: "... ....A warm yet straightforward interpretation...rhythmic drive...tumultuous urgency...drove the third movement to a final, thundering climax............Superb...........Sheer Magic!")

Solo performance highlights include concerts at: Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall; Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall; University of South Africa at Pretoria;Leighton House Museum, London; the United Nations in NYC, among others. Mr. Denton is pianist for lyric coloratura soprano, Jeanine Thames, worldwide. To his great pleasure he was also collaborative studio pianist and personal friend of the great international opera star, Anna Moffo, in New York City. He currently resides in Athens, Georgia where he is frequently a guest artist at the University of Georgia, the State Botanical Gardens and the Classic Center. This past month he returned from concerts in Capetown, South Africa, where his CD is in rotation on national radio.