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Darryl Denning (Guitar)

Born: May 29, 1939 - Palmdale, California, USA

The American guitarist, Darryl Denning, studied first with Diego Del Monte in Santa Barbara (while Denning was a student at University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he received a B.A. with honors in mathematics in 1961). Del Monte was one of the accredited teachers of Vicente Gómez. Del Monte trained Denning in both Classical and Flamenco guitar. Denning made his graduate work at the University of California from 1962 to 1964. He continued his studies privately with Theodore Norman for many years, and studied with him for seven years at UCLA. Norman was especially skilled and influential in Contemporary Music. Denning studied the Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez with Spanish guitarist Renata Tarrago and her father (and her master teacher) Graciano Tarrago, in Barcelona in 1969. This gave Denning a deeper understanding of Spanish music. Denning met Robert Spencer (the other lutenist in the Julian Bream Consort) while studying at an Early Music seminar at Cambridge University in England in 1971. This led to many summers of studying with Spencer, which gave Denning greater depth in interpreting Early Music. He studied flamenco with Luis Maravilla in Madrid, and twice attended the Flamenco Institute at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Darryl Denning's formal concert career was launched by a debut in London's Wigmore Hall in 1975. The debut was preceded by four concerts in London, and interviews on the BBC and the London Broadcasting Corporation. Due to this extensive pre-concert publicity, Denning played to a full house. The concert was highly successful, and was very well reviewed by the Times of London, which praised the concert for "the high level of musicianship and the professionalism and insight of his performance."

Darryl Denning's first tour was in Mexico in 1971. This tour, which was conducted under the auspices of the United States Embassy in Mexico City, featured music for Guitar Duo (with guitarist Peter Kraus). Concerts were presented in Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Taxco, Morelia, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Hermosillo. He made a European tour in 1971 of music for Guitar Duo (with Peter Kraus) in conjunction with the Institute of European Studies in Vienna. Perfomances were in Strasbourg and Le Touquet in France, Blankenberg in Belgium, and Sierre in Switzerland. In 1972, Denning was invited for a return tour of Mexico by the United States Embassy (this time with guitarist Pritchard Kneubuhl). Concerts were given in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Puebla. Following his concert series and debut in London (1977-1978), Denning was signed as a soloist to do Community Concerts by Columbia Artists (1977-1978). He appeared throughout the Western USA for several years for Columbia Artists (1979-1987). He made tours of France and Italy in 1984, France in 1989, and Russia in 1990. He has also appeared with symphony orchestras throughout the USA.

In 1991, Darryl Denning toured Russia with the Occidental College Chorus in a program for voice, guitar and piano. Performances were given in Moscow, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and Kalinin (the film capital of Russia). Throughout the 1990's and the 2000's, Denning has concentrated on domestic concert series and performances both as soloist and as a chamber and Early Music musician. Some of the series have included the Los Angeles Bach Festival, The Dabney Lounge Chamber Series, The Southern California Early Music Series, and 30 annual Faculty Recitals at Occidental College. Concertos were performed with the Brentwood Symphony and the San Gabriel Symphony.

Pivotal to Darryl Denning's concert preparation, was his being invited to rehearse the Boccherini "Guitar Quintets" at Rudolf Serkin's Marlboro Festival in Vermont in 1967. Although still a student, Denning was able to work with famous names, such as cellist Alexander Schneider and violinist Felix Galimir. He also interacted with Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jaime Laredo, and Peter Serkin at the Festival. This same year, Denning also had the privilege to rehearse with the great cellist George Neikrug in Brussels.

Darryl Denning has recorded for Varese-Sarabande, Citadel, Legend and Vazan Records. His recordings include: "Music of Spain and Southern Aewrica"; "Miklos Rosza"; Two Worlds of the Classical Guitar" (1982). He has been heard on many independent film scores, and on the PBS production of Ramona for the Los Angeles History Project. He has been interviewd on the BBC in London, Mexican National Television, and Radio Spain in Madrid. His guitar reviews and articles have appeared in major national magazines, including Music Journal in New York, and his many guitar transcriptions include the Film Suite for Guitar with Miklós Rózsa.

Darryl Denning created the Classical Guitar Program at Occidental College in Los Angeles, in 1968, where he served as an Applied Professor of Music (Guitar) for 31 years. He created a similar Guitar Program at Caltech (The California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena in 1974, where he became a Lecturer in Music. At Caltech, he has also served as Music Program Coordinator and as Director of the Performing Arts (Music, Theater and Art). He taught Classical Guitar at UCLA Extension for seven years (1976-1983).

Source: Liner notes to the LP '' (Glendale Records, 1982); Derryl Danning Website; International Who's Who in Music & International Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2008)

Darryl Denning: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Darryl Denning, Classical Guitarist (Official Website)


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