The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 3, 2013

Versatile violinists will mix genres at local venue

BY RUTH RICE
RRICE@TRIBDEM.COM

JOHNSTOWN — A family of virtuoso violinists blends several music genres.

DePue Brothers Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 19 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.

The musical family of Bowling Green, Ohio, features four brothers – Alex, Jason, Wallace and Zach. Their music encompasses a blend of bluegrass, classical and rock genres.

Each brother is a classical virtuoso and brings rich and diverse talents.

For the Johnstown concert, only Alex and Jason will perform with the band.

“We often are mixing and matching who will perform any given concert due to varying schedules,” said Don Liuzzi, percussionist and band manager. “We’re normally a sextet with two violins fronting the band.”

Alex DePue has been described as one of the leading improv violinists of his generation, with legendary prowess in bluegrass, rock, classical and jazz/blues.

He began studying classical violin at age 5 and won his first university-level competition at age 10.

At 14, he won a competition that entitled him to perform at Carnegie Hall as concertmaster for the National Guild Youth Symphony Orchestra.  

Despite his classical training, he became interested in fiddling when he was 7 and began competing in and winning fiddle competitions.

“Alex will improvise a sample of what it’s like at a fiddle competition,” Liuzzi said. “It takes specific timing and has to be under five minutes.”

Alex DePue also will lead the band and perform his arrangements of “Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland and “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

Jason DePue is a member of the first violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was a former concertmaster of the New York Seminar.

He will perform his version of “Beautiful Evening.”

In addition to Liuzzi, who is principal timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music, other band members will be Mark Cosgrove on guitar, Kevin MacConnell on upright bass and Mike Munford on banjo.

Cosgrove will perform his compositions, which have been classified as new grass.

The concert also will feature the brothers’ arrangement of a Civil War ballad and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach and end with the brothers’ arrangement of the bluegrass classic “Orange Blossom Special.”

“We’re not pure bluegrass,” Liuzzi said. “It’s a mix of classical, folk and rock. It’s another kind of music, four or five kinds of music.”  

The band’s CD is titled “Weapons of Grass Construction.”

Pulling strings

Who: DePue Brothers Band.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

When: 7:30 p.m. April 19.

Tickets: $28, $31 and $35 for adults and $10 for students.

Information: 269-7200, 800-846-2787 or www.upjarts.org.

 

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