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Deanna Witkowski
Deanna Witkowski  Biography
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Biography
Deanna Witkowski, composer/pianist/vocalist, draws her inspiration from a variety of musical influences. Originally from Chicago, she discovered Jazz while attending Wheaton College and soon after graduating performed with William Russo’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Rob Parton’s Jazztech Big Band and the all-female sextet 'She.' Her interests in World Music led her to studies with Cuban piano masters Chucho Valdés and Hilario Duran, as well as spending time in Western Kenya teaching piano. Combining her intense interest in Jazz and Afro-Latin forms with her own Western classical training on piano and flute, her richly textured music reflects all of her diverse influences.

Moving to New York City in the Fall of 1997, Deanna served as Musical Director at All Angels’ Episcopal Church for two years, composing or arranging over 30 works, including two Masses for gospel choir, brass/organ, Jazz trio and mixed choir. At the same time she continued her studies, exploring Brazilian Music with percussionist Vanderlai Pereira and expanding her piano vocabulary with pianists Fred Hersch and Sonny Bravo.

Witkowski’s recent exploits include being a finalist in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival’s Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 1997; a semifinalist in the 1998 American Jazz Piano Competition held in Indianapolis; and a semifinalist in the Montreux Jazz Festival Piano Solo Competition in 1999. Most recently, she led her own quintet at the Fifth Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in May 2000.

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