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Deby Benton-Grosjean - Biography

Fiddler, Performer, & Educator

Deby Benton Grosjean is a Celtic fiddler who combines the precision of classical technique with the freedom of traditional music. Having studied orchestration at University of California Santa Cruz, Deby weaves her fiddle skills throughout varied ensemble settings.

Besides her well-received debut CD Beyond the Shore she has appeared on many other recordings including Celtic Requiem (Windham Hill), Green Woods (Real Music), Celtic Tidings (North Star), The Priest and the Acrobat (Orbital Arts), Celtic Echoes (Harper Grove), The Offering (Wild Dove), and Gourd Music’s Celtic Sessions, The Crooked Road and Music on the Mountain. She joins Gourd label recording artists on two film scores, A Midwife’s Tale (Laurie Kahn-Leavitt) and Not for Ourselves Alone (Ken Burns) viewed on PBS. Deby co-produced music for an ecological documentary recently viewed in Boston, Fishing for the Future (Compass Light, Inc.). Thrice, Deby has recorded for NPR on the program “Echoes” hosted by John Diliberto. She is recently published in a music book along with forty great fiddlers of our time in Mel Bay’s 2000 Fiddle. Deby is author of a new book that will be released later this year by Mel Bay Publications, Celtic Encyclopedia Fiddle Edition (MB98248).

Deby’s resplendent fiddling teams up with many diverse performance groups locally and nationally. She appears annually on the highly acclaimed national tour of A Celtic Christmas with Irish storyteller, Tomáseen Foley and his troupe. Performing regularly with William Coulter and Barry & Shelley Phillips she often tours nationally in the spring at university concert halls. She loves to fiddle for happy feet. Her fiddling accompanies Irish step dancers on the touring stage. She plays for local Contra dances, English Country’s The Playford Ball, and at numerous Highland Games with the White Heather Cape Breton Step Dancers. She is prominent in the Scottish Country dance scene playing for large events at formal Scottish balls. Often accompanied by well-known pianist, Andy Imbrie, she plays at the San Francisco Calendonia Society’s Jean Patrick Memorial Ball and regularly at the Asilomar Scottish Country Dance Retreat. In addition, she enjoys fiddling with companions in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers directed by Alasdair Fraser.

Deby has reigned as the Pacific Coastal Scottish Fiddle Champion since 1995, and is an award-winner in national competitions as well. A teacher of distinction, Deby is fortunate for many years to be on the faculty at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. For over twenty years, she has conducted orchestras and taught string players in the Cabrillo Strings/Suzuki Music Program at Cabrillo College, California. In the summer, Deby teaches and assists in the running of two Celtic Music Camps, one for teens and another for children through Community Music of Santa Cruz.

Her love of the sea finds Deby with her avid sailor husband aboard their English designed yacht on California’s Monterey Bay.

Deby Benton Grosjean P.O. Box 1363, Aptos CA 95001 831-761-8228 Debyfiddler@gmail.com

Some of her current involvements include:

Teaching for several summers at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School located at Camp Cambell, in Santa Cruz County and directed by Indie Award recording artist, Alasdair Fraser. Besides leading lessons on fiddle tunes, and teaching fiddle classes for kids, some of the workshops she taught included specific technique on double stops, bouncing bows, dynamics and Deby's 10 Steps To Vibrato.

Celebrating her 19 year involvement with Cabrillo Strings Suzuki Music Program's 20 year anniversary with a grand performance in the Cabrillo College Theater on March 14, 1998. Deby is orchestrating an arrangement of Celtic music for youth orchestras combining Shelley Phillip's students attended by Community Music School's Kid's Celtic Camp. This year the Cabrillo program is sponsored by a $15,500 grant from the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Developing Fiddle and Guitar Workshops with bluegrass/old timey guitarist Steve Palazzo. The popular workshop focused on backup techniques for both insturments.

Continuing to serve on the Cabrillo Suzuki Scholarship Advisory Board.

Directing several Introduction to Strings Workshops, a county-wide outreach project provided by funds from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. This course encouraged both child and parent participation exploring basic elements of music theory, rhythm, and hands on approach to familiarize students with whole violin family.

Participating for the instructor, Fred Squatrito's performance-lecture series "Correlation of the Arts" at Cabrillo College for adult students.

Coaching violins and violas in sectionals for the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony.

Teaching private lessons to all ages county-wide at several studios including at Popper-Keizer Advanced School for Children.

Arranging student recitals with an emphasis on a different theme, i.e.East European Musicale with special guests the Balkan Women's Chorus, and Musicale Française with special guest Daniel Steinburgh from "Hillbillies from Mars" on French vielle. The informal musicales are designed to both educate and entertain students and their families.

Contributing in fund-raising events to help support music education, i.e. In Celebration of Robert Burns' Birthday Concert in January 24, 1998 to benefit the Community Music School.

Leading students of all ages to perform Irish fiddle tunes at the Capitola Theater on Nov. 29 for Capitola Village's Celtic Festival winter/spring '98.

Click here to download a 150 dpi. promotional photo of Deby Benton Grosjean
Last Update: February , 2008
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