"Christmas Concert, 2014"
I quit my classical piano training at age eleven, seeking a more glamorous life as a professional athlete. I still hear my father's words ringing clearly in my head, "someday you'll thank me," referring to the childhood piano training I so gladly abandoned.
An eighth grade football knee injury eventually proved detrimental to my childhood dream. Oh well!
High school brought new experiences, forming the band LIXX with a couple buddies with rock star ambitions. I grew my hair, sported parachute pants, bought a synthesizer with my neighborhood lawn mowing cash, and jammed to 80's tunes on LPs. Spending Friday nights at band practice and Saturdays gigging parties and dances, memories were definitely made!
Graduating high school in 1987 brought an element of retreat from the Chicago "big city" life....venturing out west with my mother and siblings to San Juan Island, Washington. Culture shock took hold, while nature and quiet times prevailed. My composing was born, as was my beautiful daughter Taylor. I endeavored to start my own recording studio and bought all the toys. Mellow Sounds Studio opened on San Juan Island in 1993, a popular haven for the island's many singer-songwriters and folk music artists.
My buddy and talented guitarist/songwriter Tom Henry taught me how to listen and mix and the islanders now had a place to record. My first release was "Ancient Sky" in 1994, an eclectic electronic blend of New Age piano, Native American influences (always a fav!) and even cutting edge rock instrumentals (starring Tom)... I was still wandering a bit musically, obviously! Engineering and producing other artists was relatively short lived, but a priceless experience. Realizing that a musical career would be forever limited on the island, I moved to Seattle in 1997.
At age 28, a trip back to Chicago to visit Dad led me to meet my second cousin Joann Bongiorno, a classical piano virtuoso whom I had only heard stories about. I sat down at her Baldwin baby grand and something special happened. No, I didn't perform magically for her (acoustic piano was a bit foreign to me at that time), but I was enamored by the power, simplicity, and enchanting sound of the instrument as a solo. From that day forward, my synthesizers began to acquire dust as I played my new Yamaha U1 upright acoustic piano.
A few months later I focused in on an album project, rented a grand, crammed it into my basement and spent three weeks diligently practicing and recording. "At Peace" ~ solo pianowas released in February 2001. The support for this CD was and still is surprising, if not stunning. I give great thanks to all who gave to it!
Life got busier, busier and busier. Taylor blossoming into a young lady, my career in the restaurant biz developing rapidly... life just seemed to get a bit more complicated each day. Retreats to the piano were much harder to come by. Compositions came together, but sometimes over periods of months. My ability to visualize and memorize carried me through these times, musically. I managed to abstain from reading or writing music with my sole intent being to improvise and create.
In 2002 I bought a baby grand, Mahogany Kawai KG-2D. My 17 years in the restaurant business had brought me a handsome salary with a great company. The more I played and composed, I longed more and more for a new CD to hand to my family, friends and handful of fans. My good friend and fellow pianistJoe Yamada put his home and glorious Kawai RX-7 concert grand at my disposal and I dove in head first.
My second release "Destined" ~ solo piano was released in April 2004. It continues to receive heavy airplay at www.solopianoradio.com with "Just for You," "Chasing the Wind," and "To Be Held" all hitting #1 on the listener charts! The success of this CD brought new and wonderful opportunities, including numerous concert performances for Solo Piano Radio as well as putting me in "high demand" status as a Seattle wedding pianist.
In April of 2005 I was suddenly diagnosed with Meniere's disease, an idiopathic syndrome which results in periodic vertigo, mind numbing tinnitus, substantial hearing loss and overall discomfort that can be debilitating, to say the least. This is not good news for a musician.... I have chronicled my battle with Meniere's HERE. Please feel free to share my story (it ends well!) with anyone you know who may have it or anything similar. Now, back to "living the dream"... :)
In May, 2006 I bought my dream piano, my very own Kawai RX-7 concert grand, fulfilling my dream of recording and producing my music from home. A whole new set of music channeled through my fingertips and evolved into my third CD release, "Somewhere Within" ~ solo piano in August 2007. It quickly became an iTunes Top 100 New Age album and was nominated for Best Solo Piano CD of 2007 by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and received a "Reviewer's Pick" from Kathy Parsons of Mainly Piano. It too continues to receive radio airplay world-wide.
Later that year I made my "personal" studio available to all, opening Piano Haven Recording Studio in suburban Seattle. An opportunity to share my good fortune with other composers... and record they have! David Nevue, Philip Wesley, Chad Lawson, Louis Landon, Christine Brown, Greg Maroney and Steven Cravis, just to name a few....
My fourth solo piano CD, "Mesmerized" was released in December 2009. It was a quiet period in my life, a time where nature carried me through. It's the mellowest of all my CDs, inspired by a midnight blue sky... The album cover was designed by Matt Strieby and was nominated for cover of the year in 2010 at ZMR. On June 25th, 2010, I "retired" from my 25 years in the restaurant biz to focus completely on my music. Some say I'm crazy, some say I'm their hero. All I can tell you is that I feel great and the music is flowing like never before.
"A Candlelight Christmas" was awarded Christmas & Holiday Album of the Year (2010) at SoloPiano.com... what an honor! This was a much more difficult project than I expected. Taking tunes that "aren't mine" and "making them mine" is something I'm not used to doing. It took alot more time and effort than I had planned, but I am extremely proud of it :) This is Christmas music to unwind to... relieve yourself of holiday stress. Light a candle, pour a glass of wine...
I released, "Into the Wind" on Sept 19th, 2011. This album has some powerful, optimistic music, along with my signature mellow stuff. It too has been nominated for Whisperings Album of the year! Take a listen, all the sheet music is now available as well. "Forever More" (released 10/8/12) is my first "best of" album, a retrospective of all my favorite works. Ten of the fifteen songs were re-recorded and I added one special brand new track to finish it off. Take a listen!
In Nov, 2012 I moved to Sedona, AZ... a place I have dreamed of living since I was 10 years old....just another dream come true! I am broadcasting some performances from home on the internet right here at my site. I am also performing in-home concerts around the country. Is your home available? Details on that right here.
The latest album, my 8th, was just released on Sept 16th, 2013 -- "Flight of a Dream." It was recorded on my brand new Shigeru Kawai SK7L concert grand and was nominated for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio album of the year, SoloPiano.com Contemporary Album of the Year, and was chosen as a "Favorite of 2013" by MainlyPiano.com. This album was inspired by my path to living my dream, a life of making music!
My newest release is “Synfonia“, pronounced sin-fo-NEE-ah after the Italian pronunciation of symphony. It is a fully orchestrated album, inspired by my father and his love of piano & symphony, and his years of support for me and my music. It was a dream come true to have a symphony play to my music, and I owe deep gratitude to Doug Hammer for his amazing orchestrations.
I always encourage you to drop me a note and say "Hi"... Your comments, stories and input fuel my creativity :)
Wishing you peace & joy in music....
Oh and by the way, "Thank you Dad!"
Biography reprinted with permission
The Artist Gallery.com
Joe Bongiorno's music draws you in...moves you. You find yourself eagerly awaiting the next measure.... the next phrase. Like a romantic poem, a beautiful sonnet..... Joe's music delivers an aural satiety seldom experienced by the music aficionado. Joe is a multi-talented artist.....both the genius audio engineer behind Piano Haven Studios and a brilliant musician and performer. We are genuinely honored to welcome Joe Bongiorno to the Artist Gallery.
Note: Joe has many more videos on his YouTube channel. We have selected a few of our favorites for inclusion here.
Real Piano Music says:
The Artist Gallery.com
-- Real Piano Music
"Flight of a Dream"
"O Holy Night"
Real Piano Music.com
Joe Bongiorno has been a featured artist on Real Piano Music.com since December 12, 2014.
"A Candlelight Waltz"
Click on an album to explore / purchase.
"O Come Emmanuel"