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Biographies

Ken DeAngelis

"...the folk world should keep a weather eye open for DeAngelis' future compositions; he may well become the rudder for the next generation of contemporary American folk songwriters." (Cindy Hill, CDReviews.com)

Singer/songwriter Ken DeAngelis, studied music, accordion and songwriting at an early age, teaching himself guitar and harmonica. His original songs, which often describe personal experiences, are recognized for their distinctive style, universality, originality and his unique guitar flat and fingerpicking styles. His voice has been described as "smooth and velvety" and his songs as "provocative and heartfelt". "DeAngelis demonstrates remarkable breadth and technical skill, avoiding the rote sameness that many singer-songwriters fall into…the keys and chord progressions vary widely, with themes and pace running from the silly to the sublime," (Cindy Hill, CDReviews.com) making his music expressive, "vivid and riveting." (Richard Ross, The River Reporter)

Ken has been featured on radio, at numerous song festivals and has won awards at song competitions. Ken has made television appearances including the "Cavalcade of Stars" telethon to aid A.H.R.C. and has been heard live on radio programs performing his original compositions. He has performed with the " Fast Folk" organization of NYC and has shared the stage with prominent artists in the folk scene such as Pete Seeger, Cliff Eberhardt, Artie and Happy Traum, Richard Schindell, blues artist Savoy Brown, among others. He has performed at the Fourth of July "Star Spangled Spectacular Celebration", the Warwick Apple Fest, Bodles Opera House, The Paramount Theater, The Arden House, The Puffin Cultural Forum, The Riverfest, The Grand Montgomery Chamber Music Series, Lycian Theater, Mohonk Mountain House, Storm King Arts Center, The Seelig Theater (Sullivan County Community College), Warwick Valley Winery, Donnell Library, NYC, New Rochelle Public Library, Merkin Hall, Union Hall Coffeehouse, MA, American Cancer Society fund-raiser, Washington, DC, the Year of the Rabbit, MD and for the Friends of Music Mansion Series. His music has been heard on webcasts with The Art Music Coffeehouse, RelaxRadio, Perth, Australia and on Ellopia TV in Greece. Ken and Julie have been recipients of the New York State Council of the Arts Grants.

In 2005, Ken & Julie completed a concert tour of Nova Scotia with Broadway Concerts Direct, for which they performed their music in theaters in six cities in Nova Scotia. Also in 2005, "Ken & Julie" released their debut recording entitled "The Dream", featuring 16 of Ken’s original songs. "The Dream" is part of the distinguished Peace Autograph Project collection at the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in the Republic of Uzbekistan. (see: Guestbook, 7/11/07 entry). In 2007, Ken's song "Civil Defense Drill" was selected amongst submissions from all over the globe to be included in an anthology entitled "Protest Songs For A Better World", a collection of original songs with themes for an improved earth, available at cdbaby.com.


Ken arranges, produces, performs on and records albums for other artists at his studio with JAZ Music Productions, Inc. In 2007, Ken arranged, produced, played guitar, accordion and provides backup vocals on Richard Flanders' debut album of "Yonderings", a collection of classic coyboy songs. The work has been highly praised for both Flanders' vocals as well as the "fresh, authentic and lushly textured renderings" which are "clearly inflenced (by) but not copying the(ir) style"of the Sons of the Pioneers. The album was nominated as Best Album of the Year and their interpretation of "Blue Prarie" won Best Song of the Year 2008 by the Academy of Western Artists. He recently recorded and produced an album for jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Alice Shane entitled "Out of the Blue." His second collaboration with Rich Flanders, "Ride Away" completed in 2009, features two original songs which Ken penned for the album. The album was nominated for Album of the Year in 2010 and Ken's song "Thirteen Voices" was nominated for Best Original Song by the Western Music Association.

Ken's Reviews

"A collection of wholly original works is an awesome undertaking, and DeAngelis demonstrates remarkable breadth and technical skill, avoiding the rote sameness that many singer-songwriters fall into when stacking one composition after another. The keys and chord progressions vary widely, with themes and pace running from the silly (like 'Civil Defense Drill,' a tongue-in-cheek fond remembrance of those childhood under-the-desk exercises those of us over 40 all recall) to the sublime. Ziavras' classically trained soprano rings particularly true on DeAngelis' aching ballads like 'Great Neck Farewell,' yet blends well with DeAngelis' folky alto in vocally complex weaves on 'Timber Wolf.' The duo is joined by a handful of musician friends; Steve Bernstein's mandolin work and Elana Myers' cello strains in particular add depth and diversity to the disc.

The pure talent of DeAngelis and Ziavras combine to generate some real gems, sparkling with energy and life. 'Splash,' 'Hanging on to Every Word,' and 'Friday Next to the Sea' are all heartfelt additions to the folk genre that are likely to find themselves worked into other performer's repertoires around the folk festival circuit.

...all the elements are here for a highly successful folk music future for Ken and Julie: love, energy, songwriting talent, two great and diverse voices, and a community of talented musical friends ready to jump in and fill out the sound. Singer-songwriters would be well advised to listen carefully to this disc and learn how to keep their sound fresh and interesting over the course of a full-length set of original pieces; dj's for folk and college stations looking for fresh material will find plenty of play-worthy pieces amidst the sixteen tracks. And the folk world should keep a weather eye open for DeAngelis' future compositions; he may well become the rudder for the next generation of contemporary American folk songwriters."
Cindy Hill for CDReviews.com

"The songs were effectively expressive of human emotions and experiences set to fresh music. Singing together, the couple followed the rhythmic voyage of a ship in ‘The Dream,’ the glowing tones of a child's loss in ‘Timber Wolf,’ a love story through letters in ‘The Journal,’ ‘Great Neck Farewell,’ a nostalgic ballad and a playful dialogue of lovers in ‘Take Me for What I Am.’ Ziavras responded to the standing ovation with another DeAngelis ballad, ‘Falling Star’, which he joined in singing with her." -Dr. James F. Cotter, Times Herald Record

"One of the many musicians who knocked me out with talent at the Pine Bush Coffeehouse was Ken DeAngelis. His touching story song about a childhood friend, "Billy and Me", hushed the packed room as listeners hung on his every word...Together they make wonderfully detailed music that features evocative lyrics, lovely harmonies and melodies that stay with you long after you hear them." -Steve Israel, Times Herald Record

"DeAngelis’ original music tells stories with poetic intent." -Chris Farlekas, Times Herald Record

"...a pair of delightful composer/folksingers... Their eclectic selections of original songs featured gentle harmony and beautiful resonance. Their lilting songs filled the café and captivated the audience. Each song had a story or connection to it that made their short set vivid and riveting. One of these included an original by Ken called “The Dream,” a great rendition of “The Kid” and a song that was written to commemorate Ken’s long-overdue cruise to the Bahamas. That tune, entitled “Splash” was named after a Canadian band he met while on board. They concluded with a beautiful duet called “Kate and the Ghost of Lost Love.” -Richard Ross, The River Reporter: www.riverreporter.com/issues/03-01-02/peezleweez.htm

"Ken DeAngelis writes music and lyrics that focus on critical events in people's lives; events that will end in tragedy or growth. His songs take listeners through an emotional journey. Ken & Julie perform these songs as a beautiful and lyrical story of life." -John Hiller, Producer Broadway Concerts Direct.

"Ken’s original compositions are poignant and touch the heart." -Bodles Opera House

" Ken is quite introspective, and given to a calm melancholy… and all of his music is given to great compassion." -Theatre of the Local Hero

"…a tune that he wrote called "The Dream" Wonderfully done. - sweet vocals - nice harmonies by Ken - quite melodic …a passionate performer." -Restoration Coffeehouse

"Ken is among the best of the Hudson Valley singer/songwriters". -Mane Productions

Julie Ziavras

Soprano Julie Ziavras is known for her diversity of styles, ranging from opera and classical art song to contemporary and traditional folk, Greek and international ballads. Classically trained, she holds Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and has coached with Metropolitan Opera maestros including George Schick and Alberta Masiello. She has performed in concert, on radio and TV in the US and abroad and has been a featured artist at international song festivals. Appearances in NYC include Carnegie Recital Hall, Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Hall, Symphony Space Theater, the Opera Company of the Highlands, The Festival Theatre of New York, the World Music Institute, the Guggenheim Museum in Soho, the Alternative Museum, Bodles Opera House, The Puffin Cultural Forum, The Grand Montgomery Chamber Music Series, The Warwick Master Arts Series, WBAI, WNYC, and WJFF, among others. Among her appearances abroad, she has appeared as featured artist at international festivals, including soloist in the Fiesta Internacional de las Naciones in Venezuela, the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, International Festival of Daphnis in Greece, and in Montreal in a cantata written for her voice. She is featured on mp3 singing a vocalise written for her voice by Spiro Cardamis entitled New Millenium (click here to listen), which was in the number one spot in the opera category for three months and is now in their "Hall of Fame". A review of this performance in The Gods of Music states that "the strings would be vapid without the incredible voice, a siren who summoned my spirit onto the rocks of musical ecstasy."

She was invited to Greece by prominent composer/music director Manos Hadjidakis to appear on Greek National Radio (ERT) as featured artist for numerous concerts and live broadcasts in varying repertoire, including opera, lieder, Rennaissance song and contemporary music. This included a performance of a premiered work at the Pireus National Theater that was broadcast live nationally on radio. She was featured soloist in a concert tour with Greek composer Notis Mavroudis originating in Greece and culminating in Serbia, in which selections of original music he wrote for her voice from her solo CD Simply Mavroudis were premiered with great success , to an audience that followed the music with translations. These songs represent the only collection of songs Mr. Mavroudis has written exclusively for one singer. The performance was simulcast nationally on Serbian National Radio and TV.

She was the creator, cofounder and featured soloist of the music café and touring ensemble "Café Acroama" in Astoria, NY, which brought fine Greek song to a vast audience of Greek Americans and non-Greeks alike. As part of the acoustic folk duo "Ken & Julie, she appears in folk venues accompanying herself on guitar, featuring songs written for her voice by her husband, singer/songwriter Ken DeAngelis. In 2005, Ken & Julie completed a concert tour with Broadway Concerts Direct of theaters in six cities in Nova Scotia, with a repertory which included opera, art song, Broadway, international and folk music. "Julie is the muse of internationally acclaimed composers. She performs their songs with world-class lyrical beauty, artistry and interpretation." (John Hiller, Broadway Concerts Direct). A review of Ken and Julie's  recently released debut CD The Dream in CDReviews.com states: "The pure talent of DeAngelis and Ziavras combine to generate some real gems, sparkling with energy and life."


Julie's Reviews
Link to Julie's complete classical reviews
Link to Julie's Greek reviews

"…an estimable vocalist is adding new tone and color in the heart of Greenwich Village…a pretty vocalist with a silvery voice. She held the spotlight alone, by way of introduction. Cradling her guitar, Miss Ziavras sang a variety of Greek numbers , plaintive to rhythmic, then rounded out the set with a group of English folk ballads."
-
Howard Thompson, New York Times

"Ziavras masters the most difficult instrument March 18, 2003 (Times Herald Record)
"Soprano Julie Ziavras wowed her Montgomery listeners with her versatile voice and the variety of her repertoire from opera to folk songs…It was Ziavras, however, who highlighted the afternoon with her warm and compelling voice, appealing presence and wide range of repertoire… Opera, art songs, lieder, contemporary music written especially for her, poetry and folk songs offered ample evidence of her dramatic sense of style and personable interpretations…She sang more than 20 songs in six languages and poured her full energy into each number with virtuosity and verve…Ziavras displayed a firm coloratura in her phrasing and treble… Her version of Puccini's "Song of Doretta" from "La Rondine" was beautiful and moving.
-Dr. James F. Cotter, Times Herald Record

"Julie Ziavras’ lovely, liquid voice expresses feelings of love, longing and wonder."
-Steve Israel, The Times Herald Record

"But the strings would be vapid without the incredible voice; a siren who summoned my spirit onto the rocks of musical ecstasy." -Armond Blackwater, Gods of Music

"Ziavras uses her rich soprano to soar in the high ranges and fill the scenes with drama."
(as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with the Opera Company of the Highlands)

-Dr. James Cotter, The Times Herald Record

"To this epic style of music, Ziavras brought a voice glowing with a wide range of nuances, including rich golden tones, elegant phrasing and radiant expression." Marcus Kalipolites, The Times Herald Record

"The DVO’s production of this operetta delighted the audience... The main reason, although not the only one, was the tour-de-force performance of the soprano who played La Perichole, Julie Ziavras. She had the required coquettishness of a soprano in a buffo production like this one, the figure, the beauty, the charm and the panache, but she had more than that. She had a commanding voice and an energetic presence on stage."
Tom Kane, The River Reporter


"Coloratura (high-wire acrobatic singing) never sounded better in the hills of Sullivan County as Julie Ziavras, in the title role, displayed florid passages, trills, glissandos and sustained tones on high..." Marcus Kalipolites, The Times Herald Record

"Though frequent classical, Greek and folk concertgoers in the area are aware of Julie Ziavras' wonderful singing, in Show Boat she surprised us all with her 'acting' the song "Bill". Ziavras did not slowly lead up to the magic moment of the song as most singers do, by getting more and more serious about "her man" until the "I don't know"climax, but sang the entire song tongue-in-cheek, with humor, until that magic moment. It was her surprise at her own discovery that she could not explain why she loved him, instead of, as others do, merely informing us she could not find the words to tell us why she loved him. A very clever approach to the song."
-Barry Plaxen, Publisher: Delaware & Hudson CANVAS

"She has an incredibly powerful and beautiful voice." -Bodles Opera House

"Julie is the muse of internationally acclaimed composers. She performs their songs with world-class lyrical beauty, artistry and interpretation." -John Hiller, Producer Broadway Concerts Direct

"…the waves of her voice are experienced and the spirit is airborne." -Greek National Herald

"She cultivates an intimate rapport with her audience, and this is the true test of a real interpreter—the way she ‘works’ this intimate communication with those across from her." -Greek National Herald

"Julie is an accomplished singer and musician. When you hear her angelic voice you will want more! When I listen to her, I feel so relaxed and proud to know her! … together they are fabulous!" -Tina Ross

"…sensitive, sexy, magnificently creative, her rendition of one nostalgic folk song simply took my breath away." -Spyros Orfanos, GABSI Magazine

"She gives her whole body to her songs, responding to the intensity of the lyrics…capable of endowing rich and dramatic dimensions to musical images of love and life, of death and pain…at other times rousing feisty renditions." -Dr. Mary A. Nickles

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