Dennis Elliott -- Multi-Instrumentalist/Multi-Stylist

(Brief Stylistic History)

I started Violin and Guitar at age 10, back in 1972 and have over 40 years experience playing music.

At age 13, I discovered both the Banjo and Bluegrass, and became aware that music was something incredibly special to me - something that I would forever be a part of and would forever be a part of me.  During this very fast-paced period through 1980 my primary instrument changed from Violin to Banjo, then to Guitar (finger-style), then back to Violin.  My Banjo playing from this period covered and reflects all styles.  My Guitar playing was heavily influenced by Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed, Classical Guitar and various ethnic finger-styles.  My Violin playing, even more than the Banjo playing, pulled from every musical resource that I could find.  Being from Louisiana, I was heavily influenced by Texas Fiddlers and Cajun Fiddlers as well as Bluegrass/Old Time Fiddlers.  Jazz became very important to my Violin playing, as I learned from the playing of Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty.  Lastly, the Ponty experience inspired some Classical Violin study.  I taught myself to read music and Music Theory during this early period as well.

By 1981, age 19, I had already won 4 State Championship Titles in Fiddle & Banjo.

New Orleans!  The 80's was also a fast paced time.  During this period I received formal training in Jazz & Classical styles from Loyola University, New Orleans.  I also studied Jazz Guitar, Cello, Theory & Composition and Electronic Music Synthesis while at Loyola.  The 80's is also when I left the acoustic music world for the most part and went electric.  Playing music full-time professionally with dance-bands that had all electric instruments and drums required the change to Electric Violin, but the change would have come anyway, as I soon broke into the Rock scene.  Having discovered the music of Steve Morse/Dixie Dregs, as well as Jean-Luc Ponty, I was greatly fascinated by the possibilities of the Violin in Rock.  Included in the Jazz-Rock ensembles that I played with during this time was "Woodenhead", a sort of New Orleans version of the Dixie Dregs.  During this period my Violin technique skyrocketed as the classical studies merging with the many different varieties of improvisation brought me to new levels.

The beginning of the 90's saw a slowdown in progress as change was around the corner, spawning a career change in the mid 90's to the Information Technology Industry. During the early 90's I learned about MIDI, sound programming and recording engineering.  In 1992 I won the Florida State Fiddle Championship.  After moving to Richmond, I then took 7 years away from playing music to realize the (temporary) career change into Information Technology.

The New Millennium!  I'm back!  Starting with the new millennium, I began playing music again.  First with the Richmond Philharmonic, then the Blues-Rock band Kat Brigs, and Jackass Flats (a Bluegrass Band).  I won the 2002 Virginia State Fiddling Championship, the Bluegrass Fiddling Championship at the Masters Of Traditional String Music 2003, Roanoke Invitational, a National-Level Competition, the 2004 Virginia State Fiddling Championship, the 2007 Virginia State Fiddling Championship, the 2009 Virginia State Mandolin and Banjo Championships, the 2010 Virginia State Mandolin Championship, and the 2012 Virginia State Mandolin and Banjo Championships.

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