Deanna Witkowski Trio


Winner of the 2002 Great American Jazz Piano Competition, pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski brings an exuberance and vitality of spirit to her fusions of jazz, brazilian, afro-cuban, and sacred music. Her imagination has led her to many new worlds: a desire to improvise led her to pursue jazz even while she completed an undergraduate degree in classical piano at Wheaton College; her tenure in a salsa band during her days on the Chicago jazz scene in the mid-1990s led her to Latin jazz; her desire to explore Africa led to a semester of teaching piano in Kenya; and her interest in jazz and the church led to a three-year music director position at All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

While working in the church, Ms. Witkowski continued to pursue her love of composition by writing new pieces both for church services as well as for her New York quartet, which she formed in 1998. Her second recording, Wide Open Window led to an invitation to appear on National Public Radio. The recording was listed on several best-of-2003 lists, and led one reviewer to name Witkowski as “one of the best of the new generation of piano players” in Jazz Journal International.

Ms. Witkowski’s third release, Length of Days was completed in 2005 and she is currently working on her fourth recording, which will feature her sacred music with saxophonist Donny McCaslin and bassist John Patitucci.

Ms. Witkowski’s current direction includes a love for Brazilian culture. Fluent in Portuguese, she recently returned from a performance at the Recife Jazz Festival and is working on new arrangements of Brazilian music. Her travels have also led to performances at the Tel Aviv Opera House and Espaço Bis in Rio de Janeiro.  She spent the summer of 2004 touring internationally as the pianist for vocalist Lizz Wright; closer to home, she holds down the piano chair in the the BMI/New York Jazz Composers Orchestra, led by Jim McNeely. Ms.Witkowski also specializes in the sacred music of Mary Lou Williams: in January 2008, her presentation Moving with the Spirit: the sacred jazz of Mary Lou Williams, was showcased at the International Association for Jazz Education conference, and will be reprised at Duke University in 2009.
Deanna Witkowski Trio