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Paul Desenne

About this Artist

Paul Desenne (1959) started composing and performing with his pop-inspired, street-savvy quintet in Caracas, his native city, in 1974. The group, ages 13 to 16, played elaborate original collective compositions only, no covers. 

One Foot, One Eye, his band,  filled the best small theatres in Caracas, several times between 1974 & 76, with borrowed instruments and equipment, of course! 

Venezuela’s fabulous musical mix could be heard in the polyrhythmic, layered and refined programs played by the group he founded in 1973.

Today, nearly 50 years later, his works, strongly rooted in Latin American musical languages, are performed worldwide. His catalogue spans all genres and formats, including educational music commissionned by various ensembles and orchestras of El Sistema, for which he worked for nearly 3 decades, playing, touring, teaching cello, lecturing and composing.

A Paris Conservatory First-Prize concert cellist, Desenne often performs his own works, but he specializes in composition for strings in all flavors: Dragoncello, for 6 solo cellists and string orchestra, was recently performed at the Oberlin Conservatory online concerts; his Sonata for solo violin was premiered in New York by the great Miranda Cuckson at Bargemusic…

His catalogue, nevertheless takes us through all kinds of unexpected, extremely informed takes on Latin-American music, including new styles of urban fusion.

Numerous prestigious orchestral and ensemble commissions, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, mark a history of frequent collaborations and intense creative activity, with orchestral premieres at Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Walt Disney Hall, the Hollywood Bowl for the 100th anniversary of the L.A. Phil…

Aside from writing chamber and symphonic music, Desenne has participated non stop for over 25 years in a studio project spanning satirical radio in Spanish and collective musical creation, writing scripts and producing unique musical works in several cult recordings, such as Alzheimer 1 & 2 (2000 & 2013) Yopo Time (2004) and other important collaborations with Venezuelan composer and producer Alonso Toro.

Desenne is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2010 Radcliffe Institute Fellow.

He works independently in Cambridge Mass., and remotely in Venezuela on several projects with Venezuelan artists: a satirical podcast, a comic book and two albums of recordings of new musical works, created and recorded remotely during the pandemic.