Daniel Zongrone (born February 25, 1957) is an American percussionist, composer and performance artist. He is a native of Utica, NY, and currently resides in Spartanburg, SC.
Zongrone first toured the United States in 1975 as a musician and member of the progressive rock trio Zuir. Five years later, he relocated to Germany to record and perform throughout Europe with the innovative music ensemble Earthstar.
Zongrone has always been influenced and inspired by film music and TV soundtrack composition, a direct motivation for his career in music. He studied music theory and composition privately in New York with educator Peter Scalise and renowned jazz saxophonist J.R. Monterose. As a founding member of both Zuir and Earthstar, Zongrone began a more deliberate approach to music composition in a collaborative environment with other founding members Craig Wuest, now residing in Atlanta, and accomplished Seattle-based guitarist/composer Dennis Rea. Additional music studies include free jazz, classical, progressive rock, and electronics.
As a studio musician, Zongrone recorded with the Earthstar ensemble on Moontower Records of Nashville, TN, which released Earthstar's debut recording, Salterbarty Tales. Following the release and distribution of Salterbarty Tales, Earthstar received a personal invitation from electronic music pioneer and Tangerine Dream alumni Klaus Schulze to produce a record in Germany. Earthstar subsequently secured a contract with SKY Records of Hamburg, Germany, which released the following three recordings: "French Skyline," "Atomkraft ? Nein Danke," and "For Humans Only." Earthstar is notable as the only American music group that participated in the German electronic music scene while still at its height, also known as the Berlin School of Music.
Zongrone later relocated to Manhattan to work again with Wuest and Rea composing, performing and collaborating with various NYC artists. During this time, Zongrone and Rea were commissioned to create a soundscape installation to accompany the works of surrealist painter Daryl Trivieri during his exhibit at Semaphore East Gallery in Manhattan. The soundscape caught the attention of multi-media artist Laurie Anderson and brought an opportunity for Zongrone to work with acclaimed vocalist Meredith Monk staging her opera Quarry at La Mama E.T.C (experimental theater club).
Continuing to create and perform in NYC, Zongrone teamed up with modern dancer Paula Mann Stern to complete a choreographed suite of music which was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts grant, "Meet the Composer." This dance performance was well-received, and the National Endowment for the Arts grant provided a platform to launch him into film soundtrack composition. Zongrone's first completed film soundtrack was for the independent horror film The Glasshead by New York film director Matthew S. Smith.
Zongrone has since recorded and produced a music CD which features a compilation of his original compositions spanning several music genres from progressive rock to electronic music and jazz. In collaboration with New York saxophonist Shenole Latimer, Zongrone has presented the music educational series "What's All That Jazz About?" throughout South Carolina libraries.
In 2012, Zongrone recorded with musician Nina Hynes of Dublin, Ireland, on her latest CD titled Goldmine. In a recent live performance, Zongrone debuted his original soundtrack to the 1903 groundbreaking silent film The Great Train Robbery which was commissioned by The Film House of Greenville, SC.
Presently, Zongrone has assembled a group of musicians that perform jazz standards at various venues throughout the Southeastern United States, including restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, galleries, theaters, and outdoor venues. Zongrone has developed a jazz repertoire that includes vibraphone along with previously recorded music, and a lecture series on the history of the jazz generation and the vibraphone as a unique musical instrument.