You know it will be a good tale if it begins with someone running away to join the circus—and so I’m going to begin Janine De Lorenzo’s story by telling you that’s what she did.
But the story really begins much before then, when she was a young girl in Australia, listening to the music from a church pew, and then at home, picking out with just one finger the melodies she’d heard. “My parents encouraged me, and I studied classical piano for 13 years.”
After those 13 years, the circus comes into the picture, but Janine wasn’t really running away from anything, and instead was running into opportunity.
Janine landed a dream job to play keyboard and serve as assistant bandleader for Cirque du Soleil’s KA at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “I’d be in the hot seat once a week,” she says, where she would call the show. Her talent for real-time decision making and leading the band of eight kept her in the circus. Cirque du Soleil offered her the musical director position for the tour, “Amaluna,” where Janine led their first all-female band across North America and Europe from 2011-2015. “The job required an excellent level of musical interpretation and an ability to improvise, calling the show while listening to lighting, music and technical cues,” Janine says. “I can remember the stage manager in my ear, saying, ‘The winch has jammed.’ The acrobat was just dangling there and we had to keep the music going.”
But this story doesn’t end with the circus either. Great stories also have twists of fate. While on the “Amaluna” tour through Denver, she met Melanie, who would become her wife. Janine left the circus for the mountains and has called Evergreen home for three years. It was a new life that gave her time to reconsider some old dreams.
Years before, after suffering an injury that threatened to end her piano career, Janine committed to recording her original compositions. “I said to myself, if you get this back, after physiotherapy, you have to get serious.” Of course, there was no time for such a project while leading Cirque du Soleil around the world, but now, nestled into her new mountain town, Janine found herself inspired every day. She has since recorded four studio albums at Piano Haven in Sedona: “I’ll Start in A Minor,” a tribute to her piano instructor, Margriet Pendavingh; “A Classical Christmas Courtship,” which marries holiday favorites and classical pieces; “Grit & Grace;” and “Christmas For You.”
What is special about Janine’s music is the meaning behind it, and she loves to share stories as much as she loves to play. In order to do so, she wanted to broaden her platform. She organized her first private concert simply by picking a date on the calendar and inviting a few friends to their home. Each time she planned an event, the audience grew. Now, Janine regularly offers in-home concerts and is available for such performances throughout the mountain area. Concert hosts can organize an elegant evening of food, drinks and Janine’s original music.
For an even more intimate experience, Janine also works with clients to compose custom songs, which she calls “Musical Love Letters,” normally given as gifts for loved ones. Janine says, “I always ask the person gifting the song, ‘How do you want them to feel when they hear it?’” The process of co-writing a song is something Janine handles delicately and intimately. Her custom compositions are co-written, reviewed and approved by the gift-giver, and then Janine professionally records and mixes the music at a studio for premium production. “It’s a unique experience.”
For a taste of Janine’s music, you might also catch her playing at Bistro Del Lago on May 26 from 6-8 pm, or the Bread Lounge on May 27 from 11 am-1 pm. She sometimes plays her original music, but she loves to play requests. “I like to challenge myself,” she says, “and I like to play what people want to hear.” Find out more about Janine’s story and music at janinedelorenzo.com, where you can also request a custom composition or an in-home concert.