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Genres You Will Love
Jazz: Gypsy Jazz World: Flamenco Moods: Type: Acoustic Moods: Featuring Guitar Moods: Mood: Christmas

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Alfonso Ponticelli


The music of Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan is a vibrant, upbeat and passionate blend of Flamenco, American & Gypsy jazz folk music threaded together in virtuosic improvisations. Composer and band leader Ponticelli invites some of Chicago’s top talent for musical conversation and an always lively dose of some of the best spontaneous co-arranging.

A multi-instrumentalist, Ponticelli won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and continues to perform solo mountain dulcimer and guitar. He has played both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and was even invited to perform his solo didgeridoo at the Chicago Symphony Center. Ponticelli has collaborated with Arabic, Italian, Irish, bluegrass, Gypsy, Romanian and many other traditional folk musicians. Ponticelli has had the honor of performing at Chicago’s Millennium Park on its opening night as well as at every major museum in Chicago.

Ponticelli is the 2009 recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci award for outstanding achievement in performing arts from Order Sons of Italy in America and holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from DePaul University. Ponticelli has been to Cordoba, Spain (1994) to study with the great flamenco guitarists Rafael Riqueni and Manolo Sanlucar, New Mexico to study with Chuscales and Pedro Cortes. The great Flamenco guitarist Pansequito, from Cádiz, Spain joined his band for two years. Ponticelli is the 1994 National Mt. dulcimer champion and has judged Mt. Dulcimer competitions at the Ozark Folk ctr. in Mountain View AR. He has performed at the Iridium in New York City with Les Paul where he invited Alfonso to play with his group.

Ponticelli shares his education and love of music by teaching workshops at many festivals, including 17 years at the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest in Madison, WI. He introduced his style of Flamenco and Gypsy jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music (16 years).

A film documentary of Ponticelli's journey through music was produced in 2008 and "Gypsy Jazz Odyssey" was presented at the Gene Siskel Film Center. He has also worked as a performing guitarist in commercials for the Screen Actors Guild. Ponticelli has produced four commercially available full length albums all available on iTunes, with guest artist from France, Chile, Germany and a cast of Chicago greats including legendary violinist/painter/poet Johnny Frigo.

Ponticelli has shared his music at many prestigious festivals, including the Django Reinhardt festival in Samois, France, DjangoFest Northwest, Gypsy Jazz fests in New York City, Denver, CO., and across America. Some of his students have joined his band, traveled and perform together. In 2011 he performed with the great, Roma, violinist Tony Ballog at the National Folk Festival, the oldest multi-cultural traditional arts celebration in the country.

Alfonso Ponticelli has collaborated with many Chicago land institutions, including; the Chicago Cultural center, the Alliance Française, The Green Mill jazz club, Evanston SPACE and the Old Town School of Folk Music all since 2003 producing an annual Chicago Gypsy Jazz festival (September 2019).
Ponticelli continues producing a weekly, Wednesday, Chicago show at the legendary Green Mill jazz club (15 years). He resides in the greater Chicago land area teaching workshops and playing private events.