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Born on April 18, 1982, Dennis Tobenski grew up in Kankakee, IL . In 2004, he graduated from Illinois State University , where he studied Vocal Performance with baritone John M. Koch, and Music Theory & Composition with composers Stephen Andrew Taylor, David Feurzeig and Serra Hwang. After finishing his Bachelor's degree, Dennis moved to New York City , where he studied privately with composer Daron Aric Hagen. In 2009, Dennis completed his M.A. in Composition at the City College of New York, where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici. He has also studied privately with Chester Biscardi.
Along with composer Jeff Algera, Dennis founded the Tobenski-Algera Concert Series, devoted to the presentation and promotion of new works by young and emerging composers. The Series, which began in 2006, has premiered works by young composers Jeff Algera, Aaron Brooks, Christopher Czubay, Jesse D’Aiello, Slavko, Krstic, Hadar Noiberg, Scott J. Ordway, Darien Shulman, Keane Southard, Dennis Tobenski, and Rafael Valle, as well as by Chester Biscardi, David Del Tredici, Roger Zahab, and Ricky Ian Gordon.
In June 2007, Dennis sang the premiere of the piano-vocal version of David Del Tredici's song cycle Gay Life with tenor Rob Frankenberry and Del Tredici at the piano. In addition to being a part of the Series, the concert was a New York Gay Pride event, and a part of Del Tredici's 70th birthday celebration. He will also sing the role of Stanley in the 2011 premiere of Roger Zahab's opera Hegemony.
Dennis has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2007, 2010), the Prairie Center of the Arts (2007), the Ucross Foundation (2009), and the Staunton Music Festival (2008), and has had works performed by such ensembles as Percussia, The IonSound Project, the Illinois State University Madrigal Singers, the ISU Concert Choir, and members of the United States Coast Guard Band.
Current and recent commissions include: at least a moment (2008-2009) for soprano and harp, on poetry by Kenneth Koch, commissioned by harpist Megan Sesma and soprano Patricia Schuman; Duo for violin and piano (2010), commissioned by violinist/composer Roger Zahab; Take All My Loves (2009) and To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence (2010), commissioned by Dr. Karyl Carlson and the Illinois State University Madrigal Singers; and a new song commissioned by Gilda Lyons and The Phoenix Concerts.