Dean Shostak began his music career in Colonial Williamsburg at age 14 Over the years, Dean’s musical responsibilities expanded to performing in evening concerts throughout the historic area. Dean earned a B.A. in Music from the University of Virginia while continuing to perform in Williamsburg during his summer and holiday breaks. After college, Dean began exploring some of the more unusual instruments that were popular in the 18th century. He began playing the pocket violin, which was a miniature fiddle gentlemen would keep on their person. In 1994, he traveled to France to learn to play the hurdy-gurdy, a French instrument similar to the violin but uses a wheel to rub the strings instead of a bow. And finally, Dean became involved in the revival of the rare and beautiful glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Today, there are only ten glass armonica players in the world. Dean’s work with the armonica has been recognized internationally. Instead of using an electric motor to spin the glasses, Dean is the only glass armonica player since the 18th century to use a flywheel and foot treadle as Franklin originally designed. Recently Dean has added several new glass instruments to his concert program including the only glass violin in the U.S. and glass English handbells. His latest addition to his concert program is a new instrument called the Cristal BASCHET, invented by Francois and Bernard Baschet in Paris, France. Dean now works closely with the Baschet family introducing the cristal Baschet to American audiences and musicians.
Dean is planning to take his glass armonica around the world in 2013, introducing this American instrument to audiences who have never seen or heard of it.
Dean has emerged as a major American music talent combining his years of performing period and contemporary music, composition, recordings, and arts management. Based in Williamsburg, where he performs over 200 concerts each year at the Kimball Theatre, he also performs in schools, universities, and festivals throughout the country. His music has been featured on Voice of America, The Weather Channel, The Discovery Channel and at The Arena Stage in Washington DC. Dean and his music have been featured on CBS’s The Early Show, CNN, NPR's All Things Considered, BBC's Good Morning Television, on Haven with Joy Philbin, Home and Garden Television's Christmas of Yesteryear, NBC's Nightside, PBS's The Victory Garden, and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. In 2006, Dean was named the glass armonica player for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, featured in special concerts and in a video display with the traveling exhibit. In 2010, Dean was included as the featured musician in the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. In 2012, he was interviewed and performed on The History Channel’s Ten Things You Don’t Know about Benjamin Franklin.
Dean’s solo recordings The Glass Armonica, Crystal Carols, Crystal Christmas, Revolutions, Celtic Crystal, Davy Crockett’s Fiddle and 18th Century Mother Goose Songs have received critical acclaim in such publications as American Music Teacher, The Washington Post and Audio Magazine. His children’s recording, Colonial Fair has been named “Notable Children’s Recording of the Year” by the American Library Association. Dean has written numerous original music scores for award winning films for The National Park Service, City of Chattanooga, State of Tennessee, and The Norfolk Botanical Gardens. In 2002, Dean was named the official musician to play Davy Crockett’s fiddle by the Witte Museum in San Antonio, TX. Dean’s latest recording, World Glass, explores the possibilities of glass instruments in original, classical, and world music. Dean's new CD/DVD is entitled The Elements that uses the four sections of the symphony orchestra with glass armonica to represent the four classical elements: Earth (armonica and percussion), Wind (armonica and winds), Fire (armonica and brass), Water (armonica and water.) The fiming took place in public sites in Virginia throughout the year.