Violinist Duane Padilla began his musical career much in the “traditional” way. Beginning classical violin lessons at age 4, he went on to earn a Masters Degree from Yale University and a Bachelors Degree from Northwestern University. While still a student, he earned fellowships to perform with the National Repertoire Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. In 1995, he founded the highly acclaimed chamber ensemble The Gemini Duo, semi-finalists in the Concert Artists Guild Competition in NYC. In addition to a busy touring schedule, The Gemini Duo won outreach grants from Chamber Music America and the American Federation of Musicians and earned positions on the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Performing Artist Roster and the CMA Rural Residency Artist Roster.
Following his university studies, Duane’s musical journey led him to a 15 year career as an orchestral musician, first with the Waterbury Symphony and New Haven Symphony Orchestras and later with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.
Duane began to explore a broader musical world in Honolulu. As a member of the Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra, he performed with a “who’s who” list of the jazz world which included: Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Dianna Reeves, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Dave Koz, Monica Mancini Elvis Costello, Victor Wooten, Rosemary Clooney and countless others. Intrigued by the idea of jazz and improvisation, Duane began sitting in with some of Honolulu’s hottest local jazz artists. In 2009, he founded his own ensemble, the Hot Club of Hulaville (HCOH), a ”jazz manouche” band centered around 30’s era swing and the music of Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grapelli. HCOH is quickly becoming one of Honolulu’s hottest bands. Honolulu Magazine voted the ensemble Best Band for Hire in 2011. Their debut album “Django Would Go!” topped the Roots Music Reports’s national radio & internet airplay chart at #1. The Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists nominated Hulaville’s release for their most prestigious Na Hoku Hano Hano Award for Jazz Album of the Year.
Duane’s imaginative improvisations are attracting the attention of artists beyond jazz. He has been seen performing Texas Sock Hop swing with Academy of Western Artists Female Performer of the Year Devon Dawson. At Hawaii Public Radio’s Saturday afternoon concert series, he has joined various visiting guest artists in concerts as diverse as Hindustani Ragas and Celtic reels and gigs. His playing is also featured on the albums of numerous Hawaiian Pop stars, including, Amy Hanalii Gilliom, Uluwehi Gurrerro, and Kapala.
Also a gifted music educator., Duane is currently on the violin faculty at the Punahou Music School He has served as President & on the Board of Directors of the American String Teachers Association Hawaii Chapter, Suzuki Talent Education of Hawaii & Suzuki Association of Hawaii. Previously he taught at the Bethwood Suzuki School & the Tabor Community Arts Center, where he implemented a “Suzuki Violin in the Schools” program for K-3 at the Wintergreen Magnet School and several schools in the Branford CT public school system.