Joy Katzen-Guthrie ... A Biography

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A Window to Well Being: Music to Inspire Renewal and Joy


Passionate… Personal… Engaging… Life-Affirming… Joy Katzen-Guthrie's vibrant music and one-of-a-kind performances inspire and uplift with a message of insight, life experience, and worldwide unity and harmony from generation to generation.

Professional composer/lyricist, pianist, and vocalist for thirty-two years and Cantorial Soloist since 1990, Joy uniquely weaves history and storytelling with traditional, contemporary, and original songs from pop, stage, film, and world genres that celebrate the human spirit. Says Donna Klein, founder of Tampa Bay's Women Musicians Alliance: "Joy is a marvel on the keyboard, making her playing seem effortless. Her compositions, as well as her adaptations of others' songs, reflect the summation that it is her life. When she sits down at the keyboard, starts playing, smiles that warm smile of hers and sings to your heart, well it's just inspirational!”

From The Tampa Tribune: "The music here is full of personal revelation and celebratory wonder, but it is refreshingly happy in its absolutes. And groovy, too. Hold it, a happy album? When was the last time you heard one of those? Free of angst, minus preachy platitudes, Katzen-Guthrie manages what so few singers do — to make you feel hopeful without being weighed down by sickly sentiment. She sings her anthems softly, mixed in with groovy guitars, cool cellos and all sorts of other instruments, showcasing a voice that has rare sing-along quality."

Joy has developed her music as both an inner retreat and an outer celebration. Those who have heard her in recording and concert have described the many ways in which her music has been beneficial in their lives, a portal to healing and creativity, joy, awakening and self-realization, support and renewal. Her Soul Stream has provided comfort, rest, relaxation, and mental release to countless listeners who described sleepless nights and stress-filled days prior to hearing it. Her original songs from Passages and A Steadfast Bridge have been used in worship services and activities of all faiths, hospitals and hospices, birth ceremonies, funerals, family reunions, rallies for social action, theatrical productions, and events of every scope. Her own arrangements and interpretations of full (including introductory verses) classic songs from Hit Parade, Vaudeville & Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and film in her Favorite Melody Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 have been purchased and loved by individuals of every age group. Hearing these songs for the first time or being reintroduced to them in a manner that flows and breathes with the integrity of the music and lyrics has brought enormous enjoyment and special memories of these classic musical moments to so many. Her original three recordings of Jewish liturgical, Israeli, and Yiddish music – Seasons of Joy, The Heart of Ancient Promise, and How Good and How Pleasant – have been loved in homes, schools, nursing homes, communal living facilities, synagogues as well as non-Jewish congregations, hospitals, and life cycle events of every kind by individuals of all faiths from around the world. In addition to concerts, Joy gives frequent lectures, classes, and lecture/concerts on the subject of Sound Mind and Body, an examination of the power of sound and music to affect the body physically and emotionally. These programs have had remarkable beneficial results in empowering individuals to choose and use music and sound to generate or increase physical and emotional health and happiness.

A Memphis, Tennessee native, Joy has made her home in the Tampa Bay area since 1981 with a versatile career as broadcast producer and manager, composer/lyricist and recording artist, heritage tour leader, and instructor/lecturer. Following Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with BA and BFA degrees magna cum laude and cum laude in Broadcast Communications and Music, she joined Tampa Bay's WPLP/News-Talk Radio, rising within a year-and-a-half from Traffic Director to Executive Producer to Operations Manager. Appearing simultaneously as an opening and featured performer while maintaining a radio career with stations WUSA-FM, WDAE-AM, and WXCR-FM, she gradually shifted her focus entirely to performance, composition, and recording.

In congregation, concert hall, classroom, and in multiple published recordings, Joy melds a repertoire of more than 4,000 songs with musical history, uplifting stories, insightful memories and sing-along ... touching the mind and heart and truly bringing joy. In the words of Tarpon Springs Montessori Academy Director Gail Gilmore, her programs are an "opportunity to explore culture beyond the limit of four walls." Recordings include Seasons of Joy (1989, Judaic holiday music and narration), Making a Joyful Noise and New State of Mind, (1989, 1991, compilations of original music), The Heart of Ancient Promise (1991, Yiddish and Hebrew original, folk, and stage songs), Soul Stream (1993, original music for meditation), How Good and How Pleasant (1996, Sabbath prayers, hymns, and sacred songs), Passages (1999, original songs celebrating life journeys), Favorite Melody, Vols. I and 2 (2004, 2007, selections from the popular American Song Book), A Steadfast Bridge Commemorative CD (2005, 12 original songs in production for a new double-CD of original material), Holiday Circle of Love (2006, original holiday/seasonal songs), New Song to God (2010, Limited Edition CD of new original songs), I Bless My Body (2010, Healing Card/CD with reading, music, guided meditation), Profound Blessings and Gratitude (2011, Gratitude/Thanks Giving Card/CD with traditional and original music and guided affirmation/meditation/prayer). Her music has been included in a 2006 Unity compilation entitled New Thought Holiday Music and she is on the roster of emPowerArts writer/recording artists. (View and hear excerpts from these recordings)

With her husband Mark, Joy operates Tune-of-the-Century Music® and Katzen and Guthrie Associates, Inc. Broadcast and Studio Design and Integration and remote and studio concert recording services for a roster of musicians and organizations of all genres. In 1996, Joy created Of Musical Note, a continuing program for students that features professional musicians who explain their instruments and craft and involve children in music. In August 1996 and again in August 1999, she received appointments to the Florida Artist Residency Directory, funded by the State Division of Cultural Affairs. [Artist Residencies place practicing, professional artists in Florida Schools and Community Colleges to teach all aspects of their art form]. In both 1997 and 2003, Joy was awarded  Arts Resource Fund Performance Arts Grants from the Pinellas County Arts Council for the creation of new recordings of original music.

Joy has served as Cantorial Leader of Congregation Beth Am of Tampa since 2012. Previous positions include Music Director at Perry Mansfield Performing Arts Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Music Director for Unity Center For Today in North Tampa for 9 years; Music Director for Temple B'nai Israel (reform) in Clearwater; Cantorial Soloist for the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation of Tampa (conservative), Temple Shir Shalom in Gainesville (reform), Congregation B'nai Emunah in Tarpon Springs (reform), Congregation Aliyah in Clearwater (conservative), Temple B'nai Israel in Clearwater (reform), Temple Beth El in Bradenton (reform), Congregation Shir Shalom in Sarasota (reform), and guest cantorial soloist for numerous other congregations, Unity of Palm Harbor's music team 2006 to present, and guest music presenter, worship leader, speaker, concert artist, and workshop leader at numerous Unity and other metaphysical congregations. Joy has given thousands of performances in virtually every kind of venue. In addition to her concert, teaching, and public speaking schedule, she is an active studio artist.

Since spring 2009, Joy has starred as Edna Ferber in the one-woman dramatization entitled … Edna Ferber … Magic or Madness? by St. Petersburg playwright Jan Taylor. The production has been received with accolades on nine Central Florida Eckerd College OLLI campuses.

Since 2000, in arrangement with Regent China Tours, Joy has created and served as Scholar-In-Residence for six Jewish heritage tours throughout China and Jewish heritage travel in Turkey and has created heritage tours for Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand, and Cuba. She teaches courses for the University of South Florida (Tampa) Osher Institute, Eckerd College Osher Institute (St. Petersburg), Eckerd College Elderhostel, Senior Summer School of Miami, Congregation Kol Ami (Tampa) Torah University, and Unity Center For Today (Tampa) Learning Series. Courses have included A History of the American Musical Theatre; Sound Mind and Body: Healing Through Music; America's Historical Musical Legacy; Asia's Ancient Faiths; Philosophies and Religions of China; Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Presence on China's Silk Road; The Woman in Chinese Tradition; The Heart and History of Jewish Music; Women in Song, America’s Hit Parade, Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood … and many many others (see a partial listing of Joy's programs)

Joy has been a contributing writer to the Encylopedia Judaica. Her photographs of China have appeared in newspapers, magazines, journals, and internet sites from around the world in connection with articles and writings of the Jewish communities of China, past and present. Memberships include Songwriters Guild of America, Dramatists Guild, Inc., Women Cantors Network, Positive Music Association, Harmonizing with Humanity, emPower Music & Arts, GoGirls Music, and Hadassah among many others.

She loves being in touch with visitors to her site and her performances.

She can be reached for booking or information at: Tune-of-the-Century Music®  • • 727-785-4568 (Tampa Area) • (727) 772-0178 FAX

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