"What do you do? Your young nephew gets the bug...the funky-pox...you been there...you see yourself in him...you got the potion...you give him your cherished kit that served you so well...You feel great knowing what lies ahead for him...Wow! he masters it...becomes the Doctor giving soul vaccinations to those who caught the bug...very hip!"
I grew up in Philadelphia, PA..."Philly". I began my musical pursuits on flute in elementary school and soon added the saxophone. Throughout my schooling I was involved in orchestra, marching band and jazz band as well as taking lessons at school and privately. Ready to rock, I began drumming at age 16 with the support of my Uncle Dennis, who gave me my first drum set, and my family (grams, mom and Rachel), who dealt with the noise....I mean music. In the summer of 1987 I had my first experience caring for and nurturing children as a camp counselor. Off to college at Pennsylvania State University where I earned a B.S. in Physics and found an inspiring drum instructor.
In 1993 I moved to New Orleans seeking to tap into the source of jazz. I began my music studies at The University of New Orleans in 1995 and graduated in 1999 with a Masters of Music in Jazz Performance with a 4.0 G.P.A.. While at the University I taught music theory, ear training and jazz ensemble as a teacher's assistant. I received the Ernest O. Svenson Jazz Composition award and The Deptartment Chair award for “excellence in your major and for making an important contribution to the general life of the department of music.” I toured throughout Austria and Italy in the summer of 1997 with the jazz quintet, Quintology, that went on to record the "Best new Jazz Album in New Orleans, 1999". The gem of my university studies is the time I spent learning from my drum instructor Johnny Vidacovich, one of the most unique voices of drumming in New Orleans and in the world. Along with my studies I performed extensively in New Orleans with great bands such as Astral Project, Quintology, The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, James Singleton and Ed Petersen. I regularly performed at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Throughout my time in New Orleans I taught drum lessons privately and worked as a music teacher in after school programs. I also volunteered for organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Head Start and for 8 years headed the nursery at The 1st Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans.
In 2002 I left The Big Easy to take a break from music and wander through the forests in search of something or nothing. I had a short and difficult time in Brooklyn, New York and then a few months at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh's buddhist monastery in Thenac, France. Back to New Orleans in the beginning of 2005 and back to music. Hurricane Katrina flooded me out of that magical city and I washed up on the west coast in Portland, Oregon.
Portland and the people were kind, helpful and gracious. I performed all over the city with great local musicians as well as a small contingency of displaced New Orleanians. I taught drum lessons, toddler/parent music classes, music classes for young children and summer camps at Forte Music School, a private music school in the burbs. I also taught drums at a rock camp and jazz drumming and ensemble after school at Fernwood Middle School. In December 2007 I had the honor of touring through 5 countries in Africa with a jazz quartet, Devin Phillips and New Orleans Straight Ahead, that came together in Portland from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. We were selected by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center from over 400 bands to be cultural ambassadors of the United States under the auspices of The U.S. State Department.
After 2 years in Portland I met Lilla, the love of my life and now my wife. Lilla lived in Seattle when we met and hence I am here to share the joys of drumming with you. During the day I care for our 2 year old daughter Allegra, in the afternoon I have a full schedule of drumming students and as a professional drummer in Seattle I perform regularly with the The Kora Band.
Yours Truly...Mark DiFlorio
"Mark loved music. He started with the flute, added the sax, but always wanted to play the drums. I only wanted him to be happy, so drums it was." - Mom