Antonio Pontarelli Brings New Electricity to Somerfest

International award winning singer/songwriter/rock violinist Antonio Pontarelli will be bringing his engaging sound to the 2008 Somerfest, July 18-21 at the Laurel Arts Center in Somerset, PA.

Currently his mesmerizing playing can be heard on the airwaves as the violinist for Grammy award winning artist, Seri Tankian the voice of 'System of a Down' (SOAD). "Empty Walls", from the album "Elect the Dead", peaked at number four on the Billboard Charts this year. Tankian called Pontarelli a "great musician and said that his violin playing brought ambiance to the music."

A classically trained violinist and pianist, Pontarelli grew up surrounded by music. His grandfather, Musicologist Hans Stumpf of Somerset, PA started playing with him when he was only four. It was Pontarelli's early exposure to improvisation that gave him the innovative approach that makes him one of the most exciting artists to arrive onto the Indie music scene. It is by blending his classical, blues and jazz roots with the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Tool and System of a Down that his fresh innovated sound is created. Pontarelli and his band have been sharing their sound at numerous performances throughout the US and plan a late summer CD release.

Pontarelli has been featured 'Live from the Grammy Red Carpet', on the Tonight Show, Entertainment Tonight and the TV Guide Channel. He has had coverage in Billboard, Music Connection and graced the covers of a number of magazines. Earlier this year Pontarelli was a winner of the prestigious International Songwriters Competition (ISC) where he won the People's Voice Award. ISC received over 15, 000 entries from 100 countries throughout the world and Pontarelli received the highest number of votes from fans who voted in the competition.

Winning awards is not new for Pontarelli who has won numerous awards over the years as a songwriter as well as a performing artist. This includes winning the Grand Championship of "America's Most Talented Kids" which included American Idol winner Jordan Sparks. His band won the Inland Empire Music Awards for "Best Rock Band" as well as the ASTA National Alternative Styles Competition for "Best Rock". This is the first award, however, that was based solely on input from the public.

"It is a true honor to win the ISC People's Voice Award" Pontarelli stated. "I am extremely grateful for the overwhelming response from fans all over the world."

Pontarelli will be performing on the Main Stage on Friday July 18 at 8 pm. On Saturday July 19th at 12:20 he will be performing his original rock music on the Outdoor Stage and then again at 9 p.m.

The Somerfest has a diverse group of performing artists of many genres. The weekend features rock, classic rock, jazz and blues, reggae, and ethnic music. But Somerfest 2008 is not just about performing arts. Artists will be on site displaying and demonstrating their art. Inside the Dressler Center is the Somerset County Artist Association's 21st Annual Juried Art Show from the tri-state area's best artists. The second floor galleries include art for Somerset County youth and the Laurel Arts permanent collection.

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