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Born in 1972, Donald begins to play the guitar by himself at the age of 10. Eight years later, he starts his professional activities, playing guitar and bass in Pop/Rock cover bands, and later on with artists from South America (Dalia Negra, Guarana). In 1996, he becomes laureate of the national guitar contest John McLaughlin/Guitarist Magazine, and also starts studying jazz guitar formally with Pierre Cullaz & Michel Perez, and music writing & arrangement with François Jeanneau & Jean Gobinet. Three years later, he graduates from the Conservatory of Metz, France. (Musical Studies Diploma in Jazz with honors). Since then, he’s been sharing his time between jazz and world music. Besides his own musical projects, he has been playing with: Tot’m, Mister’Oz Big Band, Iguazú, Son Del Sol, Maria Tejada, Ulises Piedra, Ricardo Sandoval, Sofia Ribeiro, Marc Demuth, Bob Morhard, Edith van den Heuvel, Pies en la tierra, Rita Maria, Ecuadorian Jazz Orchestra, Dave Samuels, Anders Astrand, Marvin Holladay, Walt Szymanski, Garry Wittner, Viktorija Pilatovic, among others.
He regulary performs in clubs, festivals and on recording projects as a composer/arranger/improviser on several string instruments (classical, acoustic & electric guitars, dobro, cavaquinho, greek bouzouki, oud etc…) and has been playing in Europe, South America, USA and Australia. He’s also musical director and arranger of the Ecuadorian vocal group Fantasía Ensamble, and is regularly asked to write music for the Ecuadorian music scene.
In 2009, he started his own music label, ADL Records, at first to record the musical projects he shares with his life-partner and Ecuadorian singer María Tejada, but slowly opening the label to other artists. The eleventh recording of the label will be released on September 2016.
He was a teacher at the Music Academy International of Nancy, France (Part of the Berklee International Network), from 2000 to 2007, and at Music School of Echternach, Luxembourg, from 2006 to 2007. He currently teaches music theory at Conservatorio Mozarte, Quito and Brazilian music at USFQ, Quito. (Also part of the B.I.N.)
Besides his musical activities, Donald is a programmer, and owns a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences.
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Hi! My name is Donald Régnier, and I’m a guitarist, arranger, composer, producer, poly-instrumentalist, music teacher and programmer. When I’m not doing one of these things, I like to cook, play chess, ping-pong, do some yoga and spend time with my family.
I was born in 1972, and started to play the guitar at the age of 10, as a self-taught musician. My father was a music collector, owning around 4000 LPs, mainly country-music, blues and classic rock, so I naturally started to first listen and learn these styles by ear. At the age of 13, I spent 2 years at the music school of my town, where I learned basic solfege.
When I was 18, while I was starting to play guitar and bass in pop/rock cover bands, I also discovered jazz music on one side, first electric jazz fusion and then gypsy and bebop, and Brazilian music on the other side, with 2 Brazilian friends who were studying computer sciences with me at the university.
In 1995, I decided to formally study jazz music at the Conservatory of Metz, France. I was lucky to have great teachers like Pierre Cullaz, Michel Perez, Ricardo Del Fra, François Jeanneau and Jean Gobinet. I graduated from the Conservatory in 1998, with honors. In 1996, I also won a national guitar contest organized by Guitar Magazine, interpreting the music of John McLaughlin.
In 1999, I started to connect with musicians from South America, and learn some of the styles of different countries, including Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. This year, I also had the opportunity to write some original music for Mister’Oz Big-Band, a great experience that left me with a deep love for writing and arranging music for other people. And the same year I also met the Ecuadorian singer María Tejada, who has become my partner in life and music. We founded a voice and guitar duet, Iguazú, who won the third prize at the international competition “Voice & Guitar”, in 2006 in Germany. We also recorded two albums (“Una Vez”, 2009 & “Duetando”, 2012) and made more than 600 shows in 17 years … and still more to come !!
In 2000, I began to teach music at the Music Academy International of Nancy, a music school part of the Berklee International Network. I realized that my first years of learning music as a self-taught musician was a big advantage as a teacher, because of the so many things I had to figure out by myself (process that is still going on till now), things that I was able to explain to my students from a personal, effective and practical view. The music teaching/learning process has since then become one of my big interests in life, trying to make the hearing process a central part of it.
The 2000-2008 years were dedicated to learn and play as much as possible. People I had the opportunity to play with, and learn from, include: Christophe Panzani, Bruno Schorp, Jacques Tellitocci, Damien Prud’homme, Mister Oz Big Band, Sylvain Courtney, Ed Romano, Emmanuel Harang, Christian Mariotto, Marc Demuth, Edith van den Heuvel, Sofia Ribeiro, Pascal Schumacher, Ulises Piedra, Niuver Navarro, Ricardo Sandoval, Matthias Collet and much more.
In 2005, I wrote the music for the first album of Maria Tejada, “Fábula”, that was released in 2006 by the French label Cristal Records. This year I also did my first trip to Ecuador, and started to study music from this country with the idea of making a recording based on the Ecuadorian repertoire with modern arrangements that would include jazz harmony. The project ended up in 2008 with the second album from Maria, “Al Cantar Tus Flores”, recorded with 42 musicians, that we decided to release both in Ecuador and Europe. The same year, we decided to move to Ecuador.
In 2009, after one year passed in this new country, I decided to create my own music label, ADL Records, with the idea of being able to produce Maria’s albums in total artistic freedom. The label is now opened to other artists, and its 11th recording will be released on September 2016. You can find complete information on the label’s recordings here.
Once established in Ecuador, I quickly reconnected with the teaching experience. First in 2009, where I was asked to teach music theory at the conservatory Mozarte, and then in 2010 when I also became part of the College of Music of USFQ (Member of the Berklee International Network), where I am currently teaching the Brazilian ensembles classes. My blog on this website will also be dedicated to share pedagogical material, as well as my music facebook page.
Even if I had experiences in writing for vocal ensembles in France, it’s in Ecuador, with my meeting with a vocal female group named Fantasia Ensamble, that I really developed this activity and it quickly became one of my favorite setup for music writing… maybe my frustration of not being a singer !! The project ended in a beautiful recording, De Alma y Voces (ADL Records, 2010), with original vocal arrangements written specifically for this group on Ecuadorian repertoire, alongside with one of the more important composer/arranger in Ecuador, Segundo Cóndor, who passed away in 2015. In Ecuador, I also had the opportunity to write for a big-band lead by Marvin ‘Doc’ Holladay, as well as for various chamber music setups.
During all these years, I also developed an interest for string instruments from all over the world, and spent some time studying cavaquinho, Greek bouzouki, Turkish oud, tiple etc… as well as various kind of guitars: 6,7 and 8-string classical, acoustic, 12-string, national slide guitar etc…
Feel free to surf the website and to come back regularly, as I will do my best to keep it updated with new music and pedagogic material.
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I got my first computer at the age of 11, a Thomson TO7/70 with a Motorola 6809 processor onboard, 64 Ko of RAM and a 16-color display monitor (not 16-bits colors, 16-color …). A couple of years later, my parents changed it for a TO8 … much more powerful : 256 Ko of RAM, a monitor with 160×200 resolution in 16 colors, an optical pen, a cassette recorder for saving the programs … well, a luxury for that time !!
The only languages available on these machines were BASIC, a procedural interpreted language (no compilation!) and 6809 assembler … after learning both of them, I remember I made a text editor for my father when I was 15, a kind of prehistoric word software, with basic copy/paste functions, some layout facilities and of course, the possibility to print out the results on … an impact printer!
By that time, my parents offered me a subscription to Scientific American, and I began to be very interested in the relationships between sciences and computers, especially math & physics. I remember very well a 1985 column about Mandelbrot’s set … I spent a couple of hours understanding the theory, and then started to program the algorithm in Basic. It took the computer like 10 hours to render the first picture of the whole set … what an adventure !!
Even if music was taking more place in my life, as my father wanted me to get a “real” diploma, I decided to go to the University to study computer sciences. There I discovered new languages and new (sometimes strange) programming thinking. I remember being fascinated by two “strange” languages I learned. The first one was Scheme, a LISP variation with only very few keywords and no libraries … a sort of mathematical abstract beauty. The other one was Prolog, a declarative language based on first order logic, used a lot in AI applications. These two languages mean a lot to me because they really showed me that computer programming can be an art form, something speaking to the human brain at his highest level of abstraction, like music can be. I also learned Turbo Pascal and some C.
Then came the Object Oriented Programming. My first contact with it was with the language Eiffel, that I studied at the university, and then some C++ and Java. I then stopped programming for some years, dedicating my life to music.
It’s in 2008 that I got back to it, first attracted by website development in flash, with Actionscript 3 being a real language able to produce amazing content for the web. Even if nowadays flash is by far not the best choice for web design, Actionscript 3 and the AIR SDK from Adobe propose a powerful cross-platforms programming solution, able to produce applications running on both iOS & Android, as well as online content, all with only one language.
During the 3 last years, I’ve been working on some educational and training tools for the musician, and I will post some of the result in the BITS section of this website. Stay tuned !