About Dena
Vision Through Sounds

Blind at the age of three due to an epidemic of diphtheria that swept through his hometown of Sagunto, Spain, composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) survived both world wars, the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and numerous personal challenges to become one of the most beloved musical figures of the twentieth century. The project VISION THROUGH SOUNDS will introduce his life story and select music compositions, providing a historical perspective of a young, visually impaired man growing up in a time without technology, accessibility, or advanced tools.  He was faced with incredibly scary and difficult situations—including educational challenges, social outcast, and political unrest—in his inequitable environment.  And still, he persevered and became one of the most beloved composers, offering exceptional gifts to the world.  Distinctive in approach, VISION THROUGH SOUNDS offers the experience aurally: history, music and perceptions are communicated completely through sound.     

VISION THROUGH SOUNDS is a narration based on a recording titled El niño soñó la música (The Little Boy Who Imagined Music), published in 2003 through the publishing house of the composer’s only child Cecilia Rodrigo, Editorial Joaquín Rodrigo. Translated into English, the reading of the script also includes inserts of sound clips: effects like thunder, rain, children playing, and bird calls enhance the listening experience. 

There are only two personnel required to present the research: a narrator, and Dr. Dena Kay Jones, the pianist performer.  This thirty-minute experience (of combining the reading of a script plus the inserts of audio clips) is followed with a live performance of select Rodrigo piano pieces.  Thereafter, the program is then followed by dialogue between select students and Dr. Jones. With the assistance of teacher educators who work daily with the students, Dr. Jones is eager to hear what the students have to say after they have had a chance to reflect upon the presentation.   

As of today, Dr. Jones' research has touched just a small number within this specific community, whereas it has reached many more sighted people.  She wants to even that exchange, encouraging all people to better understand each other and ourselves.  The potential of this type of presentation can be limitless, as the model could be used to introduce the work of other composers, musicians, athletes, business executives, scientists or anyone who has responded to the challenges of being visually impaired, to not only students attending State Schools for the Blind, but to any educational resource within the U.S. and beyond.   

Participating Schools: 1) Colorado School for the Blind, Colorado Springs and 2) Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville