Mano is a Middle Eastern-inspired progressive rock band based in Chicago. Their compositions utilize musical textures and sounds from varied genres of contemporary, classical, and world music. Mano fuses a rock rhythm section with classical and world instrumentation to bring a unique and energetic live music experience that journeys through intense, thematic unison lines contrasted by sections of virtuosic improvisation. Founded in 2013 by flutist/composer Joe LaRocca, Mano includes Greg Firak (guitar), Parker Grogan (electric/upright bass), Collin O'Brien (drums), Najeeba Syed (violin), and Desiree Miller (cello).
Instrumental Rock Group
Joe LaRocca, a native of Chicago Illinois, maintains an active career as a performer and composer throughout the United States. His diverse repertoire reaches far beyond the realm of standard western concert music, spanning from rock to baroque. He is currently principal flutist of the DuBois Orchestra at Harvard, the Belmont Festival Orchestra, and section flute in Boston Chamber Symphony, as well as providing sub work for a number of orchestras around Massachusetts. Joe is the founder of the Bosch Ensemble, an ensemble that emphasizes playing music that breaks the mold of standard new music repertoire. Joe was also the member of Trio Animando, a flute, viola, and harp trio that won the prestigious chamber ensemble competition at Northern Illinois University.
Joe LaRocca is the founding member and composer of a progressive rock chamber group Mano, who have recently recorded an album of music composed by Joe, which has been featured on radio stations in Russia, France, Canada, and the United States. Mano performs regularly around Chicago and the Midwest. Along with Mano’s Album, Joe recorded a studio recording of Vermont Counterpoint by Steve Reich, and a professional live recording of his most recent solo flute recital at Longy’ School of Music’s recital hall.
Joe has extensively studied and performed multiple idioms of world music and modern American music to include jazz, R&B/soul, Arabic classical, Latin Jazz, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Chinese, Scottish highland, and Irish traditional music. He has studied under and performed with renowned musicians in these idioms to include; Marco Granados, Ruben Alvarez, Omar Al-musfi, Issam Rafea, Issa Boulos, Kinan Abou-afach, Jui-Ching Wang, Jiaqi Li, John McGann, Patrick Cannady, Ron Bowen, John Christopher Paris, Harry Skoler, and others.
Joe has successfully participated in workshops and festivals around the world to include the Talis Festival and Academy, Nief Norf Summer Workshop, Longy Divergent Studio, and the International Baroque Institute at Longy. Joe has studied with flutists Susan Levetin, Wendy Rolfe, Lisa Cella, Peter Middleton, Elizabeth Barber, Kim Sopata-Fleuchaus, Marco Granados, Na’ama Lion, and Clint Foreman. Aside from C flute, Joe extensively performs on piccolo, baroque flute, alto flute, dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), and the Akai electronic wind instrument. Joe received his Master of Music in flute performance at Northern Illinois University, and was awarded the coveted artist diploma at Longy School of Music of Bard College. Joe currently freelances around the Boston area, and continues to program recitals that focus on diverse programming, visual art, satirical performance art, and performing works by underrepresented composers in the underplayed idioms of new music and early music.
“Joe is one of the most enterprising and driven students that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He continually strives to push the boundaries of the flute repertoire with creative programming recitals, and I predict a bright musical future ahead of him.” – Marco Granados (Soloist, chamber musician, and educator)
"Joe LaRocca is a superb, complete musician and expressive player, who plays on the level of the very best flutists I have ever heard, anywhere and anytime." – Ken Randofsky (Saxophone soloist and professor at New England Conservatory, Boston University, and Longy School of Music)
"Joe LaRocca has established himself as one of the leading advocates of new music for flute in the United States and abroad. He masterfully represents the consummate musician required of 21st century demands in skill, creativity, and versatility." – Jessica Maxfield (Saxophone solosist and professor at University of Southern California)
"Joe LaRocca is a lyrical and soulful musician, with a beautiful sound.” – Nathaniel Meyer (Director of the Belmont Festival Orchestra.)
“Joe is an excellent musician both as soloist as orchestra player. His ability to listen and to connect with orchestra players in order to create intelligent and musically meaningful situations of dialogue separates him from other musicians.” Kai Johannes Polzhofer (Director of the DuBois Orchestra at Harvard)