WHEELER RECITAL FOR YOUNG ORGANISTS
MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017
Heralded by The Australian as "a self-confessed showman who loves to engage with his audience," Alessandro’s interest in the organ began at the age of 5 on a Sunday afternoon he was sitting with his mum in a church when he heard the organ being played. He was immediately fixated and not long after piano lessons soon followed, as he was too short to reach to the pedals to begin learning the organ. This continued until the age of 11 when the precocious Alessandro negotiated himself a paid position as organist at his local church, playing for weekly services. Having achieved sufficient proficiency on the piano and being tall enough to reach the pedals, he now began formal organ training. Within two years, his were noticed by one of Perth’s top music high schools, Trinity College, and he was promptly awarded a full pipe organ scholarship, a rare distinction in Western Australia. Now 14 years old, he directed the Chapel Music program, including playing for daily services and special school events, and was awarded several prizes in local competitions around Perth.
Awarded a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Western Australia, he was a finalist in the University’s Concerto Competition and garnered an unheard of 600 people in attendance for his graduation recital. At the age of 18 while a full-time student, Alessandro was offered a position at South Perth’s St Mary’s Anglican Church as Organist and Director of Music. During his tenure, he established a significant music program including a paid choir of eight singers singing every Sunday, oversaw the installation of a large new organ and founded the St Mary’s concert series featuring Perth’s top up and coming musicians. Prior to departing Perth, Alessandro established the St Mary’s Music Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, to finance these programs supporting young musicians in Perth. In the vanguard of Australia’s next generation of musicians, Alessandro held teaching positions in five major schools across Perth.
Alessandro has worked with Australian composers to create new works for the organ, and was notably featured in The Perth International Arts Festival’s 2014 new music concert. Working closely with Australian composer James Ledger, Alessandro played a Hammond Organ in a Schoenberg “Pierrot ensemble” with flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and replacing the piano with organ. Australia’s classical music magazine Limelight exclaimed, ‘Ledger has ingeniously replaced the piano with a Hammond organ and here, organist Alessandro Pittorino seemed right at home in sparkly bow tie, engaging in a lively, supple rhythmic conversation with the rest of the ensemble.’
Alessandro now lives in New York City, where he is completing a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School. There, he studies with GRAMMY award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, and is the first Australian organist to be awarded a place in the famed performing arts school. In just over a year in New York, Alessandro is already making his mark on the musical scene with solo concerts in iconic venues such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. While enrolled full-time at Juilliard, he holds notable positions as organ scholar at Christ Church United Methodist NYC, and organist at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. Alessandro’s passion for the organ is rooted in the beauty of the music and ecstasy of performance, and it is the incorporation of these elements that excite his concert audiences the world over.