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Next Stop: Carnegie Hall

Student Alessandro Mazzamuto has already soloed with orchestras in Milan, Germany, Ukraine and Romania. Now, thanks to a 2014 CME International Grant/Birte Moller Young Artists Award, he’s headed to Carnegie Hall in 2015.

First-year Performer’s Diploma student Alessandro Mazzamuto will make his New York debut at Carnegie Hall, thanks to an award from the Center for Musical Excellence (CME). CME presented pianist Mazzamuto with a 2014 CME International Grant /Birte Moller Young Artists Award in May. In addition to a cash prize, Mazzamuto will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2015, and will be featured in other CME concerts as an official CME Young Artist.

“For me to play Carnegie Hall in New York has always been a dream,” says the 26-year-old Sicilian-born Mazzamuto. “For classical music, it is a sacred place. All the greatest musicians have performed there, so to have this chance to perform in the same place is really wonderful. I thank the CME for this great opportunity.”

The Birte Moller Young Artists Award is the first international performing arts grant given by the Center for Musical Excellence, a nonprofit school located near Lincoln Center in New York City. CME’s goal is to inspire, guide and mentor aspiring young artists toward meaningful and successful careers in music that enrich both the artists and their communities. The grant is designed to provide financial and professional assistance to gifted pianists of all ages and nationalities in need of financial assistance for their dream projects.

At Meadows, Mazzamuto studies with Dr. Carol Leone, associate professor of piano and co-chair of the keyboard department, and internationally acclaimed pianist Joaquín Achúcarro. If it hadn’t been for Leone, Mazzamuto might not have known about the CME opportunity.

“A few days before the deadline for the application, I received an email from Dr. Leone, with the invitation to participate in this contest,” explains Mazzamuto. “Immediately I was struck by this wonderful initiative put in place to help young pianists from around the world.” The application asks candidates to explain their goals and dreams. Mazzamuto described a project in which he could record a disc comprising Chopin’s Etudes op. 25 and Rachmaninoff's third concerto, accompanied by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest. But CME had other things in mind for him.

“Instead, I was awarded a debut in Carnegie Hall in New York as well as other concerts, which is for me, even if it is different from my request, a dream come true,” says Mazzamuto.

Why he chose Meadows to study piano

With his talent, background and performance experience, Mazzamuto likely could have gone anywhere in the world to further his study of piano. He earned his M.A. in piano and graduated with honors in 2007 from the Higher Institute of Music "Vincenzo Bellini" in Catania, Sicily, under the guidance of Epifanio Comis. He studied at the International Piano Academy in Imola, Italy. He taught piano at the Musical Institute Pietro Vinci in Caltagirone, Sicily; the Musical Institute Giuseppe Privitera in Syracuse, Italy; and the Accademia Musicale Siciliana in Adrano, Italy.

He has won over 60 awards, including the International Classical Music Awards 2013 Young Instrumental Artist of the Year. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras such as La Verdi (Milan), the Rias Berlin Youth Orchestra (Germany), the Chamber Orchestra of Kiev (Ukraine), the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ploesti (Romania), and the Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), with conductors such as András Schiff, Daisuke Soga, Amaury du Closel, John Axelrod, Tomasz Bugaj, Ovidiu Balan, Valentin Doni, Ovidiu Marinescu and Epifanio Comis.

So why Meadows?

“I chose SMU Meadows because I knew about Dr. Leone from a master class that she gave in Italy, at the invitation of my Italian teacher Mr. Epifanio Comis,” explains Mazzamuto. “Immediately I realized the highest artistic level of music in her and decided definitely to come here to Dallas.”

He was also very aware of Professor Achúcarro’s international reputation and that Achúcarro was a Meadows faculty member. “Of course I knew Professor Achúcarro, though not personally,” Mazzamuto says. “He is a famous pianist, so I was very happy that I transferred to Dallas to be part of this unique school.”

Mazzamuto describes his first year in the Meadows Performer’s Diploma program as productive and “interesting from different points of view.”

“Both teachers were fantastic with me,” he says. “Their artistic skills, humanity and availability, as well as the ability to listen to other pianists, have helped me in my musical and technical growth. I'm sure I'll continue to learn a lot from them, because in life you never stop learning.”

The Meadows School of the Arts Performer’s Diploma is a two-year program for exceptional performers who already hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent conservatory or professional qualifications and who are preparing for a career in performance. The P.D. is available in piano, strings, voice, harpsichord, organ, woodwind, brass or percussion.

Read more about Meadows School of the Arts Performer’s Diploma and pianist Alessandro Mazzamuto; read an interview with Mazzamuto by Musica magazine editor Stephen Hastings.

Listen to Mazzamuto playing Rachmaninoff, Sonata n. 2 op. 36, first version (original version 1913), from his latest CD released on the German ARTS label.

To read more, visit here.

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