SMU Piano Student Alessandro Mazzamuto Wins Center for Musical Excellence International Grant/Birte Moller Young Artists Award
Prize includes Carnegie Hall debut in 2015
Alessandro Mazzamuto, a graduate student pursuing a Performer’s Diploma in piano at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has received a 2014 International Grant/Birte Moller Young Artists Award from the Center for Musical Excellence (CME) in New York. As part of the award, CME will present Mazzamuto’s New York debut recital in 2015 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. The award also includes a cash prize and the opportunity to participate in additional performances as a CME Young Artist.
“For me to play Carnegie Hall in New York has always been a dream,” says the 26-year-old Sicilian-born student. “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 help 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. “Both teachers have been fantastic,” he says. “Their artistic skills, humanity and availability, as well as the ability they’ve instilled 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!”
Mazzamuto has won more than 60 national and international competitions in piano and chamber music, and last year was named the International Classical Music Awards 2013 Young Instrumental Artist of the Year. As a finalist in the prestigious Busoni International Piano Competition in 2011, he was awarded the special Lodovici Prize, which included production of a CD on the German ARTS label. The CD, featuring music by Rachmaninoff, was awarded the “Supersonic Pizzicato” prize in 2012 by international critics. In addition, Mazzamuto 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.
Mazzamuto 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 also 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.
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, woodwinds, brass or percussion.