John Pitts Resume

      JOHN PITTS, born 1976 in England, is a composer of chamber music, especially for piano - perhaps most easily summarised as melodic, motoric, motif-driven, jazz-tinged, post-minimal impressionism.

His 2009 album Intensely Pleasant Music: 7 Airs & Fantasias and other piano music by John Pitts, performed by the amazing Steven Kings, was released to critical acclaim - receiving a 5 star review in Musical Opinion Magazine, several 4 star reviews including the Independent Newspaper, with descriptions such as "beautiful, moving and relaxing", "delicious", "lovely", "colossal… stunning and seriously impressive", "great character and emotional integrity", "exciting stuff all round… toes - prepare to tap."

Reviewers seeking to describe the pieces on the disc referred to "Prokofiev's Toccata rewritten by Steve Reich", "Keith Jarrett, Sun Ra and Bud Powell", "Bach and Scarlatti all the way through to Einaudi and Nyman, taking in Scott Joplin and Erik Satie", "Debussy, a little Messiaen, `La vallĂ©e des cloches' (Ravel's Miroirs), but some [tracks] wear their modal, English-music origins with pride… Vaughan Williams and Graham Fitkin."

Oleg Ledeniov of MusicWeb International wrote "There are many pleasant discoveries - melodic, rhythmic, sonic - but almost no standard or predictable moves or clichés - at least, for me. The listener doesn't have to work hard to get into the music: a kind of minimalistic "submerge and relax" attitude will definitely do the trick. This is a colorful and interesting set by a talented composer. And if harmony is your thing, you'll find much to admire here."

In 1994 John spent a year in Pakistan, which has led to a number of chamber pieces heavily influenced by Indian classical music, most recently "Raag Gezellig", the piano duet composed for the Valberg International Piano 4 Hands Competition 2011. He studied at Bristol and Manchester Universities, under composers Adrian Beaumont, Raymond Warren, Geoff Poole, John Casken, John Pickard and Robert Saxton, and briefly with Diana Burrell in a COMA Composer Mentor scheme. In 2003 John won the prestigious Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund Composition Prize at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Typhus and Nuts & Bolts, two of his chamber pieces, were shortlisted by the Society for the Promotion of New Music. He has also written music for four plays and two short operatic works - Crossed Wires (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 1997), and 3 Sliced Mice (commissioned by Five Brothers Pasta Sauces).

He is the secretary of the Severnside Composers Alliance, through which he is organizing what is probably the UK's first concert of music for Piano Triet (one piano six hands) by living composers, in April 2012. His own piano triet "Are You Going?" ("a toccata boogie of unstoppable, unquenchable verve" Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International) was premiered at the 2010 Kiev Chamber Music Festival by the Kiev Piano Duo and Antoniy Baryshevkiy, along with his duet "Changes" ("three minutes of pile driving energy and brilliantly exciting" ibid.).

He also writes music for Christian worship, with two hymns on Naxos CDs recorded by his eldest brother composer Antony Pitts and TONUS PEREGRINUS, including one in Faber's The Naxos Book of Carols book. In 2006 Choir & Organ magazine commissioned "I will raise him up at the last day" for their new music series. John has conducted four Bristol Savoy Operatic Society productions, arranging Pirates of Penzance, Gondoliers and Iolanthe for small band. From January 2010 he became the Assistant Conductor of the Bristol Millennium Orchestra.

Updated:  June 20, 2012

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