John Pitts INTENSELY PLEASANT MUSIC
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John Pitts is a composer, teacher, and author of the unusual 258-page book "How to Play Indian Sitar Raags on a Piano" (2016), followed by "Indian Raags for Piano Made Easy" (2018) for fledgling pianists. In 1994 he spent a year in Pakistan, which led to a number of chamber pieces heavily influenced by Indian classical music, including "Raag Gezellig", the piano duet composed for the Valberg International Piano 4 Hands Competition 2011.
He composes mostly music for piano – stylistically melodic, motoric, motif-driven, jazz-tinged, post-minimal impressionism – in recent years with a particular interest in various traditional world musics. His 2009 album "Intensely Pleasant Music: 7 Airs & Fantasias and other piano music", performed by Steven Kings, received “delicious” reviews (see below). His virtuosic pieces for two pianists "7 Piano Duets & Triets inspired by music from around the world" and "Gaelic Faram Jig in Kiev" (written for the Kiev Piano Duo)) have been performed at concerts, competitions and festivals in several European countries, plus Armenia, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and the USA, including in 2015 a concert dedicated to his music in Perpignan Conservatoire's Festival Prospective 22ème siècle.
John studied Music at Bristol and Manchester Universities, studying composition under Adrian Beaumont, Geoff Poole, John Casken and John Pickard, also receiving tuition from Raymond Warren and Robert Saxton, and briefly from Diana Burrell in a COMA scheme. "Typhus" and "Nuts & Bolts", two of his chamber pieces, were shortlisted by the Society for the Promotion of New Music. In 2003 John won the Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund Composition Prize, his Piano Quartet being performed by the Fidelio Quartet in the final stage of the competition at the Royal Festival Hall, and subsequently in Nottingham, London and Oxford.
He has written 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.
Secretary of Severnside Composers Alliance (2003-2015), with four pieces released on SCA CDs on the Dunelm label. John 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). MD of four Bristol Savoy Operatic Society productions, arranging Pirates of Penzance, Gondoliers and Iolanthe for small band, and Associate Conductor of the Bristol Millennium Orchestra since 2010.
THE INDEPENDENT "deftly impressive" Andy Gill
MUSICAL OPINION "a sensitive and intelligent creative personality" Robert Matthew-Walker
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW "…an overall idiom of considerable charm… 'Intensely pleasant music'? Most certainly." Calum MacDonald
REVIEWS NEW AGE "Realmente un magnífico repertorio desbordante de calidad, belleza y de sumo interés." Alejandro Clavijo
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL “This is a colorful and interesting set by a talented composer…. The playing by Steven Kings is technically and emotionally perfect." Oleg Ledeniov
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL "brilliantly exciting"…"a colossal musical project that deserves admiration"…"Stunning and seriously impressive" John France
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL "Exciting stuff all round - vital, energising, but sensitive when need be. Toes - prepare to tap." Jonathan Woolf
ALL MUSIC GUIDE Stephen Eddins
PIANO PROFESSIONAL "great character and emotional integrity…a thoroughly worthwhile project" Mark Tanner
OPUSMUSICA "recomendable" Adolfo del Brezo
CLASSICALSOURCE "surely more than just 'intensely pleasant music'." Michael Darvell
VENUE Paul Riley
CROSS RHYTHMS 9/10 "this album is beautiful, moving and relaxing" Andy Whitehead
MUSIC & VISION DAILY "The performances by Steven Kings are excellent … All [the pieces] are pleasing to hear and will be satisfying to play" Patric Standford
NEW CLASSICS "beautifully played"