Fall 2013 Artist
Harvey Pittel | Professor of Saxophone, Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin
Fall 2013 Performers
Jonathan Charpentier | Vista Ridge High School
Joyce Chen | Westwood High School
David Schreck | Pflugerville High School
November 13, 2013 | 7:00 pm
About the Artist:
HARVEY PITTEL, SAXOPHONE
Consistently acknowledged as America’s foremost classical saxophonist, Harvey Pittel has popularized the very concept of the saxophone in concert and has elevated his instrument to a new level of appreciation by lovers of fine music.
Born in 1943, he began the study of music as a clarinetist at Clifford Street Elementary School in Los Angeles at age seven. Growing up in Los Angeles, his first private teacher was Chesley Mills. Mr. Pittel went on to study with Kallman Bloch, Principal Clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; Franklyn Stokes, Bass Clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; Anthony Desiderio and the late Mitchell Lurie at the University of Southern California. Upon graduation from USC with a degree in music education in 1964, Mr. Pittel studied with Fred Hemke at Northwestern University and received the Master of Music Degree in Saxophone Performance in 1965.
As a member of the West Point Military Academy Band during the Vietnam Era from 1966-1969, he began his studies with Joseph Allard of the Juilliard School. These lessons continued periodically for some fifteen years as Mr. Pittel returned to New York for contests, solo recitals, orchestral solo and chamber music concerts, etc. From 1978 until 2001 Harvey Pittel was “mentored” periodically by the great Kapellmeister, pianist and conductor Jens Nygaard of the Jupiter Symphony.
Commanding an enormous and diverse portion of the saxophone’s vast solo and chamber repertoire, Mr. Pittel performs music written for the instrument by composers as varied as Debussy, Hovhaness, Babbitt, Villa-Lobos and Glazunov, as well as his own transcriptions of baroque and classical works by Bach, Marcello, Loeillet, Mozart and others. With the Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet, he performs chamber music as well as the popular saxophone repertoire of the vaudeville, ragtime and swing eras. In addition, he has added to the instrument’s body of work through commissions from composers including Milton Babbitt and Luciano Berio.
His discography includes twenty six recordings of duos, trios, quartets and concertos with orchestra, and he has been featured on soundtracks of several films including Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN. A guest on the Today show and a featured artist on the LIVE FROM LINCLOLN CENTER and SPOLETO/U.S.A. telecasts, he is known to an ever-widening public.
Each season includes several tours with The Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet, as well as duo-recitals and orchestral engagements. Mr. Pittel has appeared as soloist with many symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Denver and Seattle Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and a host of others, under the direction of such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas and Dimitri Kitaenko. Overseas, he has appeared with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, the London Sinfonietta and Bergen Philharmonic, as well as in recital in Mexico, throughout Europe and the Far East.
His recitals around the world, including eight major New York appearances, have brought Mr. Pittel such praise from the New York Times as, “He combined stunning virtuosity with impeccable musicianship, in addition to which he produced the most beautiful and pure tone I have ever heard from a saxophone,” “the sort of technical mastery which refuses to call attention to itself,” “The Segovia of the Saxophone,” and “A master on his instrument.”
The recipient of two Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund grants and a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant, Harvey Pittel has twice been presented as a winner of the Concert Artist Guild competition. His other awards include a silver medal earned in the Concourse International d’Execution Musicale in Geneva. He presented six seasons of concerts as an Affiliate Artist.
Mr. Pittel has held the position of Professor of Saxophone at The University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music for the past thirty two years and has also taught at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, Montclair State College in New Jersey, Boston University, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His festival participation has included Spoleto/U.S.A., Brevard, Aspen, Ojai, Tanglewood, and Marlboro, the latter at the invitation of the late Rudolf Serkin.
His numerous recordings include BACH AND NOODLES and MOVING ALONG (“Subtlety and technical perfection…exceptional mastery…Pittel’s artistry contradicts all the normal criticisms leveled against the instrument like a David slaying Goliath…Like a fine lieder singer, Pittel is a master”) with saxophone and piano (Crystal Records CD 654 and 655, respectively), THE HARVEY PITTEL SAXOPHONE QUARTET LIVE IN CHICAGO, TEX SAX, HARVEY PITTEL WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS WIND ENSEMBLE, Jerry Junkin conducting at Carnegie Hall and performing concertos by Karel Husa and David Maslanka (Mark Records 2106, 2208, 2697 and 3932, respectively), and his recent release of LA LINGE, LA SONORITE: A TRIBUTE TO MARCEL MULE, also on Mark Records, featuring Kol Nidre by Max Bruch, Theme From Shindler’s List by John Williams, the Concerto by Ingolf Dahl, and Concertino by Hye Kyeung Lee. The recent recordings TEX SAX: NEXT GENERATION and OVER THE RAINBOW AND BACH AGAIN were listed for Grammy nomination and are available on the Mark and Longhorn/Naxos labels. The March/April 2011 issue of American record Guide referred to Harvey Pittel as “the standard-bearer of American saxophone playing” for his SEXTUOR CD on Crystal records.
These recordings and others are available at most major record stores, on iTunes, Amazon.com and on Mr. Pittel’s multimedia web site harveypittel.com. Three more CDs, THE BAROQUE SAXOPHONE with the late Jens Nygaard and The Jupiter Symphony, SONGS FOR MOM with Mr. Pittel’s son, trumpet virtuoso David Pittel, as well as David’s solo trumpet debut CD with Harvey Pittel are in preparation.
“Harvey Pittel Presents The Teachings of The Master Joe Allard” and “Harvey Pittel’s Visit With Marcel Mule” can be found on The Eastman Music Company YouTube web site. Mr. Pittel’s Butler School of Music appearances this season include Songs For Mom with David Pittel/Trumpet and New York Philharmonic Cellist Eric Bartlett in Jessen Auditorium on January 25, 14 and a solo performance with The University of Texas Wind Ensemble on March 30, 14 in Bates Recital Hall.