Donna Amato, pianist
© Donna Amato
Donna Amato was born in Pittsburgh, where she also received her earliest musical training. She later studied with Ozan Marsh, Louis Kentner, Gaby Casadesus, Guido Agosti and Angelica Morales von Sauer. She has made concert appearances in Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, Norway, Mexico, Canada, Russia and the United States, and radio broadcasts on the BBC as well as the inaugural live broadcast on Classic FM. Her concerto performances have included the Mozart Concerto, K.488, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, Daniel Dorff’s Piano Concerto, Nancy Galbraith’s 2nd Piano Concerto and the 4th Piano Concerto ‘Aurora Borealis’ by Geirr Tveitt (which can be seen in its entirety on YouTube). She performed works of Giacinto Scelsi in Rome at the invitation of the Scelsi Foundation, and toured with Pittsburgh’s River City Brass Band in a series of performances of the Jazz Concerto in D by Dana Suesse. Other performances with orchestra have included the Skryabin Piano Concerto, the 2nd Piano Concerto of Edward MacDowell, the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.4, Leonardo Balada’s Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion, and the world première of Sorabji’s 5th Piano Concerto. In 2005 she performed Michael Daugherty’s Le tombeau de Liberace in Arizona, and Messiaen’s Couleurs de la cité célèste with the Carnegie Mellon University Wind Ensemble, conducted by George Vosburgh. A number of leading composers have written works especially for her, which she has performed, broadcast and recorded.
Her recordings include the two concertos of MacDowell with the London Philharmonic Orchestra on the Alto label, the sonatas of Dutilleux and Balakirev, a recital disc entitled ‘A Piano Portrait’, a Scriabin disc, two collections of works by Sorabji, a disc of music by Ethelbert and Arthur Nevin, MacDowell’s complete piano sonatas, Nancy Galbraith’s Piano Concerto No.2, and a disc of the early piano works of Scelsi. Other releases include piano music of Carson Cooman (Naxos), Arnold Rosner (Albany), and Thomas L.Read (Zimbel), a second volume of Cooman’s piano works (Altarus), and Sorabji’s Symphonia brevis (Piano Symphony No.5) (Altarus).
She has a long-standing association with Sorabji’s music. She produced performing editions of his Passeggiata Arlecchinesca and Toccatinetta sopra C.G.F., and produced corrected editions of Fantaisie espagnole and Valse-fantaisie. She has also acted as consulting editor on other works, and gave world premières of two of his compositions in an all-Sorabji concert in the Vienna Festival in 1993. In 1992 she presented a lecture-recital in Montréal, Canada, on Sorabji’s life and music. In March 2003, she gave the world première of Sorabji’s published piano concerto, now regarded as his 5th (it was published in the 1920s as Concerto II). The concert, which also featured works written around the same time by Busoni and Grainger, was given in Vredenburg Music Center, Utrecht as part of a series of events ‘Around Kaikhosru Sorabji’ organised by Netherlands Public Radio, which broadcast the performance (now available on YouTube). The orchestra was the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ed Spanjaard. In 2004 she gave the world première of Symphonia brevis (Piano Symphony No.5) at New York’s Merkin Hall.
Donna Amato currently teaches piano at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, and works at Carnegie Mellon as an Assisting Artist, while maintaining a busy schedule of solo and chamber-music concert appearances.