Sammy Pizzata


They say the most romantic instrument is the guitar for its ability to produce music that elicits the most significant emotional response from both women and men.

But try telling this to someone who, when once questioned by a journalist as to his stance on the piano accordion, promptly and categorically stated that this was definitely the only instrument to be justly called "The most romantic instrument on Earth"!

And so begins the story of a genuine Perth music icon, the only way to describe pianist, accordionist, composer, arranger and musical director Sammy Pizzata (pictured with wife at a recent function).

Sammy's introduction to music had begun in his native Italy with clarinet lessons at age nine but on arrival to Australia four years later he commenced his association with the accordion under the guidance of the late master accordionist Peter Piccini.

Subsequently Sammy went on to study the piano with none other than Wallace Tate, a prominent figure with a long and distinguished career who taught and performed in England and the USA and among many other assignments also taught at the School Of Music of the University Of Western Australia and at the WA Academy Of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Further invaluable artistic development Sammy was to gain with the completion of an extensive arranging course with the world's preeminent college for the study of contemporary, popular and jazz music and the most famous music school of them all, the Berklee College Of Music of Boston USA.

This expertise combined with his exceptional technical skills ensured that he would embark on a musical career that would see him develop into one of Western Australia's most respected musicians.

The Sammy Pizzata Quartet (which usually included his equally famous brother Bruno on drums) was for many years the resident band at one of Perth's premiere venues Romanos Restaurant & Nightclub situated in the trendy inner city entertainment precinct of Northbridge.

At this venue, and indeed at many others to come, Sammy became renowned for providing top quality professional accompaniment to the cream of Australian and international cabaret artists who would regularly perform a nightly one or two week season.

Performances and shows with hundreds of acts too many to list here but, just to name a few, ranged from Australian stars John Farnham, Marcia Hynes and Glen Shorrock to visiting UK acts Matt Munro, Harry Secombe, Renee & Renato of No.1 hit "Save Your Love" fame to Hong Kong singing sensation Frances Yip and of course a host of artists from Italy none more famous than TV and recording star Nilla Pizzi, Giorgio Consolini, Pupo and, well, the list could go on and on and on!

This was all interspersed with also providing entertainment and accompanying top artists at concerts, shows and at any and all of the city's major five star establishments.

For successive years Sammy also led and conducted a big band to accompany singers at the Italian Song Festival invariably held at the Perth Concert Hall and for which well known national and international artists would also be invited to participate as special guests.

Current engagements include performances with one of Perth's leading opera singers and graduate from the West Australian Performing Arts Academy Jun Zhang, a gifted tenor who has also performed with the Chinese National Opera, the Australian Opera Studio and the West Australian Opera Company.

At their sell out shows and concerts the superb piano accompaniment provided by Sammy coupled with the sensual rich voice of Zhang never fail to wow and captivate audiences taking them to Italy with intense and touching renditions of such classics as Salvatore Cardillo's "Core N'Grato" to powerhouse performances of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma".  

Despite this commitment and being continuously in demand for important corporate events Sammy has also found time to collaborate on an ambitious recording project with long time colleague and companion pianist, accordionist and musical director Nunzio Mondia.

The resulting album, titled the World Accordion Project, consists of eleven original compositions by Sammy and Nunzio featuring music of different styles from around the globe with each song representing a country or area where that style is particularly popular.

GMP is delighted to have included one of these compositions, the beautiful slow rhumba Noche Serena representing Mexico, in it's latest Let's Dance series publication.

To say that exceptional musical talent runs through the Pizzata family is more than justified by the above mentioned brother Bruno who has himself carved a distinguished career in his own right and to this day is still a very much requested session drummer who has performed on a multitude of recordings by various artists.

But that's another story!

GMP acknowledges Sammy's significant contribution to the West Australian music scene and joins in praise of this musician whose artistic romanticism is not only inspired but often evoked, as he puts it, by the magical sound of the most romantic instrument on earth -  the accordion!

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