John Pitts is a British composer who lives in Bristol, England, with his wife and four children. He composes mostly chamber music, especially for piano solo and duet, in styles perhaps best summarised as melodic, motoric, motif-driven, jazz-tinged, post-minimal impressionism. His pieces for two pianists have been performed at concerts and festivals in several European countries, Armenia, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and the USA, including in March 2015 a concert dedicated to his music in Perpignan's "Festival Prospective 22ème siècle" by French duo Émilie Carcy and Matthieu Millischer.
His 2009 album Intensely Pleasant Music: 7 Airs & Fantasias and other piano music by John Pitts, performed by 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."
John studied at Bristol and Manchester Universities, under composers Wyndham Thomas, Adrian Beaumont, Raymond Warren, Geoffrey Poole, John Casken, John Pickard and Robert Saxton, and briefly with Diana Burrell in a COMA Composer Mentor scheme. He won the 2003 Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund Composition Prize at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and 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 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. In 2006 Choir & Organ magazine commissioned "I will raise him up at the last day" for their new music series.
John was the secretary of the Severnside Composers Alliance (www.severnsidecomposersalliance.co.uk) from its inception in 2003 until 2015, with a special interest in music for piano triet by living composers. His own first triet "Are You Going?" ("a toccata boogie of unstoppable, unquenchable verve" Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International) was premiered at the 2010 Kiev Chamber Music Session Festival by the Kiev Piano Duo (with Antoniy Baryshevkiy), for whom he wrote “Gaelic Faram Jig” for 2 pianos and 2 percussionists for the 2012 festival. John has conducted four Bristol Savoy Operatic Society productions, arranging Pirates of Penzance, Gondoliers and Iolanthe for small band. In January 2010 he became the Associate Conductor of the Bristol Millennium Orchestra.
In 1994 he spent a gap year in Pakistan, which led to a number of chamber pieces heavily influenced by Indian classical music, including "Raag Gezellig", a piano duet composed as the compulsory work for the Valberg International Piano 4 Hands Competition 2011, subsequently recorded by French duo Bohêmes (Aurélie Samani and Gabriela Ungureanu) and released by 1EqualMusic/Hyperion. Hearing that virtuosic Indian piano duet performed by a number of superb duos led to the desire to make Indian raags accessible to many more pianists, and to the writing of the book "How to play Indian Sitar Raags on a Piano" - now available from http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-pitts/how-to-play-indian-sitar-raags-on-a-...