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A Global Journey

"I am stubbornly certain that life itself is God’s most breathtaking and bittersweet love song ever made.That’s how I wish my music to sound like" (Marco Pignataro)

Marco Pignataro is a multi-talented jazz saxophonist, composer and educator, originally from Italy. Together with Danilo Perez, Marco currently leads the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), the world premiere jazz center of musical creativity at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The BGJI is as a leading program of musical creativity that emphasizes personalized goal-setting and directed study, experiential and service learning with a special emphasis on nature and the environment, business acumen, and intensive access to world-class visiting artists.

Previously, Pignataro was the director and cofounder of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department and was the chair of the Jazz Saxophone Department at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico.

 As a renowned performer and composer, Marco maintains a very active international schedule of concerts, recordings and clinics and he has shared stages across the world with artists such as Eddie Gomez, Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Pérez, George Garzone, John Patitucci, Rufus Reid, Kenwood Dennard, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Street, Riccardo del Fra,  Alan Pasqua, Brian Lynch, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kenny Werner, Luciana Souza, Billy Drummond, Billy Hart, Tiger Okoshi, Victor Lewis, Clark Terry, Yoron Israel, Laszlo Gardony, Jon Faddis and Adam Cruz among others. 

Pignataro performs and tours internationally with several musical groups, including the Marco Pignataro Jazzet and the Eddie Gomez Quintet, which is featured in the widely acclaimed CD Per Sempre (BFM Records-2012). His 2011 release CD "Sofia's Heart” was highly praised by the press and was produced by jazz legend Eddie Gomez and recorded with a all star group including Gomez and Billy Drummond. 

Marco Pignataro “Almas Antiguas” (Zoho Records -2018) features a stellar band including Eddie Gomez on bass, Alan Pasqua on piano, Adam Cruz on drums, and George Garzone on tenor saxophone (on three tracks of the album). The music is evocative and powerful, blending modern jazz with shades of Mediterranean, folk & Latin influences and very lyrical melodies throughout the CD. The album “Almas Antiguas” featured in the Jazz at Lincoln Center website, CNN en Espanol and was selected amongst the Best Albums of 2019 by Downbeat Magazine, which awarded it  4 & 1/2stars in its raving review. “Almas Antiguas” composition "Letter to My Son" was finalist at the International Songwriting Competition"

Marco latest releases for Zoho Music include “Awakening” featuring Kenny Werner, Nadia Washington and Devon Gates (Zoho Music -April 2022) and “Chant for Our Planet” feat. Joe Lovano, Terry Lyne Carrington and John Patitucci, among others (Zoho Music - Oct 2022).

Soon available as an album, the Marco Pignataro Jazzet with Strings new recording “Passione - Canto Italiano” features Marco alongside John Patitucci on bass, Alan Pasqua on piano, Adam Cruz on drums plus a string quartet formed by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra + special guests.  The live concert was commissioned by the Consulate General of Italy in Boston and introduced inspiring new arrangements of celebrated Neapolitan classics, created exclusively for this evening’s performance by the legendary artist and bassist, John Patitucci and Marco. The video of the recording is presently available on Youtube

A native of Bologna, Italy, he studied classical music at the Bruno Maderna Conservatory of Music and jazz at the University of Miami and Florida International University, as well as with jazz artists and educators such as Steve Grossman, George Garzone, Eddie Gomez, Danilo Perez, Dave Liebman, Gary Campbell, Ed Calle, Gary Keller, Ron Miller, Vince Maggio, Mike Orta, Renato D'Aiello, and  Richard Dunscomb.

Before moving to Boston in 2009, Marco had been the director of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department and Jazz Saxophone Chair at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico for seven years. While at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico,  Marco developed the jazz saxophone curriculum, founded and directed the CMPR Jazz Faculty Ensemble, and co-founded the bachelor of music in jazz and Caribbean music studies. As a dedicated music educator, Marco also worked in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools across half a decade and participates as jazz faculty in the University of Veracruz International Summer Jazz Seminars.

Marco's column, Style & Influence, was regularly featured in the quarterly magazine Jazz Improv. As a reviewer and columnist, Marco has also conducted interviews with Branford Marsalis, Jerry Bergonzi, Danilo Perez, David Sánchez, and Miguel Zenón.

Marco Pignataro was elected as an IAJE Executive Board Member of the International Association of Jazz Educators where he served as the first  IAJE Latin America Representative and Founder and President of the IAJE Chapter of Puerto Rico.

Marco served as the Artistic Director for the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival and as the Educational Adviser for the humanitarian foundation Fedujazz  in DR, using music as a tool for social change. Marco recently joined as a member of the JazzBoston board of advisors.

Marco Pignataro is a D’Addario Woodwind Performing Artist, Endorser for Mauriat & Lupifaro saxophones , EGR ligatures and for the Applied Microphone Technology Wireless System.

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