The Australian pianist and composer, Joe Chindamo, was born in Melbourne, the eldest son of Italian immigrants, who came to Australia in search of a better life. At the age of 6, he as encouraged by his parents to take up a musical instrument: the accordion. He immediately fell in love with music and the idea of creating it. At the tender age of 13 he won the televised talent quest Kevin Dennis’ New Faces and, a year later, Bernard King’s Pot ‘O’ Gold (also a nationally televised talent quest). Along with his brother, Domenic, on drums, he spent most Saturday nights playing accordion at local Italian functions. On the day of his 14th birthday, he made his first record. The record company closed its doors only months before it was due to be released, so it never became available to the public. Tiring of the histrionics that went with performing on the accordion (“all that smiling made me nauseous”) and inspired by the great pianist Oscar Peterson, he switched, at the age of 15, to the piano. Soon he was working with the well-known band leader Denis Farrington and other musicians twice his age during the 1970's. Meanwhile, at home he taught himself jazz piano. He studied the recordings of the great jazz pianists, wrote out their solos, then duplicated them on his piano. At 18, he attended Melbourne State College, where he received his first formal piano lesson and studied classical music for the first time. He soon became the preferred pianist of just about every film composer in town, including Bruce Smeaton, Brian May, Bruce Rowlands, Nigel Westlake and Paul Grabowsky, and later, of visiting international composers, Jerry Goldsmith and Angelo Badalamenti.
Joe Chindamo is musical polyglot in the tradition of Leonard Bernstein and Previn. He is routinely described as one of the best jazz pianists in the world, though his art transcends jazz, having composed concertos, chamber music and film music. He possesses an uncanny ability to personalise anything which enters his orbit, as is evident in his work with violinist and duo partner Zoe Black. With twenty three CD's in his wake, many of them topping charts in Japan, countless world tours and a plethora of awards, he can comfortably take his place amongst the best jazz pianists in the world. Joe's abilities and musical activities transcend jazz, as is demonstrated by his work with violin virtuoso Zoë Black, with whom he has formed a innovative duo and recorded two CDs entitled "Reimaginings" and "Dido's Lament".
A man with an international reputation, Joe Chindamo has performed concerts all over the world. Of particular note, the Umbria Jazz Festival, The Tokyo Dome and The Lincoln Centre in New York. He also toured with famed USA drummer Billy Cobham for over years. His formidable pianism has earned him admiration from amongst the classical elite. In 2008 Joe was invited to perform three concerts in italy by the celebrated classical pianist Michele Campanella. (Joe was invited back to perform in Naples by Campanella in 2011). The celebrated piano maker Paolo Fazioli heard Joe at the Umbria Jazz Festival and invited him to play at his auditorium in Venice as a result of an enthusiastic recommendation by the formidable Nikolai Demidenko. In Australia, He is routinely invited to perform at all the principal festivals and a host of other venues ranging from house concerts to jazz clubs to the Sydney Opera House (where, along with James Morrison, was a featured soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra).
Amongst a plethora of awards, Joe Chindamo has twice won the MO award for Jazz Instrumental performer of the year, two Bell Awards for best album and the APRA award for best jazz composition of the year in 2009 for 'Something Will Come to Light."
More recently, Joe Chindamo's unique gifts as a composer of chamber music have come to the fore. Joe has been commissioned to compose and arrange for chamber ensembles such as ACACIA Quartet, the Freshwater and Seraphim Trios, Sarah Curro, the Flinders Quartet, David Berlin and Wilma Smith. Two of his works for string orchestra were recently performed by Australian Chamber Orchestra. His Toccata for violin was chosen as the requisite Australian work by Anne Marie Johnston, who performed it at the ABC Young performers' awards in 2013. An Australia Council Fellowship in 2003 facilitated his composing of a concerto for Accordion and Orchestra. His String quartet number 1 was premiered in June 2014. This was also funded by the Australia Council by way of a commission by Acacia quartet.
Joe Chindamo has recorded 23 CD's under his own name and collaborated on other recordings with distinguished artists such as James Morrison, Ray Brown (of Oscar Peterson fame) and the Brecker Brothers. Numerous of his recordings reached Number 1 on the Modern Jazz Charts in Japan. He has worked with artists such diverse artists as Olivia Newton John (on her album "Warm and Tender") and Anne Sofie von Otter in a special performance at the Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2011. In 2006, recorded a live solo DVD in Tokyo entitled "Joe Chindamo in Japan". This was released in early 2007. In 2007, he was personally invited by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to perform at the Lodge for in Canberra for the signing in of his ministers. Later that evening Joe was invited to join the immediate family for their first dinner at their new abode.
Joe Chindamo has worked on more than 60 film soundtracks and his piano playing is featured on such iconic Australian films as Pharlap, Man From Snowy River II and The Sound Of One Hand Clapping.
Awards & Acknowledgements: Won the 2002 MO award for Australian Jazz Instrumental Performer of the Year and nominated for the same award in 2003; Won the 2004 MO award for Australian Jazz Instrumental Performer of the Year; Awarded chairman’s Bell award for outstanding achievement for 2004; Won the Bell award for best classic jazz album of 2006. “Live at Umbria Jazz 05”; ABC television documentary made about his life and career, Joe Chindamo - Profile of a Jazz Pianist in 2000; In 2003 awarded 2 year Fellowship by Australia Council to compose, perform and study; Won the ABC people’s choice award for best jazz album of 1997, Anyone who had a heart (Burt Bacharach song book) and nominated for an ARIA award; In 2009 Joe’s tune Something Will Come To Light from his recording “The Romantic Project” won the APRA award for jazz composition of the year.