The American tenor, Robert Petillo, studied music at Rutgers University and the University of Maryland, where he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts. in 1994. His voice teacher was tenor James McDonald, now at Indiana University.
Robert Petillo is the first tenor section leader for The United States Army Chorus, an element of The United States Army Band (Pershing's Own) stationed at Ft. Myer, Virginia. Since 1986, Sergeant Major Petillo has been privileged to sing frequently for our nation's leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, and large public audience across the country. Featured often as a soloist with the Chorus and the Concert Band, he especially enjoys entertaining for overseas guests in their own language, and has performed solos in more than 20 languages. Robert Petilloo sings in acappella ensembles within the Army Chorus that perform everything from Renaissance motets to the Beach Boys. He appears as a soloist on many recordings made by The Army Chorus and is featured singing The Last Full Measure of Devotion on the Army Band's recently-released compact disc titled "A Hero For Today," which is based on their October 2001 concert in Avery Fisher Hall honoring the citizens of New York City.
In his free time, Robert Petillo is very active as an tenor soloist on the east coast with groups such as the Raleigh Oratorio Society, the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, and early music groups in Charlottesville and Williamsburg. He has sung several times in Europe, appearing as Jupiter in a production of Semele for Germany's Halle Handel Festival, in two tours with the Washington Bach Consort, and twice as a soloist in Venice with the baroque orchestra Accademia di San Rocco performing Vespers of Monteverdi and Cavalli.
Robert Petillo's portrayals of the Evangelist in the J.S. Bach and C.P.E. Bach Passions have earned critical acclaim, along with his solo work with The Washington Kantorei in their American premieres of Telemann's Der Tod Jesu (The Death of Jesus) and C.P.E. Bach's Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu (The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus).
In the Washington, DC area Robert Petillo is heard often with the Washington Bach Consort and with many of the area's numerous choral groups, including The Washington Singers, Cantate Chamber Singers, The Washington Sängerbund, The Masterworks Chorus, The Fairfax Choral Society, Maryland Choral Society, and The Alexandria Choral Society, and The Cathedral Choral Society. Along with conductor and organist Dale Voelker, Robert Petillo co-founded The Washington Kantorei and serves as its executive director. The chamber chorus specializes in the performance of Baroque-era German works that they have edited from manuscript. Presenting classics such as motets of J.S. Bach, Heinrich Schütz, and Francis Poulenc alongside American and world premieres on a regular basis, they include in their repertory works by Johann Schelle and Georg Philipp Telemann, as well as lesser-known modern composers such as Rautavaara and Miskinis. The 24-voice ensemble is heard regularly at the German Embassy.
Robert Petillo also performs and records popular music of the "syncopated era" (1920's-1930's) with novelty pianist Alex Hassan. For the centennial year (2002) of English composer Billy Mayerl, the duo performed for the Billy Mayerl Society meeting at Shellwood Studios (Surrey, UK), where they produced a CD, "Honeymoon For Three". Selections from the CD were aired on the BBC's "Composer of the Week" show which featured Billy Mayerl in December 2002. They also appeared before a packed house in the 850-seat Snape Maltings concert hall, site of the Aldeburgh Fesival.