JWQ Showcase 2017

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

USA/ITALY: Tribute to ETTORE STRATTA “Producer, Conductor, Pianist, Composer” 1933-2015 Rescheduled to March 30th 6pm “Heartfelt Remembrances, Musical Tributes” Refreshments

Tribute to    ETTORE STRATTA “Producer, Conductor, Pianist, Composer” 1933-2015          Rescheduled to March 30th 6pm “Heartfelt Remembrances, Musical Tributes” Refreshments @  UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY 160 Central Park West @ 76th Street, NYC

The Tribute to Ettore Stratta will also continue at Kitano Jazz , 66 Park Ave., 38th Street - Fri. April 1 and Sat. April 2 -with Pianist Roger Kellaway + Trio w. Jay Leonhart  &  Joe Cohn performing some special music Composed by Ettore Stratta.
(Res.  212 885 7119)  

The Life and Career of Maestro Stratta 
Maestro Ettore Stratta arrived in America from his small town in northern Italy, Cuneo  when he was in his 20’s, inspired by America’s movie musicals and Jazz.   He was a gifted musician from the age of 5, went on to have his own band in Italy, got a hold of smuggled American Jazz recordings during the war and set his sights on the US after seeing a Duke Ellington concert.   He  studied conducting at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome as well as piano and composition, and one day, packed up, and headed for New York , then married to Cecile Horner.

Stratta came by boat, landed in New York,  boarded at the YMCA,  and set forth  to land a job.  After knocking on Columbia’s personnel door for a while, he landed a position in the A&R Dept. in 1961 due to his musical talents, knowledge of ‘5’ languages, and an introduction by Nat Shapiro. He worked under legendary head , Goddard Lieberson, in the golden age of Columbia. Here he worked with and produced  hundreds of recordings including Barbra Streisand (3 Gold Records), Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Andy Williams Duke Ellington , Johnny Mathis,  Myles Davis, Steve and Eydie , Iinternational artists Nini Rosso, Franck Pourcel, Joe Dassin, Andre Gagnon, and many others.  He traveled the world producing recordings of “Fiddler on the Roof”, “The King and I”, “My Fair Lady” (in Hebrew)..and many more.  He became the Head of Columbia International  in 1964 , always the ultimate music man. Maestro Stratta had his own orchestra called “Fantasy Strings” with over 25 recordings of some of the American Songbook’s greatest compositions.

As “The Pioneer of Crossover”, he created “Switched on Bach” (for CBS) and then went out on his own and produced historic crossover recordings which he also conducted:  “Symphonic Tango”, “Symphonic Bossa Nova”,”Symphonic Boleros” (Teldec) with The Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, arrangements by Jorge Calandrelli,  Top artists such as Al Jarreau, Dori Caymmi, Hubert Laws, Paquito  D’Rivera, were included in these recordings , part of his signature of ‘crossover’.  He was a master when it came to repertoire for such recordings.  Maestro Stratta  conducted for the London Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, St Lukes Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Philharmonic, Sao Paulo Symphony, Atlanta and Quebec Symhony Orchestras,   and  L’ Orchestra de Lille in France for a George Duke  performance at Montreux and many more.

Other masterpieces were with Stars of the Met. Placido Domingo, Jose Cura (Bway with orchestra), Sumi Jo (Bway with orchestra) which sold over a million copies, Eddie Daniels’ “Breakthrough” (GRP), Emmanuel Ax  with Pablo Ziegler (Sony),    Yo-Yo Ma and Stephane Grappelli (Yo-Yo’s first recording venture outside Classical - Sony).  Other greats were Chanticleer with orchestra, Norwegian star Sissel with  symphony orchestra, Justino Diaz singing Mozart Arias with English Chamber Orchestra, The Four Seasons Vivaldi and so many more  For CBS, Masterworks, Mr. Stratta conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in the sensational Digital recording “Music From The Galaxies” featuring Themes form all the best Sci-Fi Modern Motion Pictures (Star Wars, Alien, StarTrek, etc.) .  He conducted Benjamin Britten’s ‘Scottish Ballad for Two Pianos and Orchestra” .  Stratta also fought for and succeeded in getting  the Classical Crossover category for the Grammy’s.  He was  a Trustee and Governor for many years.

Other recordings and conducting were with Tony Bennett “The Art of Excellence”, Lena Horn’s “The Men in My Life” (which included Sammy Davis Jr. and Joe Williams), Cleo Laine, Diahann Carroll, Maureen McGovern, Norwegian star Sissel, Dave Grusin, Julio Iglesias, Ray Charles, Linda Eder, Claus Ogerman  w. Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Hank Jones, Chaka Kahn, Dick Hyman, Nancy Wilson, Ramsey Lewis, Toots Thielemans, Dionne Warwick, Roland Hanna, Judy Garland, Dave Grusin, Regina Carter’s hit “Paganini CD and Concert”,  and so many more.  Maestro Stratta, the ultimate renaissance music man, conducted for Michel Legrand for 10 years and Stephane Grappelli for 25.

Ettore Stratta composed many pieces of music, one notable was “Forget The Woman” recorded by Tony Bennett  which has become part of the Great American Songbook and “Pages of Life’ for a film in which Stephane Grappelli performed it and many others recorded by top symphonies.

In 1986, Maestro Stratta was nominated for the Wavendon Allmusic Awards in London for ‘Conductor of the Year’ alongside Leonard Bernstein and  Andre Previn.  He won first prize at the Castlebar International Festival for the  Instrumental Composition Award for his work “Tempus Fugit” and has received 3 Grammy nominations.  He was Musical Director in England for major concerts in London at the Barclay Center with Gregory Hines, Nancy Wilson, Stephane Grappelli, Vic Damone, Michel Legrand, Rita Coolidge and others.

Ettore Stratta  partnered with Producer Pat Philips in 1988 forming Stratta Philips Productions.  While he was still producing recordings, they went on to present over 100 major musical concerts at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Rose Hall,  and other prestigious venues around the country, paying tribute ( at Carnegie Hall) to Stephane Grappelli upon his 80th birthday,  George Shearing’s 80th, Toots Thieleman's 80th, Paquito D’Rivera’s 50 years in the business, Oscar Peterson’s Tribute,, The Nicholas Brothers Tribute, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s last major concert , plus a series of Brazilian music projects called “All Jobim and More” one of which Bernard Holland of the NY Times wrote “the music of Jobim …gives hope that taste, simplicity, and lyrical invention may yet survive.  Roger Kellaway served as Musical Director as well as performer for many of these major concerts.
 Ettore Stratta married partner Pat Philips in 1998.

Due to Maestro’s classical background, they created Absolut Concerto  at Avery Fisher Hall, (with the support of  Michel Roux, then Head of Absolut Vodka), with major symphony orchestras such as The St. Lukes Symphony, The New Jersey Sympony and more. He  commissioned composers  on the rise such as John Adams, Christopher Rouse, and Alan Jay Kernis  who have gone on to prestigious careers as Composers, some receiving Pulitzer Prizes.  Ettore Stratta, along with his partner, had been producing the successful Django Reinhardt Festival and tours.

Maestro Stratta’s  musical knowledge brought together many well-known musicians from Jazz to Classical to Pop to create extraordinary music that was original and musically brilliant.  His music will live on forever.  He was a truly dedicated musician.

  Ettore Stratta was a class act all the way, a beloved  man by his peers for his integrity, charm, warm personality, humor, was talented  and humble.  In his loving family, he leaves behind his wife Pat Philips Stratta, his sons Paul and Luca, stepsons Brad and Evan, three daughter-in-laws,  Carla, Radia, Ashley, and 5 grandchildren, Manuka, Isabella, Sophie, Luke, Rianne, brother Adalberto, brother-in-law Jeff Coleman and wife Carole.

(Further info:  patmusic2@gmail.com)