RollingStone.com named him an "Artist You Need to Know" while Newsweek hailed his songwriting as "smartly sweet." On April 20, internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and indie-folk musician Anthony D’Amato ’06 returned to his roots, performing with the Blair Academy Orchestra and Singers.
A Blairstown native, Mr. D’Amato grew up playing piano and soon picked up guitar, bass, banjo and harmonica while also honing his vocal skills. He released his first album, “The Shipwreck from the Shore” in 2014, shortly after he graduated from Princeton University. Reflecting the classic sounds of American folk rock made legendary by his idols, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, the album was inspired by Mr. D’Amato’s studies with Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon and garnered rave reviews on both sides of the pond. His 2016 release, “Cold Snap,” resulted in Mr. D’Amato’s first national TV appearance and recognition from Rolling Stone for his “folk music raised on New Jersey grit.” Billboard praised his latest release, “Five Songs from New Orleans,” as “stunning.”
Taking a break from preparations for his European concert tour, Mr. D’Amato returns to the hilltop this week for a two-day residency working with Blair’s musicians in the classroom and culminating in a performance with the Orchestra and Singers on Wednesday, April 20. It is not the first time Mr. D’Amato has come home to give the next generation of musicians a hand up. A guest speaker for the Society of Skeptics and J-term courses “The Power of the Artist” and “Artistry and Activism,” Mr. D’Amato has returned to Blair regularly to share his experience and talent with students.
Director of Instrumental Music Jennifer Pagotto, for one, is grateful for his mentorship. “Anytime our students get to work with a professional artist,” she notes, “they get a view into how they can grow. Because Mr. D’Amato is an alum, he really understands Blair and that deepens the connection for students—It allows our students to see themselves in him and see what is possible.”
At the workshops, Mr. D’Amato will be joined by Broadway musical director Lon Hoyt, who is known for his work on productions of Footloose, Hair and Hairspray, among others. The pair will prepare “Ludlow” with students, a ballad arranged by Mr. Hoyt, to be performed before the entire Blair community at the Wednesday concert.
Students, parents and friends of Blair are all warmly invited to join Mr. D’Amato and the Blair Academy Orchestra and Singers as they grace the stage on Wednesday, April 20, at 10:45 a.m. in the Armstrong Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre.
Learn more about Mr. D’Amato and his upcoming European concert tour here: http://www.anthonydamatomusic.com/.