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Joe Chindamo

Pianist and Composer, Joe Chindamo was born in Melbourne in 1961, the eldest son of Italian immigrants, who came to Australia in search of a better life. At the age of 6, he was 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, Joe 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, Joe 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 70'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, Joe 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.

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