Pitt Saxophonist Recipient of 2013 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship

Issue Date: 
September 30, 2013

University of Pittsburgh senior Nicholas Amoscato, a tenor saxophonist, is the recipient of the 2013 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship. The $5,000 tuition prize is awarded annually to a Pitt music student and is based on submitted tapes of jazz standards that are judged by a panel of nationally recognized jazz musicians.

Amoscato, 21, carries a double major in music and computer science, both within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. He is in his third year as a member of the Pitt Jazz Ensemble and also performs in the University of Pittsburgh Symphonic Band and Varsity Marching Band.

“Pitt excels at my two passions in life—music and computer science,” said Amoscato, a native of Wexford, Pa., and a 2010 graduate of North Allegheny High School.

Amoscato began studying piano in first grade and picked up his first saxophone three years later. The formal piano lessons continued until he was in his teens, but he eventually dropped them to focus on his academics and the sax. He immersed himself in music at North Allegheny as a member of the jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, marching band, and pit orchestra, all while studying privately under saxophonist Chris Hemingway. Amoscato was selected to perform in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Ensemble for three years and played lead tenor sax his junior year.

An active freelance web designer, Amoscato is a front-end developer with an interest in entrepreneurship. “I am fascinated by the parallels between computer science and art, and I hope one day to work at the intersection of music and technology, perhaps developing some type of music software,” he said. Amoscato also writes original electronic music in his spare time.

His passion for music education also is strong. Less than a year after he graduated, the North Allegheny School District considered dropping its elementary school music programs due to budget cuts. Amoscato spearheaded an online petition drive that garnered more than 1,500 signatures and prevented any modifications to the music program.

“It is very humbling to be recognized,” he said. “I hope that Pitt and BNY Mellon will continue to value the importance of jazz education for years to come.”

This is the 27th year Pitt and BNY Mellon have funded the scholarship. BNY Mellon Jazz supports nonprofit organizations engaged in live performances and jazz education.