Ask any vocal artist you happen to see, and they will tell you it takes a certain kind of guts and gumption to step out in front of the freight train that is a symphony orchestra or sizable jazz organization -- to take the helm of a precision music machine whose hundreds of man hours of rehearsal and preparation now hinge upon that solitary figure at center stage. Sounds pretty scary -- but for Chris Pinnella it's the stuff of natural habitat; an environment that the versatile vocalist has thrived in, whether performing with symphony orchestras around the country, leading his own combos of anywhere from 8 to 15 players, or (for several tours of North America and Europe) lending his finely honed skills to the prog-rock / crossover locomotive known as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. That association with the late Paul O'Neil's spectacularly scaled project netted the New Jersey native a platinum record for his contributions to 'The Lost Christmas Eve' tour, and a chance to perform for an audience of over 1 million people, during a particularly raucous New Year's Eve in Berlin.
Photo: Ian Culley @ThePaintFarm
In the process the seasoned young performer - a singer whose influences run from the epic arias of Pavarotti, to the elegant jazz phrasings of Tony Bennett and the next generation concert hall mastery of Bocelli and Groban - built his brand as a bandleader through gigs at venues that range from big city nightspots to theatres across the United States such as The Algonquin Arts Theatre in New Jersey as well as Axelrod PAC, The Great Auditorium, The Pollack Theatre, Rahway PAC, The Newton Theatre, House of Independents, The Grunin Center for the Arts, McLoone's Supper Club and numerous Luxury Private, Charity, Fundraising Galas and Events throughout the country. He has also played such prestigious NYC venues as Birdland, The Rainbow Room, The Explorers Club, The Rose Theatre at Jazz! At Lincoln Center, The Cutting Room, and Feinstein's / 54 Below. Recently, Pinnella was tapped by American Young Voices, singing with the group as one of their guests vocalists alongside massive student choirs ranging from 3000-8000 young singers touring major arenas, including a sold out evening at The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Photo: ian culley @thepaintfarm
Photo: Jeff Auger @jeffaugerphoto
Photo: Jeff Auger @jeffaugerphoto
Pinnella began his career professionally at the age of 16 after an audition for Maestro Fr. Alphonse Stephenson & the Orchestra of St. Peter performing with the orchestra on and off throughout his career. Chris went on to pursue music and received his degree from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. Post college he worked off-Broadway and regional theatre and had the opportunity to portray the title role of Simeon in the New Musical 'Simeon's Gift' which was co-written by icon Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton-Hamilton. Pinnella spent a month with Ms. Andrews and the 6-person cast at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY working side by side until the shows premiere. Pinnella also worked alongside Emmy, Oscar winning arranger Ian Fraser and the Tony nominated John Bucchino and Tony nominated director Marcia Milgrom Dodge (B'Way's Ragtime) on the project.
Currently Chris is working on writing and arranging his debut EP which is set to drop in 2020. The 11-track debut will feature mostly original material as well as a re-worked covers, namely Pinnella's always requested version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' will be given an overhaul complete with gospel choir and full orchestra.