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FROM ROME: Keep in touch with the Italian opera and classical music scene by reading Giuseppe Pennisi's regular reports.
VIDEO PODCAST: John Dante Prevedini leads a discussion about Youth Involvement in Classical Music - this specially extended illustrated feature includes contributions from Christopher Morley, Gerald Fenech, Halida Dinova, Patricia Spencer and Roderic Dunnett.
American pianist, composer and conductor Joseph Alfidi was born in New York on 28 May 1949 to American-born parents of Italian descent. His trumpet player father ran a music school in Yonkers, and 'Joey' began playing various musical instruments at the age of three, and, as a four-year-old, was able to improvise compositions at the piano. At six he was given professional engagements to conduct the Miami Symphony Orchestra and members of the New York Philharmonic, at seven he appeared at Carnegie Hall, conducting the Symphony of the Air, and at eight he appeared on two different American TV shows, on one of which he played four different instruments. He continued to conduct in various US cities, and toured Europe, performing for the Pope at the Vatican.
In Belgium he was hailed as 'the greatest child prodigy since Mozart' after appearing with the Antwerp Philharmonic. He gave a command performance for the Dowager Queen Elisabeth and was placed third in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition. Later he settled in Belgium, and, when less of an attraction as an adult, taught piano at the Liège Royal Conservatory.
Joseph Alfidi died in Belgium on 2 February 2015, aged sixty-five.