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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 20, 2005

Rising Piano/Vocal Star Peter Cincotti Performs In Hancher Oct. 8

Rising-star singer/songwriter/pianist/actor/model Peter Cincotti, fresh from his performance at the all-star Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Concert in New York, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in Hancher auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The 21-year old Harry Connick Jr. protege, who the New York Times calls a "proud pop-jazz throwback," also has a featured role in the upcoming Kevin Spacey film "Beyond the Sea," playing Bobby Darin's best friend and arranger.

Cincotti has released two CDs -- most recently "On The Moon," which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Jazz Charts -- and his next recording is scheduled for release early next year. Critics across the country gave "On the Moon" rave reviews, and USA Today declared Cincotti "a prodigiously gifted pianist and an interpretive singer of considerable charm."

Cincotti (pronounced Sin-KOTTEE) started piano lessons as a pre-schooler. "My mother asked the teacher to let me play whatever I wanted," he recalls. "I was so young at the time that she didn't want me to get turned off. So I'd have a lesson and bring in what I liked -- everything from movie songs to 'The Phantom of the Opera' to the theme of 'Jeopardy.'"

Three years later Cincotti got his big break. Too sick to attend a Village Vanguard performance by his favorite singer/pianist, Harry Connick Jr., Cincotti remained at home with his father. As the story goes, Cincotti's sister visited Connick backstage, bringing him flowers and a recording of her brother. After listening to the tape, Connick invited the youngster to perform with him that same year. Since then, Cincotti has joined his mentor in concerts throughout the country.

He continued soaking up a wide range of musical influences. "The first music that really hit me was Jerry Lee Lewis," he says. "I loved boogie-woogie piano playing when I was about five years old. But I was always exposed to all kinds of music. Being born and raised in Manhattan, there was so much around. My sister and I were taken to hear everything from rock concerts at Madison Square Garden to jazz clubs to Broadway shows. I always went through different musical phases through the years and had many influences. I am still experiencing this development which I hope continues for the rest of my life."

One of his heroes is Ray Charles, for whom he opened at a Montreal concert in 2003. "He's somebody that has influenced me on many levels," Cincotti says. "He's one of my favorite musicians of all time, and truly a master at balancing the art of piano playing with the art of singing. It's a very different thing than doing either separately. His singing and piano playing are so unified and I love listening to him accompany himself. Listen to the lines he plays in between his vocals and the rhythms he plays underneath. Sometimes it sounds like two different people playing. It's not like sing, then play, then sing. There are all kinds of things that marry the two together. And that's the art of it."

In 1997, Cincotti visited New Orleans to study with Connick's former teacher, Ellis Marsalis, father of jazz stars Wynton and Branford. These New Orleans connections made him an obvious choice to join with Wynton Marsalis, Elvis Costello, Paquito D'Rivera, Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall Jon Hendricks and other stars at the recent hurricane benefit, organized by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Cincotti has made an impression not only on Hollywood but also on the fashion industry. His style caught the eye of Ermenegildo Zegna, which chose him to be the new face of its 2005/2006 Sartorial collection.

Despite such critical accolades and worldwide media exposure, Cincotti humbly sums up his dizzy rise: "I'm so grateful that I am able to play for people who want to listen. There is so much to learn, and there's so much I want to do, and I can only hope I have the opportunity to do it all."

Peter Cincotti's Hancher debut is supported by William and Karen Rubright, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $39/37/34; UI student $35.10/15; senior citizen $35.10/33.30/30.60; youth $27.30/25.90/23.80.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail:

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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