Maestro Matteo Giammario
GPYO founder and conductor
Matteo Giammiario was born in Trenton, NJ to parents who immigrated from the Pugilia region of Italy (specific town?). As a child, he fell in love with Neapolitano music of his neighbors in Little Italy. While he originally wanted to play guitar in local music ensembles, his mother steered him to the violin which started his lifetime love for music education and performance in the classical tradition.
Matteo served in the Navy during World War II; first, he trained at Newport, RI and then he went into duty on the heavy cruiser Chester (CA 27) in the Pacific Theater. Matteo said during his time in the Navy, he began to learn as much as he could about the world around him. He also developed a devoted commitment to his fellow veterans, especially those who were injured or emotionally affected during wartime.
After leaving the service, Matteo used the benefits of the GI Bill to earn his undergraduate degree at NYU. He followed that with a Masters degree from Columbia University and his doctorate from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He also attended Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome as part of his formal training.
Matteo spent the majority of his teaching career in the Trenton school district first as a music educator, then as the director of music education. The American Federation of Musicians local 62 invited Matteo to become the conductor of the Mercer County Symphonic Orchestra which eventually became the GPYO. The MCSO was composed of local high school and college student-musicians along with professional musicians in the region. In time, Matteo led the Board to become the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra with a greater focus on the student musician experience.
Matteo retired several years ago, but he continues to compose and arrange music. His most recent arrangements include songs about; Italy, his veteran friends, and his Italian heritage.