Alum

Sissy Castrogiovanni

Position
Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail
Telephone
617-747-8508

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Italian singer Sissy Castrogiovanni is an award-winning songwriter, producer, and educator. With notable performances at world-renowned festivals such as the Panama Jazz Festival, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, and Jazz en Lima, she has toured Europe, the United States, and South America extensively since a very young age. She has excelled in numerous collaborations with distinguished musicians including Jack DeJohnette, Bobby McFerrin, Patrice Rushen, and Javier Limon, to name a few.

Musically rooted in her homeland of Sicily, Castrogiovanni’s arrangements and compositions are an attractive synthesis of musical cultures. Her music—an intricate mélange of Sicilian and Mediterranean influences, African rhythms, and avant-garde jazz harmonies—finds its niche in this vast sea of jazz and world music. Her warm voice, with its rare vocal extension, vocal control, expression, and versatility, has garnered praise from media outlets such as DownBeat Magazine, JAZZIZ Magazine, and WNPR.

Castrogiovanni is the recipient of the 2019 Live Arts Boston Award from the Boston Foundation, and was a 2014 jazz finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. In addition to her work as assistant professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music, she is an Estill Voice Training EFP-certified instructor.

Career Highlights
  • Leader, composer, arranger, and producer of her own musical project, the Sissy Castrogiovanni Group
  • Collaborations and performances include work with Clarice Assad, Jamey Haddad, Richie Barshay, Pepe De Lucia, and Keita Ogawa, among many others
  • Performances at major festivals such as the Panama Jazz Festival, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, Jazz en Lima, and Mitzpe Ramon Jazz Festival, among others
  • Member of the a cappella ensemble Sung Deep, lead singer of jazz quartet the New Messengers, and lead singer of the Jorge Perez-Albela Group
  • Recordings as solo artist include Intra lu munnu (2013) and Terra, scheduled to release in February 2020
  • Recordings as a member include the eponymous Sung Deep, 2014; Eastern Tapestries by Christiane Karam, 2012; Voices from the Village by Singing Tribe, 2011; Reconexion by Jorge Perez-Albela, to be released in 2020; soundtrack vocals on the book Soltar para volar, 2011; and the movie La Banda, 2019
  • TV show appearances on MTV and RAI International
  • Certified EFP Estill Voice Training instructor, vocal technique
  • Instruments include piano and percussion
Awards
  • Recipient of the Live Art Boston Award, 2019, from the Boston Foundation
  • Finalist in the 2014 International Songwriter Competition 
  • Recipient of a full scholarship from them Mediterranean Music Institute
Education
  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words

"Voice is like the paintbrush of a painter. It takes colors from a color palette, mixes them up in millions of different ways, and then spreads them out on a canvas, creating the most beautiful paintings as mirrors of our most intimate feelings. I believe a solid foundation of vocal technique is crucial to enable a singer to reach the widest choice of colors, being able to create a different shade for any emotion the singer wants to express."

"I teach my students to master their vocal instrument and then to forget about it while performing, letting their artistry and magic take over. I believe artists are channelers who use their talents to channel messages from a higher divine. All the skills we learn ultimately are just tools to put our full talent at the service of the music. When all of this is in sync, then we are finally able to accomplish our deepest mission as artists, which is reaching people’s hearts and hopefully passing on something positive and uplifting."

“During my lessons, I like to discuss real stories of real onstage and performance-related situations. I bring in my experience as a performer, bandleader, and producer to talk about things that you cannot learn in books, to talk about the actual odds of the performance, both on stage and in studio.”

“In today’s industry, there are unlimited choices and paths a young musician can take. It’s easy to get lost trying to figure out our own voice in this infinite matrix. In my journey as a musician, I travelled the world to learn jazz and other music styles to finally surrender to the powerful influences of my roots. It took a while to figure out how to blend everything together, and when that happened, things started to unfold naturally. Songwriting has been a key component of this process. As an educator, I love to listen to my students and help them navigate the same challenges.”