Pietro Alessandro Yon (August 8, 1886 – November 22, 1943) was an Italian-born organist and composer who made his career in the United States. He was born in Settimo Vittone, (Piedmont, Italy), and studied at the conservatories of both Milan and Turin, also attending the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome; among his teachers in Milan was Polibio Fumagalli. He served for a time as an organist at the Vatican and at the Royal Church in Rome.
In the spring of 1907, Father John B. Young, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan, was in Rome on Vatican business and additionally to seek out a replacement for his organist Gaston Dethier, who was leaving to pursue a concert career. Upon hearing Yon play, Father Young was sufficiently impressed to offer him a three-year contract. Thus Yon at age 21 came to the United States, where from 1907 until 1926 he was the organist of St. Francis Xavier Church. He joined his brother S. Constantino Yon, who had preceded him and held a similar position at St. Vincent Ferrer Church.
Yon became an American citizen in 1921.
On January 1, 1922 Yon was appointed 'Titular Organist' of the Vatican, a singular and unprecedented honor. The appointment put pressure on New York church authorities to promote Yon to a more-prestigious position.
In 1926, he became the assistant organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, and on May 1, 1928, Yon was promoted to music director.
On April 9, 1943, Yon suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his entire right side and died in November.
He was a major figure in the American organ world, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church.
"Advent (First Religious Suite)" was published by McLaughlin & Reilly Co. in 1943. It is based largely on well-known Gregorian chant melodies, although some thematic material is freely composed. For timings and more info, see First Comment.
Score is attached below, as well as two photos of Pietro Yon.
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