Bruce Leto Jr. Gomitolo!
About Bruce: As a prize-winner in scholastic (Dora Khyatt); Collegiate (Bi-Co Concerto Competition); and national (West Chester National Piano Competition) piano adjudications - Bruce's music tenure has enabled him to perform in PA, NJ, FL, NY, and Italy. During his collegiate years, Bruce's piano study under Linda de Pasquale and Curtis Cacioppo led to acceptance at the Chautauqua Music Festival and the Orfeo International Music Festival - where he studied in 2011.
Bruce's playing has been described as "kaleidoscopic," "refined," "intelligent," and "highly skilled" by piano department chairs of music schools, critically-acclaimed international pianists, and Navona-affiliated composers. He has been featured in masterclasses with concert artists such as: Steven Mayer, Riccardo Piacentini, Veda Zuponcic, and Leon Bates!
"[In Seasonal Sonorities] Bruce demonstrates an impressive ability to interpret music from different eras, from romantic to impressionist, to 21st century." - David Carpenter, Composer (Navona Records)
"Played with great care and sensitivity...Bruce Leto is an intelligent and highly-skilled musician." - Charles Abramovic, Department Chair Piano Studies (Temple University)
"Gomitolo" - an Italian expression that loosely translates into the "incomprehensibility of human life." As a pianist and lifelong music student, I wholeheartedly believe that it’s important to derive meanings in the pieces that we undertake from various aspects of life (both internally and externally). Life lessons, emotions, social circumstances, and current events ALL SHAPE WHO WE ARE AS PEOPLE - AND AS ARTISTS!
In the context of COVID-19 (and specifically considering its deleterious impact on Europe), one particular composer comes to mind: Francis Poulenc - a dedicated scholar, musician, and enthusiast of all things European. Poulenc spent much of his adult life sojourning Europe and touring with Soprano Denise Duval and baritone Pierre Bernac. Combining his mentor-ship from Erik Satie, sensibilities of Mozart and Stravinsky (per Sante Fe Chamber), and the geographical influences of Southern Italy (Naples and Sicily) - it's no wonder that Poulenc's indelible European influences are widely recognized among musicologists and stylistic interpreters. Indirectly, Poulenc's music speaks to the COVID-19 pandemic via themes (melancholie), titles ("Sicilienne"), and introspect ("Novelette"). From Schubertian-inspired Waltzes to Parisian, whimsical impromptus; Poulenc's music is as serious, capricious, and bewildering as the global response to COVID-19.
Message from the Artist:
I specifically want to say thank you to all of the Settlement Music School patrons who generously donated to the "Bruce Sr. Emergency Relief Fund" via the virtual Music Can Overcome Gala. In light of recent struggles, the magnanimity of a handful of individuals is enabling Settlement to retain its talented music faculty (even after COVID-19)! Out of appreciation for the influence Settlement had on my life - musically, academically, and professionally - those select donors will receive downloadable versions of the pre-released tracks.
Ricardo Tull (website); Dwayne Booth (album art); Erik Scattareggia (recording); Lauren Angelini (Multimedia Artwork Video Integrations); Charles Cacioppo (additional audio); Settlement Music School
Bruce Leto Jr.’s musical achievements to date:
- Dora Khyatt Competition Winner – 2007, 2009, 2010
- Oberlin Conservatory Acceptance - 2010
- West Chester Piano Competition 3rd Prize – 2010
- Orfeo International Music Festival Participant – 2011; Chatauqua Music Festival Acceptance
- Bi-College Concerto Competition Winner – 2013
- Masterclasses with Veda Zuponcic, Steven Mayer, Riccardo Piacentini, and Leon Bates - 2010-2013
- Departmental High Honors; Haverford College Music Program – 2014
- Reviews from Critically-acclaimed international pianists/composers; "Seasonal Sonorities" - 2019
- Featured performance in Settlement Music School's "Music Can Overcome" virtual Gala - 2020
-"Gomitolo!" featured via email distribution for Settlement donors, as gala stewardship - 2020
- Sole recipient of the Performance Scholarship to the Cohen School of Music, based on range of ability, technique, knowledge, and experience - 2020
- "Gomitolo!" accepted for release by Navona (Parma) Records, to be distributed digitally via Naxos (TBD) - 2020
- First Prize, Quebec International Music Competition (Piano) - 2020
Gomitolo! (Pre-Released Tracks Below)
Donations can be made to the link below -
PLEASE SUPPORT BRUCE LETO, JR; PIANIST
A Pied - Poulenc
One of Poulenc's Promenades - "A Pied" translates into "A Walk." To me, this track represents confusion during the incipient stages of the COVID-19 pandemic/lock-down. A piece that straddles dissonance and consonance, "A Pied" introduces the first of five ("5") waltz idioms, among other various iterations throughout the album (contemporary, impressionistic, and romantic) - ending with a "jazz-like" resolution.
Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn - Ravel
Ravel and Poulenc were both influenced by the sensibilities and rhythmic styles of classical composers (such as Mozart and Haydn) in their writings. Specifically, this piece was written in 1909 to mark the centenary of Joseph Haydn's death - consistent with the tributary theme of Gomitolo! ("Sicilienne," "Francais," etc). The waltz time signature (3/4) recurs; levity amidst seriousness
Valse "A la Maniere de Borodine" - Ravel
A brilliant waltz written in the "Borodin" style, which makes characteristic use of chromatic harmonies over ostinato pedals, echoing the "Serenade" from Borodin's Petite Suite and the scherzo of his Second String Quartet (Hyperion). Valse is a piece as melodic as it is chromatic; transcending styles and sensibilities. Pay close attention to the foreboding nature of the artwork at the end of the piece (following a descending chromatic scale).
Novelette in E Minor - Poulenc
One of Poulenc's Trois Novelettes, the E minor (1959) is based on Manuel de Falla's 7/8 theme from El Amor Brujo, simplified by Poulenc into 3/8 time. The sensibilities of this piece speak to the sorrow of Europe (especially northern Italy/France, which Poulenc was influenced by) during COVID-19. *Did Poulenc write prophetically?* Poulenc dedicated this piece to a close friend R. Douglas Gibson.
Improvisation #12 (Homage to Schubert) - Poulenc
A standard, elegant Austrian waltz written in the style of another European composer - Franz Schubert. The chromatic middle section, and brass-like fortissimo sections are intended to be orchestrated in the style of Ravel (see: Poem Choreographique). Order, to fragmentation, back to consonance and resolution; the natural state of life (Gomitolo!)