INTERPRETATIONS OF BRUCE LETO JR
Bruce Leto Jr.
As a pianist and lifelong music student, I believe that it’s important to derive meanings in the pieces that I undertake from various aspects of my life. Presently, I’m a Development Director for a nonprofit (Take A Breather Foundation); a baseball player; an MBA student; a surfer; a son; a brother; a nephew; a coach – and I love music! Specifically, evocative music that placates the soul, challenges the mind, and
reflects the natural progression and changes of mood. The visages of nature and the seasons accomplish just this; as mercurial as they are complex.
The purpose of this album is four-fold: to provide music that reflects a broad spectrum of moods and seasons (from August Rose - Summer, to Song of the Pilgrim – Fall, to Old Swedes – Winter, to Schubert
D. 664 – Spring); to promulgate the legacy and brilliance of Franz Schubert; to communicate the
influence of Italian culture, architecture/scenery, and spirituality in many of the works (via multimedia integrations); and to spread awareness about cystic fibrosis (CF) via Take A Breather Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the respiratory, digestive, and pancreatic systems of those afflicted, with an average life expectancy of just 38 years old!
Most notably, I am intrigued by the genius and legacy of Franz Schubert – a perennial composer whose life was tragically cut short (ironically enough) at the age of 31. “Warumgibt Gott uns Mitgëfuhl” inquired Schubert, rhetorically (“Why does God endow us with compassion?”) – which then came to be one of his most famous quotes. I truly believe that the answer lies in his music – to provide both strength and joy for those listening. Similarly, Take A Breather Foundation inspires hope and happiness for those living with cystic fibrosis (CF) via granting wishes and selfless charity work!
I AM COMMITTED TO DONATING 35% OF PROCEEDS FROM ALBUM SALES BACK TO THIS IMPACTFUL FOUNDATION, WHICH FULFILLS UNFORGETTABLE WISHES FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS BATTLING THE EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, AND FINANCIAL STRUGGLES THAT ACCOMPANY LIFE WITH CF!
Ricardo Tull (website); Dwayne Booth (album art); Adler Roberts (recording and video); Charles Cacioppo
(audio); John Mongiovi; Monseigneur Leighton; Mom and Dad; Linda de Pasquale; Curt Cacioppo; Take A
Breather Foundation Staff
Bruce Leto Jr.’s musical achievements to date:
- Dora Khyatt Competition Winner – 2007, 2009, 2010
- West Chest Piano Competition 3 rd Prize – 2010
- Orfeo International Music Festival Participant – 2011
- Bi-College Concerto Competition Winner – 2013
- Masterclasses with Veda Zuponcic, Steven Mayer, Riccardo Piacentini, and Leon Bates
- Departmental High Honors; Haverford College Music Program – 2014
- Reviews from Critically-acclaimed international pianists/composers; "Seasonal Sonorities" - 2019
- First Prize, Quebec Music Competition - 2020
- Gold Prize, International Music eContest (Cat H.) - 2020
- Encouragement Award/Honorable Mention, Finland WPTA - 2020
- Honorable Mention, VODIIN - 2020
- Silver Medal, Virtuoso Artists Seattle - 2020
Old Swedes - Curtis Cacioppo (Winter)
Performed by pianist Bruce Leto, Jr. - this piece blends rich contemporary sonorities with melodies derived from the traditional Neapolitan Christmas Song -"Santa Lucia." The Old Swedes masonic church resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Schubert Sonata in A Minor D. 784, Movement 1. Allegro Giusto (Winter)
This piece is a funeral dirge written by Franz Schubert, which serves as a tribute on this album to all of those who passed away from cystic fibrosis at too early of an age (similar to Franz Schubert, whose life was tragically cut short at 38!)
Sonata No. 13 in A Major, D. 664, Movement 1. Allegro Moderato (Spring)
One of Schubert's more delicate and serene sonatas, this piece was published posthumously in 1829 and it has been suggested that the mood reflects much the same of delight in the Styrian countryside. The first movement breathes the air of the country, its serenity only briefly broken in the central development.
Consolatio - Curtis Cacioppo (Summer)
Various shots of Sicily and Southern Italy; with religious, scenic, and architectural influences that reflect the rich antiquity (and spiritual significance) of Sicily.
Please pay close attention to the Sicilian ruins and religious/sacred artwork, which are supposed to "sync" to the abstract sonorities in this piece.
August Rose - Curtis Cacioppo (Summer)
The multimedia integration of "August Rose" features imagery of nature (roses), southern Italy (Ravello and Palermo), and religious sculptures. The visuals in this track reflect both the ancestry and influences of the composer
(and the performer).
Per the composer: "I'm glad you married the monster with the rose [in your integration]...there's always an Erlking lurking...!"
Song of the Pilgrim, Op. 67, No. 3 - Felix Mendelssohn (Autumn)
A selection from Felix Mendelssohn's "Songs Without Words," Op. 67, No. 3 illustrates a historic (and seasonal) sonority of an autumn harvest or crop gathering. The B Flat Major key signature supports a rich but peaceful"cantabile" melody, that recurs in different iterations throughout the piece.
Suite Bergamasque Mmt. 3 "Clair de Lune" - Claude Debussy (Winter)
A symbolic piece with snowy visuals to enhance a fine D Flat Major impressionistic work. Notice the 7th's, 9th's, and 11th stacked chord progressions which, to me, represent snowflakes and winter fare. "Clair de Lune" translates to "Light of the Moon."
Consolation #2 ("O Tannenbaum"/Spring is Near) - Franz Liszt (Winter/Spring)
Multimedia integration/interpretation of Franz Liszt's Consolation #2 in E Major, with images of Spring flowers and pictures from Northern Italy - where Liszt traveled around with his partner Marie d'Agoult between 1837-1839.
Additionally, religious buildings are represented in this montage to reflect the main theme, which is reminiscent of "O Tannenbaum."
The visual chronology in this video represents the struggle and transition from Winter into Spring.
January Thaw (2015 DEMO TRACK) - Curtis Cacioppo (Winter/Spring)
Bruce Leto Jr's interactive media integration - 2015 DEMO RELEASE of January Thaw, written by Curtis Cacioppo, performed by Bruce Leto, Jr.
The visuals in this piece represent an early thaw in winter (with religious artistic "contaminants," based on the composer's fascination with Dante's Inferno); as winter struggles in vain to transition into Spring.
Composed during January 2014; ironically enough - before a particularly harsh February and march.
"A wonderful assortment of music played with great care and sensitivity. Bruce Leto is an intelligent and highly skilled musician Connections abound between the well-crafted and eclectic works of Curt Cacioppo and the music of Schubert and Liszt. Great work with this project!"
-Charles Abramovic, Chair
Department of Keyboard Studies
Boyer College of Music and Dance - Temple University
"A pleasure hearing Bruce Leto’s album Seasonal Sonorities, a diverse collection of piano works from the 19th to 21st century. Bruce Leto’s playing possesses a seamless control and elegance essential for Schubert, bringing depth and understanding to these demanding works. There is intelligence and care reflected in Curt Cacioppo’s superb compositions and he brings out the charm and grace in Mendelsohn’s Song Without Words. The Debussy and Liszt shows Leto’s range of color, dynamics and rhythmic vitality. Should not be missed! "
Director, The Haverford Bryn Mawr College Orchestra
Associate Conductor, Chamber Orchestra First Editions
"In this album, Bruce Leto demonstrates an impressive ability to interpret music from different eras, from romantic, to impressionist, to 21st century: he brings out the delicate, song-like quality of Schubert's A major sonata; a silvery refinement is heard in Debussy's "Claire de Lune" ; and Cacciopo's "January Thaw" is given a casual, almost off-the-cuff rendering, complementing the piece's jazz-inflected harmonies. Leto also deftly brings out the different voices in the Liszt Consolation, bringing out expressive depths of a deceptively simple piece. A delight to listen to."
American Composer, Navona Records
Ph.D, Temple University
“ Bruce’s interpretation, deep understanding, and communication of Schubert is heard in his playing. His touch from pianissimo to fortissimo exemplify his style and temperament. His Debussy contained kaleidoscopic colors, nicely driven rhythm and landscape like communication. This album is one of the finest."
-Scott A. Cohen
Orfeo International Music Festival Faculty
"When a performer enthusiastically loves music that he chooses and performs, you can immediately recognize this. Bruce Leto loves what he plays, from Schubert to Mendelssohn to Liszt to Cacioppo. In this CD, I especially like the deep poetry that Bruce expresses with refined touch in all of these composers and (very important) always according to different styles. Bravo!!!"
Critically-acclaimed International Concert Pianist/Composer