Curt Cacioppo’s compositions synthesize and reflect multiple dimensions of his musical and humanistic experience. Like his mentor Leon Kirchner, and other composer/performers such as Frederic Rzewski and George Walker, he is a formidable pianist, fully grounded in the traditional solo, ensemble, and concerto literature, and avidly involved with new repertoire. Well over a dozen composers have dedicated works to him. He collaborates internationally with writers such as Friedrich Thiel, Luigi Cerantola, Renzo Oliva, and Claudio Saltarelli, and with visual artists such as Ying Li, Lia Laterza, Renato D’Agostino, and Alessio Mancino. He finds inspiration not only in the Italian side of his personal ancestry, but in the ways, beliefs, and cultural expression of the Native American community. His work with Navajo elder and spiritual leader John Co’ií Cook to preserve the sacred Coyoteway Healing Ceremony was a major contribution.

In a December 1995 interview on Bayern Zwei Radio, Cacioppo said that early on, he was taught to feel that music should be for its own sake (“ars gratia artis”), but soon realized that “consciously, or involuntarily, my music has some kind of political motivation behind it.” This is most certainly the case in his cantata Wolf (on Navona release NV5889), based on a poem by Mohawk author Peter Blue Cloud, a scathing indictment of the genocide perpetrated on indigenous populations of the Americas. Equally so, this is the case in his Vision of the Crusades (Capstone CPS-8713), a resolute denouncement of what Sir Stephen Runciman concluded was “a barbarian invasion of a superior civilization in the name of God,” founded (according to Edward Gibbon) on “savagery, intolerance, and fanaticism.”

Cacioppo has written for the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphonies, the Emerson String Quartet, and many other esteemed ensembles and soloists worldwide.  His work is represented on 18 discs, including the album RITORNELLO (Navona NV5956), which features the Quartetto di Venezia, with whom he has enjoyed a working relationship for 20 years. Cacioppo’s further mentors included composer George Rochberg, pianist Ruth Laredo, and ethnomusicologist David McAllester; he was significantly influenced by jazz artists Pat Pace, Bill Dobbins and Chuck Israels. He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Howard Foundation, among others, and served in the professoriate for over 40 years. He retains the title Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music Emeritus from Haverford College.

Albums

Gomitolo!

Release Date: August 14, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6308
20th Century
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano
Navona Records artist Bruce Leto’s newest album of solo piano works synthesizes the tribulations and perseverance of the human spirit in the age of COVID-19, while also taking a look at some of the more bewildering aspects of the global response. GOMITOLO!— named after the Italian expression that loosely translates to “the incomprehensibility of human life"—is a fitting tribute to the European countries heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, featuring solo piano performances of works by Poulenc, Ravel, and fellow PARMA artist Curt Cacioppo.
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Through Glass

Release Date: June 12, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6289
21st Century
Chamber
Solo Instrumental
Piano
Piano Trio
Navona Records presents some of the finest American voices of modern serious music on THROUGH GLASS, a brand-new compilation of recently-created works for piano – both solo and in chamber setups.
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Ritornello

Release Date: August 1, 2014
Catalog Number: NV5956
21st Century
Chamber
Solo Instrumental
Piano
String Quartet
 On RITORNELLO composer and pianist Curt Cacioppo revisits the beloved country of Italy, recalling places, friends, Italian tales, Don Giovanni, and more to create a detailed sonic story about his experiences and Italian heritage. 
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Fine Music, Vol. 4

Release Date: May 1, 2013
Catalog Number: NV5916
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestral
Oboe
Orchestra
Saxophone
FINE MUSIC, VOL. 4 is the fourth compilation of the Navona Records Fine Music digital series. This installment features the works of David Nisbet Stewart, Brian Noyes, Jonathan Little, Daniel Perttu, Curt Cacioppo, Santiago Billoni, Alejejandro Rutty, Joanne Carey, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Summer, Roger Bourland, Kjell Magne Andersen, and Jan Van der Roost.
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Laws of the Pipe

Release Date: October 1, 2012
Catalog Number: NV5889
21st Century
Chamber
Piano
String Quartet
Voice
A collection of works by Curt Cacioppo celebrating and lamenting the history of the Native American peoples. Composed and performed with impeccable attention to detail and historical accuracy, these vibrant and emotional tone poems urge the listener to consider the vibrancy and plight of Native American culture as they guide us through musical narratives of the past.
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Heavy Pedal

Release Date: July 1, 2011
Catalog Number: NV5853
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Organ
Piano
HEAVY PEDAL is an all-organ disc featuring the compositions of Tadd Russo, Curt Cacioppo, Ron Nagorcka, Wilhelm Middleschulte, and Michael Summers performed by organists Michael Kraft, Robert Gallagher, David Scott Hamnes, Brink Bush, and Karel Martinek. As the title implies, the pieces on this disc are on the heavier side of classical music, reaching climaxes with real stopping power.
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Italia

Release Date: April 1, 2010
Catalog Number: NV5826
21st Century
Chamber
Solo Instrumental
Flute
Piano
String Quartet
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