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Release Date: August 14, 2020
Catalog #: NV6308
Format: Digital


An Interpreter's Tribute To A COVID-Stricken Europe

Francis Poulenc composer
Curt Cacioppo composer
Maurice Ravel composer

Bruce Leto, Jr. 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.

Despite the current status of the music industry in the year of COVID-19, Leto has stayed exceptionally busy and has achieved recognition worldwide. He was the sole recipient of the Performance Scholarship to the Cohen School of Music based on range of ability, technique, knowledge, and experience, and won the Bronze Prize (soloist); Silver Prize (ensemble) for the Progressive Musicians International Competition (Amateur Division, Piano). In addition, Leto won First Prize in the Quebec International Music Competition (Piano) and the Silver Prize for Virtuoso Artists '20 in the Seattle International Piano Competition. Additionally, Bruce was awarded Honorable Mention at the V ODIN International Competition (EAAA Affiliated) for aspiring professional musicians. He is also the recipient of recognition via "Encouragement Award"/Honorable Mention in the Artistic Division of the WPTA Finland International Piano Competition 2020.

A highly-lauded pianist since childhood, Leto’s sensitive and refined style gives new life to classical and impressionistic works alike. His works are all deeply embedded with philanthropic elements, and this new album was born out of a pressing need in Leto’s music community. Faced with possible faculty layoffs at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia in April 2020, Leto participated in a virtual gala to benefit the school. The inspiration for GOMITOLO! arose from this experience. Here, he interprets the works of European and American masters—with each work speaking in some way to the crisis and the resulting global response.

Leto describes composer Francis Poulenc’s music, for example, as “as serious, capricious, and bewildering as the global response to COVID-19.” Likewise, Leto finds meaning in the more whimsical pieces by Ravel and Cacioppo, a badly-needed dose of levity during unprecedented times. Adding to the musical experience, Leto has also collaborated with integrative interpreter Lauren Angelini to create thought-provoking multimedia integrations for the audio works on the album.

As is often the case in times of profound crisis, artists have begun responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social isolation with powerful resilience. Leto’s GOMITOLO! comes at the forefront of what is certain to be an artistic movement in its own right. Surely, even after life on planet Earth has begun to resume a sense of normalcy, this album will continue to be treasured not only for its historical significance but for its immersive beauty.

Bruce, who is now working as the Director of Project Management at Design With Artisan, a web design startup he co-founded in 2018 was particularly inspired by one of his clients - Carlos Colon, who indirectly helped make this album release happen. Carlos is the founder of ThankX - a Peer to Peer delivery courier service (assisted by Bruce's help) in March 2020, called "ThankX"! This express delivery method is a way for Philadelphia residents to send goods/parcels to each other in a safe, customized, and efficient manner. ThankX delivers comply with COVID-19 safety regulations AND foster a sense of community (via charitable, personalized drivers and grateful recipients). As Carlos puts it: "each delivery has a story - from sender to recipient!" Visit for more details.

Lastly, Bruce's diverse taste in music led him to partner with Adrian Howard of Astronaut Boyz Inc (ABI), another Design With Artisan client. Founded by Adrian Howard back in 2015, ABI records and features hip-hop, R&B, and pop artists out of Aurora, CO. Partnering with BWillz - one of Denver's local, most accredited artists (which can be streamed on every music platform) ABI has three salient, impactful messages: partnering with local artists, messaging that authentic Hip-Hop is still very much alive, and promoting the signing of disadvantaged artists in underserved communities. Oftentimes, ABI donates the proceeds of record and merchandise sales back to local charities. In the efforts of assisting local communities, ABI also organizes school supply drives, kickball games via Kicks for Kids in Colorado, and facilitates food drives around the time of the holidays. In summary, ABI develops raw, talented artists and helps foster personal and spiritual growth in every way possible for these musicians (as well as giving back to the Colorado community). Follow Astronaut Boyz at: - another community-based, mission-related affiliate of Bruce Leto, Jr!"


Hear the full album on YouTube

"There's a nice balance and harmony of styles here that make it an interesting collection for lovers of classical piano recordings"

Darren Rea

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Française d'après Claude Gervaise, FP 103 Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 1:46
02 2 Novellettes, FP 47: No. 1 in C Major Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 3:19
03 Promenades, FP 24: No. 1, A pied Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 1:20
04 Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn, M. 58 Maurice Ravel Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 2:08
05 5 Impromptus, FP 21: No. 3, Très modéré Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 1:38
06 15 Improvisations: No. 12 in E-Flat Major, FP 113 No. 2 "Hommage à Schubert" Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 2:19
07 Novellette in E Minor, FP 173 (After de Falla) Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 2:40
08 À la manière de Borodine, M. 63 No. 1 Maurice Ravel Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 1:44
09 Ecco Venere (Live) Curt Cacioppo Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 5:14
10 Suite française d’après Claude Gervaise, FP 80: VI. Sicilienne (Version for Piano) Francis Poulenc Bruce Leto, Jr., piano 1:40

Tracks 1 - 4 Recorded May 2020 at Range Studios in Ardmore PA
Producer / Engineer Erik Scattareggia

Track 5 Recorded April 2016 at Haverford College in Haverford PA
Producer / Engineer Charles Cacioppo

Track 6 - 10 Recorded May 2020 at Range Studios in Ardmore PA
Producer / Engineer Erik Scattareggia

Director of Multimedia Integrative Assembly Lauren Angelini

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jacob Smith

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Curt Cacioppo


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.

Bruce Leto, Jr.


As a prize-winner in scholastic (Dora Khyatt); collegiate (Bi-Co Concerto Competition); national (Seattle International Virtuoso Artists Festival); and international (Quebec Music Competition; Canadian International; VI Odin) piano adjudications, Bruce Leto’s music tenure has enabled him to perform in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, New York, and Italy. During his collegiate years, Leto received first prize in the Bi-College Student Concerto Competition, and performed the 3rd Movement of Gershwin's Concerto in F with the Haverford/Bryn Mawr Orchestra.


“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 is 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. GOMITOLO! was taken on as a project following a virtual gala benefiting Settlement Music School in Philadelphia during April 2020, surrounding which Bruce Leto, Sr. set up an “Emergency Relief” fund for Settlement Music School to retain its talented faculty members after the ensuing financial crisis.

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 mentorship from Erik Satie, sensibilities of Mozart and Stravinsky (per Sante Fe Chamber), and the geographical influences of Southern Italy (Naples and Sicily), it is no wonder that Poulenc’s indelible European influences are widely recognized amongst musicologists and stylistic interpreters. Indirectly, Poulenc’s music speaks to the COVID-19 pandemic via themes ("melancholie"), titles (“Sicilienne”), and introspect (“Novelette”). From Schubert-inspired waltzes to Parisian, whimsical impromptus, Poulenc’s music is as serious, capricious, and bewildering as the global response to COVID-19.

Additionally, music by Maurice Ravel and Curtis Cacioppo was included in this album to demonstrate the contrasting interpretations/compositional variations of the “waltz”—a gesture that provides levity during tumultuous times. The waltz idiom appears in the middle section of Ecco Venere; an impactful work composed with doves (symbolic), Venus, and Sicily in mind.

Impressionistic artwork (from Gauguin to Monet) can be viewed in engaging and thought-provoking multimedia integrations of the audio works on this album (courtesy of Lauren Angelini) at The video integrations are meant to provide viewers with a glimpse into the uncertainty, destruction, and glimmers of hope that impressionistic/contemporary music can provide—an all-encompassing visual and auditory tribute to Europe during COVID-19.