“My favorite composer for sure is Schumann,” says Luca Buratto, 20. “I never get bored listening to him or playing his music; it is so empathic, full of different moods. Also, he is absolutely a sort of meteor in piano music history. All his literary connections, and his personal life, also make me interested in his ‘world.’ It’s strange that I love piano music written not by a real pianist!”
What’s more, Buratto admits he isn’t a big fan of Chopin, who is “maybe the first composer that comes in mind when we think of piano music.” He does love Bach and Mozart, though; theirs, he says, is “simply the music from heaven brought on earth for us.”
Buratto’s musical education was informed by family history. Brought up in Milan, he made his debut in 2003 at the age of 10, performing music composed by his great-grandfather Renzo Massarani on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“My great-grandfather had to stop writing music because he was Jewish,” says Buratto. “And in Italy before World War II, his music was banned. And though he survived the war and the persecution, he decided to stop writing music, because he was so disgusted with mankind.” Massarani became a music reviewer in Rio de Janeiro.
“This always was a big influence on me,” says Buratto. “I don’t feel a sense of responsibility, but I understand that music can be very powerful.”
Currently living in Milan, Buratto studies both at Bolzano’s Conservatory “Claudio Monteverdi” and at the Conservatory of Lugano as a Theo Lieven Scholar. He’s taken top prizes in a number of competitions, including a third prize at the 2012 International Robert Schumann Competition, and the Special Prize “Acerbi” at the Shura Cherkassky International Piano Competition (also in 2012). In Milan, he’s a big fan of soccer team A.C. Milan, and likes to play Ping-pong and do jigsaw puzzles.
He has some thoughts about how to “grow” today’s kids into tomorrow’s audiences for classical music.
“In Milan, we did a ‘small season’ [of concerts for children], and it was amazing to see the children so enthusiastic for the performances!” he says. He thinks music needs to be brought closer to people’s lives through concerts that also educate young listeners. It’s very important, he says, that children see classical music as one possible expression of their lives—and not something that “only old people adore!”
What would he like to do here in Texas? Buratto is full of ideas: “I really would like to feel as much as possible the Texan life,” he says. “I’d like to go to the rodeo, to a baseball game, and of course have barbecue and ‘Tex&Mex’: I really love food!” And he loves art, too—so host family, please note: a visit to area museums is a must.
One of his favorite early piano memories, he says, is of having to “play an exam without shoes” as a boy—because he and his mother had left the correct pair at home. “I remember with big emotion the first time I played a Schumann concerto—but the shoes are the funniest memory for sure!”
◊ Here is a video of Buratto performing a Schumann concerto on Italian television:
Luca Buratto's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Repertoire:
Preliminary Recital, Phase I
HAYDN Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI:50
SCHUMANN Fantasie in C Major, op. 17
Preliminary Recital, Phase II
BACH Toccata in C Minor, BWV 911
SCHUMANN Novelette in D Major, op. 21, no. 2
SCHUMANN Novelette in F-sharp Minor, op. 21, no. 8
BARTÓK Sonata (1926)
BRAHMS Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, op. 83
BRAHMS Piano Quintet in F Minor, op. 34
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, op. 73
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, op. 26
◊ To see a slideshow of all of the competitors, with bios and links to our profiles of them, click here.