Christian Leotta has been defined by the legendary Rosalyn Tureck as “an extraordinary talent with a beautiful innate musicality”, and the great Karl Ulrich Schnabel wrote about him: “his respect of the indications of the Classical and Romantic composers is perfect and their understanding considerable”.
Mr. Leotta is a native of Catania, Italy, and now lives in Como. He studied with Mario Patuzzi at Milan’s “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatory and at the “Tureck Bach Research Foundation” of Oxford, England.
Considered as one of the finest interpreters of Beethoven, Christian Leotta burst onto the international scene in 2002, by presenting in Montreal, at the age of only 22, the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas. To date, twenty-one cycles have been successfully performed, most notably in international music capitals such as Venice, Madrid, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Kyoto, Mexico City, Lima and Rio de Janeiro. In 2004, the President of the Italian Republic, Hon. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, awarded Mr. Leotta with the prestigious President’s Medal for his cycles of the 32 Piano Sonatas played around the world.
Following the extraordinary success of his live performances of Beethoven, in 2007 French Canadian label Atma Classique signed Christian Leotta to record the entire corpus of the 32 Piano Sonatas in a collection of five two-CD sets, released between 2008 and 2014. The international press hailed Mr. Leotta as “one of the major Beethoven soloists of our time” (Pizzicato, Luxembourg), defining his complete recording of the 32 Piano Sonatas as “a major addition to other sets currently available” (Fanfare, USA); German music magazine Rondo added: “this cycle reveals an interpreter of Beethoven who can hardly be compared to any other pianist of his generation”, and Mr. Bryce Morrison, crowning the international success of Mr. Leotta’s recordings on Atma Classique, wrote on Gramophone: “Volume V of five two-CD sets completes Christian Leotta’s cycle of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas. He will shortly have played the Sonatas 15 times in public; and even in a fiercely competitive marketplace his task shines with an exceptional musicianship”.
Christian Leotta’s affinity to Beethoven’s music has been unanimously recognized thanks to “his prodigious technique used to better express the poetry of Beethoven's music” (The Whole Note, Toronto), to “his capability of really seizing your attention at unexpected moments” (All Music Guide, USA), gaining a reputation as “a pianist of the highest order: technician, musician and interpreter all at once” (La Presse, Montreal).
Mr. Leotta’s performance of the cycle of Beethoven’s Five Piano Concertos and the Choral Fantasy, played in Guadalajara’s stunning Degollado Theatre with the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, showed once more his ability to communicate and enthrall both public and critic. El Informador wrote: “Christian Leotta was sublime: he brought forward energy, agility, and a cascade of lyricism. In the Andante con moto of the Concerto No. 4, the performer hypnotized, literally, the audience, almost obliging the public to stop breathing, thus rendering each note eternal”.
In 2015 Christian Leotta was included by Mr. Gingras, on La Presse, among “the great interpreters of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas heard in Montreal since 1961”, with “Wilhelm Kempff, Rudolf Serkin, Anton Kuerti e Louis Lortie”.
In April 2016 Atma Classique released his recording of the “Diabelli Variations”, unanimously prized by the international press. Mr. Remy Frank wrote on Luxembourg’s magazine Pizzicato: “Christian Leotta’s account of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations has to be counted among the best performances available on disc” and, on American Record Guide, Mr. Becker added: “Since everything has conspired to place this recording among of my favorites, I will list my other favorites: Anderzewsky, Brendel, Demidenko, Kovacevich, Pollini, Schnabel and Serkin. Since no respectable collector can have just one, it is time to make room for this newcomer”.
An extraordinary public and critic success was also recorded by Christian Leotta’s recent performance of the 32 Piano Sonatas cycle at Kyoto’s Alti Hall, Japan, rewarded by eight standing ovations in a row. The prestigious music magazine Ongaku No Tomo wrote: “Mr. Leotta’s Beethoven reminded the playing of great German pianists such as Schnabel, Backhaus and Kempff”, and the Asahi Shimbun added on the occasion of the last recital: “following the third powerful variation of the second movement of Op. 111, the audience was increasingly caught into quiet and introspective sounds and the entire hall seemed wrapped in such an atmosphere as if we were in a church: Christian Leotta has led the audience to a state of ecstasy”.
Always committed to champion Beethoven’s music around the world, Mr. Leotta has been the first pianist to perform the complete cycle of the 32 Piano Sonatas in several countries, recently presenting it in Alger, for the first time in Algeria’s and Africa’s history. Christian Leotta was also the first pianist ever to present in all Southeast Asia a series of ten concerts including the 32 Piano Sonatas and the Five Piano Concertos, performed with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s premier newspaper, titled on that occasion about Mr. Leotta’s performances of Beethoven: “Making history on the piano”.
Having already played in more than fifty countries in five continents, Mr. Leotta has worked with major orchestras such as the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Kammerorchester, the Italian RAI National Television Orchestra, the Milan’s Symphony Orchestra “Giuseppe Verdi”, regularly performing in important theatres and concert halls such as the Philharmonie at the Gasteig in Munich, the Konzerthaus of Vienna, the Tonhalle of Zurich, the Sala Verdi and the Auditorium of Milan, the Salle Claude-Champagne of Montreal, the Great Hall at the Bunka Kaikan Theatre and the Musashino Civic Cultural Hall of Tokyo, the Xinghai Concert Hall of Guangzhou.
Christian Leotta has been invited to give masterclasses in over thirty Universities and Conservatories in five continents, including the “Università Politecnico” of Milan in Italy, the “College of Music” of Osaka in Japan, the “New York University” at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the “Université du Québec a Montréal” and the “Conservatoire de Musique a Québec” in Canada, the “Queensland University” of Brisbane in Australia, the “Universidade UNESP” of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
First Italian pianist to have in his repertoire the Piano Sonatas cycle by Beethoven and by Schubert, Christian Leotta performed in 2018, at the Alti Hall of Kyoto, a cycle of seven recitals entirely dedicated to Franz Schubert, presenting on that occasion the greatest series of schubertian programs ever performed by one pianist. His interpretations of the Piano Sonatas, the Wanderer Fantasy, the Moments Musicaux, the Impromptus D 899 and D 935, the Drei Klavierstücke, the Allegretto in C Minor and the Hüttenbrenner Variations, recorded an extraordinary public and critic success. Crowning this new exceptional musical undertaking, Mr. Takayoshi Nakamura wrote on Japanese premier music magazine Ongaku No Tomo: “as I expected, knowing his playing very well, Christian Leotta produced a beautiful sound, and that gave already so much to Schubert’s music. He created also a lyrical and dramatic world and, thanks to his marvelous sonorities, he made the audience feel like as his playing was falling from heaven”.
Highlights of 2019 include the first performance in Italy of a cycle of eight recitals dedicated to Franz Schubert in Como, a tournée in several Asian countries and a new tournée in Japan, where he will be back for the eleventh time.