Brandon Bruscato has been composing music on the piano since he was 9 years old.
Recently, the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy senior was awarded for his efforts in composing music on the violin when he won first prize in Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts High School Composition Competition.
His award includes a $100 cash prize, a recording of the piece being performed, and one-on-one time with Dr. Kyong Mee Choi, Head of Piano at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. In addition, the piece, titled "(D)amaged," will be performed live by a Roosevelt University music student at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in Ganz Hall in Roosevelt University’s old stone building at 430 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.
"I was so surprised at winning," Brandon said. "It was crazy."
Brandon said that he began playing the piano when he was 8 years old. He began composing his own music shortly thereafter.
"When I was little, I would see what was on the page and play something similar," he said. "I wanted to create my own music and not just what’s on the page."
Brandon went on to study music composition at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, and began entering composing competitions. They included entering the Roosevelt University contest last year, when he finished in second place. This year, he composed "(D)amaged" after his grandmother passed away last year. He said that he turned to classic music for further inspiration.
"In the climax, I used this 14th–century melody that is usually used in Catholic funeral Masses as a reflection," he said.
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that she was proud of Brandon’s achievement.
"Brandon has been an extraordinary student here at PMSA," she said. "He is a leader of whom we can be proud."
Brandon said that he is still considering colleges where he plans to continue to study music. He thus far has been accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Roosevelt University, and the University of Southern California.