Thursday, May 21, 2015

2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition Finalists and Grand Prize Winners Announced

We are pleased to announce the top 10 finalists of the 2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition! This year’s competition called for scores written for full orchestra by composition students under the age of 30 years old. We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the many young and talented composers who submitted this year. Following a strong reception, PARMA and our three judges - composer, conductor, and professor at Harverford University, Heidi Jacob; Founder and President of Boston New Music Initiative, Tim Davis;  and conductor Nathan Lofton - have deliberated and carefully chosen.

The Top 10 Finalists:
Ictus Solis Eugene Asapov
Grey Hill Nathan Brown
Janus Antics – Scott Lee
Asphodel – Nick DiBerardino
To Remember is Always Forgetting – Baldwin Giang
Stony Mountains to Rise – Joel Järventausta
Eyelids are Islands – Tonia Ko
Black Hole – Nejc Kuhar
LAIR: fantasia for chamber orchestra – Andrew V. Ly
"Sleeping I am carried..." – David Mettens

Congratulations to all of the finalists! We are excited to feature each of these composers works in the 2015 volume of the PARMA Anthology of Music, a free resource for ensembles, performers, and music directors to access contemporary well-written and programmable scores by young and emerging composers. Please check out our past anthologies here, and check back later this year for the 2015 Anthology.

A special congratulations to our three Grand Prize Winners, Eugene Austapov, Nathan Brown, and Scott Lee! In addition to having their works published in the 2015 PARMA Anthology of Music, they will also receive a reading and archival recording of their piece by a professional orchestra through PARMA’s PrimaVisa program. We look forward to sharing their experiences with the PARMA community.

Interested in past years' Grand Prize Winners? Please listen to the live recording of 2014 winner Michael Mikulka's piece for brass quintet, To Throw, by the Redline Brass Quintet at the 2014 PARMA Music Festival:

New PARMA Artists: Mikylah McTeer and Francesca Arnone

Mikylah McTeer
Francesca Arnone
PARMA is pleased to welcome Mikylah McTeer and Francesca Arnone to our family of artists and composers. Mikylah and Francesca have signed on to release an album of works for violin, flute, and interactive electronics.

Mikylah and Francesca both studied at Oberlin Conservatory, and taught together at West Virginia University, before Francesca became the head of the flute studio at Baylor University.

The new album features eight works from four different composers, including Ben Johansen, Margaret Schedel, David Taddie, and PARMA artist Russell Pinkston. Mikylah and Francesca will be finishing up recording sessions for the album later this year.

With each piece, the composers make creative and engaging use of a variety of soundscapes and  digital timbres, which blend with the acoustic  instruments to create a unconventional and  unique sonic experience.

Currently, Francesca serves as principal flute in the Waco Symphony and the Baylor Faculty Chamber Players, while Mikylah actively performs in a number of orchestral and chamber settings, in addition to performances at music festivals across Europe and the United States.

Stay tuned for more updates about the new album. In the meantime, you can learn more about Mikylah and Francesca by checking out their websites, here and here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Kostov-Valkov Duo

We are pleased to welcome the Kostov-Valkov Duo to the PARMA family of artists. We are excited for the upcoming release of cellist Lachezar Kostov's and pianist Viktor Valkov's album, KOSTOV-VALKOV DUO: TRANSCRIPTIONS & PARAPHRASES FOR CELLO AND PIANO.

The Houston TX based duo began their close friendship and professional collaboration in 2000 and have been performing with each other for over 10 years, appearing at concert venues in the United States, Japan, and Europe.

A formidable pair, Kostov has been hailed for the “awesome purity of his playing,” while critics have pronounced Valkov as “the lion of the keyboard.” In 2002 the Duo were named winners of the Grand Prix of the Music and Earth Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria. Following their early success, the Duo preformed in several European festivals, such as Russian Music Days in Dortmund, Germany.

In 2008, Kostov and Valkov appeared in their first major New York City performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The following year, the Duo debuted at New York’s Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. Strad Magazine has said of the Duo, “Impressive playing that manages to surmount a heavy-going musical voice,” while critic Harris Goldsmith praised their “formidable virtuosity” and described them as “prodigiously skilled protagonists.”

Their self-titled album, which will feature repertoire by Liszt, Orr, Martinů, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, is set to be released on Navona Records in August 2015. In the meantime check out the Kostav-Valkov Duo performing Figaro Fantasy by Castelnuovo-Tedesco on the YouTube player below. For more information on the Kostov-Valkov Duo check out their web page.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ron Nagorcka: "Song of the Central Tree"

In October of 2014, PARMA artist and composer Ron Nagorcka traveled to Norway to perform keyboard, didjeridum and and sing alongside four organists, a contralto, a trombonist, a trumpeter, and a double bassist to record 8 of his compositions for his upcoming release with PARMA Recordings, "Song of the Central Tree."

The program features an exciting mix of instrumentation and styles, each piece calling upon different strengths of the instruments at hand.  Ron is in the final stages of this project and needs some support to get these recordings produced and widely appreciated.

Ron has created a Pozible campaign for his project to gain support and spread the word about these recordings. Learn more about the project below and listen to select pieces from the upcoming release here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

PARMA Takes Manhattan: Trio Casals at Carnegie Hall

Concert Poster
Tuesday, May 12th saw PARMA's return to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall with one of our longtime partners, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, for the first time since 2013.

The concert was the second of two performances to promote MOTO CONTINUO, a new album of works for piano trio and solo cello by composers Osias Wilenski, Nicholas Ascioti, Diane Jones, John A. Carollo, Robert Fleisher, and Brian Noyes.

The program featured a diverse array of moods, textures, and timbres that effectively highlighted the character of the composers' work, as well as the versatility of Trio Casals' playing.

Ovidiu was joined onstage by his colleagues in Trio Casals: violinist Sylvia Ahramjian and pianist Anna Kislitsyna. The performance in New York culminated over a year of preparations that included Trio Casals rehearsing each piece for the recording studio as well as the stage.

Many of the composers featured on the program were present at Weill Hall, with some travelling from as far as Wales and Hawaii to be there. Each composer was invited to the stage to introduce their piece and to share some insight in their inspiration behind its creation, adding another layer of depth to the project.

Trio Casals during sound check at Weill Recital Hall
The virtuosity of Osias Wilenski's "Variations for Trio" kicked off the program with a great sense of momentum, leading smoothly into Diane Jones's Copland- and Shostakovich-influenced "Three Songs." Composer John A. Carollo praised Trio Casals for bringing about "one of the best interpretations of my music I've ever heard," prior to the performance of his dramatic and moving "Piano Trio No. 1."

"Ma mère," Robert Fleisher's reinterpretation of "Jeux de Vagues" from Debussy's La mer, opened the second act with alternately calm and rapid melodic flourishes between brief moments of silence. Nicholas Ascoti's "Adirondack Tableau" continued the bright musical reflection that he began with "Adirondack Meditation" on 2013's MOTO PERPETUO. The evening concluded with Brian Noyes's "Piano Trio Op. 38," a piece that spans the entire dynamic spectrum, gradually building from whispering harmonics in the introduction to a powerfully aggressive climax before regressing towards a softer yet engaging finale.

L-R: Sylvia Ahramjian, Brian Noyes, Anna Kislitsyna,
and Ovidiu Marinescu, after the concert
The concert was well-received by audience members and composers alike, with the audience giving a strong ovation at the end of the show while the composers met the musicians onstage for a final bow. From the opening passages of Osias Wilenski's "Variations for Trio" to the final resolution of Brian Noyes's "Piano Trio Op. 38," Trio Casals gave a highly energetic performance of the entire program, weaving through each piece with artistry and emotion.

MOTO CONTINUO will be released on Navona Records on July 10th. In the meantime, you can check out some more information about the album and some audio samples here.