Friday, August 1, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Ovidiu Marinescu

Today we're shining the spotlight on a longtime PARMA artist and friend Ovidiu Marinescu. An outstanding musician of his native Romania, Ovidiu now teaches at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and performs extensively around the world. Ovidiu has many notable performances and achievements as a cellist and a conductor. He has performed with the National Radio Orchestra of Romania several times as a soloist and conductor, and has also been a featured soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Helena and Newark Symphonies, the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Orquestra de Extremadura in Spain, and others. He has been in the studio this summer recording an album of solo cello works that will be released with PARMA in 2015.

Ovidiu has appeared as a soloist on many PARMA releases, including BACH CELLO SUITES, MOTO PERPETUO, the 2013 PARMA Music Festival 2013 Live album, our FINE MUSIC compilation series, and CONTINUUM.

Ovidiu was a major player in last year's festival, performing a solo set followed by a collaboration with local favorites Fiveighthirteen and Tan Vampires at the Seacoast Artist Showcase, performing his brother Liviu Marinescu's "Quodlibet Sonata" at the Hometown Heroes concert, serving as the moderator in the "Licensing and the Music Industry" panel, and playing solo repertoire at the Festival's Main Event.

This year, you can find Ovidiu performing in the In the Key of C-Span concert on Wednesday afternoon and playing the opening set at the Dance Hall in Kittery, Maine on Wednesday night. He'll also be headlining the Main Event at The Music Hall playing Haydn's "Cello Concerto in C Major" with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.

Ovidiu's wife Sylvia Ahramjian will also perform in the Festival this year on violin at the In the Key of C-Span concert on Wednesday morning and the PENDULUM Society of Composers, Inc. album release concert on Friday morning.

Ovidiu’s involvement in the inaugural PARMA Music Festival last year in the historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire inspired him to write a poem about his experience, which you can read below.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Ovidiu and Sylvia and see them perform at several events throughout the Festival! 

Follow this link for the full Festival schedule:

Portsmouth August by Ovidiu Marinescu

Portsmouth August brings cool branches in the summer sun,
Rescored birdsongs escape out of the box
On a background of tremolando strings,
Some, hit with the wood line of the bow,
Three in a row,
Lined up like sparrows on a wire.

The violist stands out;
“Hit it boy, don’t scratch it,
Push and stop gasping,
I wanna see the rosin in a cloud,
Like a halo around your head.”

Drop of cold sweat drops in motion slow,
Hitting the stand like a crystal bell,
Echoing through the air,
And stopping like a fly on the inverted photo,
Stuck to the glass,
A faded memento of tomorrow,
Suspended in time, no space, a muted serenade.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kickstarter: Peter Vukmirovic Stevens' "Feral Icons" for solo viola

Peter Vukmirovic Stevens
PARMA composer Peter V. Stevens has completed his newest project, a suite for solo viola called "Feral Icons," featuring Mara Gearman from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. "Feral Icons" thematically acts as a follow up to his 2013 project, AUGUST RUINS, on our Navona Records label.  "Feral Icons" highlights Stevens' signature mature and introspective writing on this new suite.

Peter is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign in support of production costs and is down to a few days remaining.  Be sure to check out his campaign page, watch his video for "Feral Icons," and support this project if interested.

From the "Feral Icons" Kickstarter page: 

"Feral Icons for solo viola is a suite of six new works, performed by the superlative violisMara Gearman from Seattle Symphony, composed by Peter Vukmirovic Stevens.

These modern works composed between 2013 - 2014 are written with an extensive use of the viola’s deep and lyrical tone creating a wide-ranging musical atmosphere that is stirring, dramatic and original, totaling over 40 minutes of music. 
Three of the six works have been recorded at Jack Straw Productions here in Seattle. The remaining works to be recorded, along with the final album production, are scheduled to be completed by November of this year."

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra

Today we're shining the spotlight on the seacoast's own Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. With over 65 performers, from local professionals to educators to dedicated amateurs and advanced students, it's truly fantastic to have this skilled ensemble entertaining, educating, and encouraging audiences in our own back yard.

The Orchestra presents four main concerts each season at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, along with numerous chamber music and school concerts throughout the year. In November 2012 the orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall with Jane Seymour in the premiere of a new production by composer Tim Janis, and the orchestra accompanied Grammy award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in the premiere of a work by Lukas Foss at the inaugural PARMA Music Festival in 2013.

Here's a great video of the PSO with the winner of their 2014 Young Artist Concerto Competition, Stacie Lin, performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto:

You can see and hear the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra with Stacie Lin at the  PARMA Music Festival’s main event on Saturday,August 16th. This concert will also feature performances by Romanian cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Boston-based singer-songwriter Sarah Borrello, the Redline Brass Quintet, Chris Klaxton & State Line Big Band, oudist Mac Ritchey, and clarinetist Matthias Muller. Tickets for this concert are $20; they're on sale now and can be purchased at The Music Hall Box Office at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, NH, by phone at (603) 436-2400 or online at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Composer Spotlight: Paul Osterfield

Today's featured composer is Dr. Paul Osterfield, a native of Nashville, Tennessee whose "dramatic and impressive work" has earned performances and praise throughout the United States and abroad.

Paul's music has been hailed by Audiophile Audition as "very colorful and sensual." His talents as a composer have earned him awards from BMI, ASCAP, and the National Federation of Music Clubs, as well as a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony and grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Also a devoted educator, Paul currently serves as Professor of Music at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches courses in music theory and composition. Recent works of his include "The Subconscious Imagery of Joan Miro" and a new piece for piano and tuba, which will be receiving their world premiere performances in August and October, respectively.

Paul's second full album of chamber works, SOUND AND FURY, will be available on Navona Records this November. To tide you over until then, check out Paul's orchestral writing on FIRE AND TIME ("Monadnock") and SPELLBOUND ("Opaque Shadows") via the Spotify players below.

You can hear Paul's music in action at the PARMA Artists Concert at the North Church of Portsmouth at 10 AM on Wednesday, August 13, where his piece "Zyzzyva Escapades" for violin and cello will be performed. We'll see you there.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Studio Update II: Eight Strings & a Whistle

Peter Jona Korn
Earlier this month, Eight Strings & a Whistle went back into the studio with Peter Karl at Peter Karl Studios in Brooklyn, New York to record "Aloysia Serenade" by Peter Jona Korn.

"Aloysia Serenade" was written for and dedicated to famous Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist Doriot Anthony Dwyer.  The third movement of this piece is written for viola and cello, and as such, was premiered without the third movement being performed.  The trio's recording will feature a studio recording of the full score.

This session marks the second trip into the studio to record what will be the trio's debut with PARMA Recordings.  Eight Strings & a Whistle flutist, Suzanne Gilchrest, was able to provide PARMA with some detailed notes on Peter Jona Korn and his "Aloysia Serenade."

"Born in 1922 in Berlin, Peter Jona Korn’s musicality was apparent from an 
early age.  He studied with Stephan Wolpe there for two years, and then briefly with Arnold Schönberg after emigrating to the United States in 1940. Despite his studies with Wolpe and Schönberg, Korn rejected atonality and the twelve-tone technique, and ultimately leaned toward a classical-romantic language.

In the US, Peter Jona Korn became friends with Hollywood composer Ernest Gold while living in Los Angeles. The two nicknamed each other “Aloysius” and also bestowed the name on their other close friends. Marni Nixon (Gold’s first wife) and Barbara Korn (Korn’s wife) were both an “Aloysia” and Doriot Anthony Dwyer, the eminent principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was an honorary “Aloysia.” The Aloysia Serenade was composed in 1953 and is dedicated to Ms. Dwyer. She premiered the work in Boston in 1957 with Jopseph De Pasquale and Samuel Mayes, also principal players with the Symphony."

Pictures from the trio's last visit to the studio can be seen below.  Eight Strings & a Whistle will return to the studio in November to continue tracking for their release. In the meantime, they will be preparing for their performance at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York this November.