Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Carmine Miranda to perform in Prague

Carmine Miranda
PARMA cellist Carmine Miranda will be performing at the historic Smetana Hall in Prague, CZ this Saturday with the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Yuriy Yanko. Carmine will be performing Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor.

The concert will take place this weekend, April 18th, at 8:00 PM links to tickets and concert information are below.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Releases Out Now on Navona Records

Vytautas Smetona

On his debut Navona Records release, ALL THE WAY BACK, pianist and composer Vytautas Smetona presents a collection of keyboard repertoire that highlights his enthralling and committed interpretations of some of the great composers' masterworks as well as an example of his faculty as a cultivated and dynamic composer.

The pieces on this album offer Smetona technical feats and expressive themes, all of which the pianist handles with ease, determination, and eloquence. From Bach's lyrical and joyous Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Major, BWV 848 to the somber and dramatic range of Liszt's Funerailles (October 1849), Smetona evokes passion and refinement in his performances. The technical mastery of works such as Brahms's Intermezzo in B-flat Minor, Op. 117, No. 2, Schumann's Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17, and Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 is handled by Smetona with sophistication, lucidity, and powerful passage work. Smetona shows us a balance between accurately playing the notes on the score and interpreting the feeling between them.  READ MORE

Michael Murray

The history of setting literary text in music is a considerable one, from Schubert's Lieder to Benjamin Britten's Serenade to art songs of the 21st century. Composer Michael Murray presents four song cycles on PERCIPIENCE, all of which emphasize the deep connection between poetry and music as varying means of expression that can reveal different facets of the same idea.

Five Blake Songs explores the wide range of emotions in William Blake's (1757-1827) works, from cynicism and despair to playfulness and irreverence. Poetry from the Song of Songs is used in Four Songs of Solomon, in which Murray's settings, sung by tenor Andrew Childs, express the complex and various emotions depicted through both explicit and metaphorical descriptions of sexual intimacy in the biblical book. Neutral Tones: Four Songs of Thomas Hardy addresses common themes in Thomas Hardy's (1840-1928) writing such as the process of aging and how our perceptions of significant events in our lives change over time.  READ MORE

Joseph Summer 

On the fourth offering in Navona Records' The Shakespeare Concerts Series, ORPHEUS WITH HIS LUTE MADE TREES, executive director and composer Joseph Summer presents original works and pieces by composers from the 18th through the 21st centuries that celebrate the myth of Orpheus.

A character whose fame goes back to Ovid's The Metamorphoses, a collection that dramatically influenced Shakespeare's writing, Orpheus is a representation of the poet, composer, and performer. More than settings of texts about the Greek mythological character, these works illustrate the connection between the three aspects of Orpheus. Summer's Sonata for Violin and Voice is, as the composer states, "about itself, about the musicians, and about the composer" while his On the Death of Phillips mourns the passing of a 16th-century lutenist by his beloved instrument.  READ MORE

Joseph Summer

FULL FATHOM FIVE, the fifth offering in Navona Records' The Shakespeare Concerts Series, takes the story of The Tempest, from the shipwrecked crew and magical spirits to the imprisoned servants and their questions of identity, and presents a variety of works from the 18th to the 21st centuries that set texts and depict themes from Shakespeare's play. 

Regarding this collection, executive director and composer Joseph Summer says, "We are able to hear The Tempest from the very different perspective of six very different composers. As we do, we can hear their reflection on that sinking ship, on sojourners transformed from men to coral." From the intense and dramatic imagery of Beethoven's The Tempest to the angular arias of Stravinsky's Three Songs from William Shakespeare to the sorrowful and swaying sounds of Ives' A Sea Dirge, these works show the significant influence of The Tempest on composers of the past.  READ MORE

Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn

What do you get when you cross a composer, a bassist, and a conductor? It's no joke, and neither is Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn. It is, however, a piece called Joker's Wild which opens up Sternfeld-Dunn's debut Navona Records release FIREWORKS, and it's a doozy, a crackerjack double concertino expertly crafted and written to showcase the talents of the Cameradschaft Duo. The piece won Best in Show from the Global Music Awards in 2012.

Music for woodwinds is prominent in Sternfeld-Dunn's catalog and on this release. Variants, featuring flutist Leonard Garrison, utilizes the form and variations method frequently favored by the composer, while ...and I will love the silence... explores a very different type of structure designed to highlight the relationship between sound and its absence through the playing of English hornist Keri McCarthy. Virtuosic writing permeates FIREWORKS, and most especially so on its title track. A shimmering concerto written for saxophonist Robert Young, Fireworks puts on a spectacular display throughout the work.  READ MORE

Bruce Babcock

Don't mistake the inference in the title of Emmy Award-winning composer Bruce Babcock's multi-faceted new Navona Records album TIME, STILL - the music is serious and contemplative at points to be sure, but the effervescence of Babcock's metrically shifting style and sound percolates to the surface throughout.

At home in both the concert hall and on the scoring stages of Hollywood, Babcock possesses deep insight into the process of creating emotional responses in the listener and uses it to full effect in this collection. Irrational Exuberance is a burst of sonic joy that displays a propulsive rhythmic approach, while This Is What I Know highlights the composer's facility with shading and sculpting sound and meaning in a series of Dorothy Parker settings.  READ MORE

Thursday, April 9, 2015

PARMA Composer Gregory W. Brown Wins BCE Commissioning Competition

Photo credit: Samuel Masinter
We are pleased to announce that PARMA composer Gregory W. Brown has won the 8th annual Commissioning Competition from the Boston Choral Ensemble. As stated on their site, the competition started in 2007 and "aims to identify a talented composer and support her or him in the performance of a new work for chamber choir to be premiered by Boston Choral Ensemble."

Gregory lives and works in Western Massachusetts. He holds degrees from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music (University of Georgia), Westminster Choir College, and Amherst College, where he studied with the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan. His recent commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.

Gregory's new album, MOONSTRUNG AIR, released on Navona Records in February 2015, features New York Polyphony and The Crossing. Receiving critical acclaim, the works on the album "challenge in a number of very satisfying ways" (Planet Hugill) and "ring like higher-power-bells, those of science, faith and the human voice" (Q2 / WQXR). MOONSTRUNG AIR is available through AmazoniTunes, and other major retailers. Hear a preview below:

For more information about the Boston Choral Ensemble's 2015 Commissioning Competition, visit

To learn more about Gregory and connect with him, visit his website and social media pages:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New PARMA Artist - Zoran Scekic

Croatian composer Zoran Scekic has signed on with PARMA to release a collection of his recorded works for piano in just intonation.

In addition to composing, Zoran is also a guitarist who participates in jazz festivals, biennials, and independent concerts while writing music for big band, chamber orchestra as well as music for films, theatre, and dance. He has also invented several of his own musical instruments:

This release is part of a larger multimedia project called "Panmonism" exploring the characteristics, possibilities, and restrictions of natural intervals of just intonation through concert, exhibition, lecture, and seminar. As part of this project, Zoran constructed a microtonal keyboard for which he composed several pieces in just intonation, and these works will make up the program for his upcoming PARMA release.

The project takes its title from the Greek “pan”(all) and “monos” (single). This is meant to show that the difference between music and mathematics is not in structure but in perception. You can read more about "Panmonism" at

Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Douglas Anderson

Dr. Douglas Anderson conducting
We are pleased to announce and welcome New York based composer and conductor Dr. Douglas Anderson to the PARMA family!  We will be working with Dr. Anderson on the release of his "Chamber Symphonies" for various chamber ensembles, featuring fellow PARMA artists Eight Strings & a Whistle.  Dr. Anderson's Chamber Symphonies have been premiered and performed throughout the U.S. by Eight Strings & a Whistle and the piano trio.

When asked about the meaning and inspiration behind his "Chamber Symphonies" from violist Ina Litera, Dr. Anderson answers,

"A Symphony, to me, is a piece that is its own world, in which a variety of things happen; a multiplicity of this and that. Haydn was, especially with his late symphonies, the first to create a little universe of itself. It doesn’t have to have every aspect of everything but it does have to have enough range and variety. Certainly other composers have expanded on that.

When I first called a piece of mine a Chamber Symphony (my first was a student work), clearly it was composed for a chamber group, but I was also at that time referring to the first Chamber Symphonies I had encountered as a conductor, which were Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. Although very interesting and subtle pieces, they didn’t quite create the whole world kind of thing; their intent was slightly different from that goal. So in my Chamber Symphonies, as I have written more, I have tried to go beyond where I think Schoenberg went, aiming for a diverse yet interconnected universe of music." 

Dr. Anderson studied at, and received three degrees from, Columbia University, culminating in a doctorate in music composition. He made his professional conducting debut at the Beacon Theater on Broadway, leading the Boston Ballet (with narrator Cyril Ritchard) in a run of Peter and the Wolf (1973), and since his debut has conducted a variety of ensembles and over 75 world premieres, including the first electronic music opera and the first concerto for steel drum and orchestra.

In addition to his compositions for chamber ensemble, Dr. Anderson is also a composer of works for orchestra, concerti, vocal music, electronic music, radio drama, jazz, film, opera, and musical threater. His music has been performed internationally, featured in various radio dramas, including NPR's "The Radio Stage," and programmed in international festivals.  He has also been recently recognized as the featured composer with the Brooklyn Symphony in 2014, premiering Dr. Anderson's clarinet concerto "Spirit Guide," as well as the Composer-in-Residence with "A Potpourri of Song," at St. Mary's Church in Brooklyn, NY

Dr. Anderson is currently wrapping up audio post-production for this project and we will have release details in the coming months.  Keep checking back for updates and in the meantime, you can listen to and watch a live partial recording of a live performance of "Chamber Symphony No. 4," beginning with the second movement.