Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Is A Producer?

PARMA Recordings' Lead Producer Andy Happel tells us about a producer's role before, during, and after a recording session, and how he helps composers achieve their vision in the studio.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Landfill Harmonic

Have you ever heard of a little town in Paraguay called Cateura? Odds are that you have not. Well, it’s a town built entirely on a landfill. Turns out, it’s also one of the poorest towns in Paraguay. (To give you an idea, just one American Dollar is worth 4135 Paraguayan Guarani.) To compensate for this, they use what they have; this means they recycle everything – right down to musical instruments…

Click “Read More” to read more about Cateura and its musical instruments and view a Video about its Recycled Orchestra.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 2013 Release Day on Navona and Ravello

Today Navona and Ravello Records release seven PARMA-produced projects: ISLAS, MESSENGER, THE MUSIC OF SPARKY DAVIS, SHAKESPEARE'S MEMORY, KEYBOARD3, SPECTRAL BLUES, and THE ETERNAL TAO. Click "Read more" for info on each release and links to the catalog pages on the label websites.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Anthony Piccolo's album IMAGINARY SYMPHONY AND OTHER TALES will be released this March by Navona Records. This accomplished composer, choral director, pianist and conductor's album was fully recorded, edited, mixed and mastered by PARMA's audio production team, working hand-in-hand with Anthony to produce stellar results. It is a great example of the quality achieved when composer and production house form a close, creative relationship together. Please listen below for excerpts.  We congratulate Tony and look forward to the upcoming release.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Computers as Composers

 Non-human Writes New Music for Human Audiences

Researchers at the University of Malaga in Spain, have created a computer cluster capable of composing complex pieces of music with absolutely no input from humans. The computer (whose name is Iamus) uses a specially developed algorithm to ensure that his compositions are aesthetically pleasing to its human audiences. Iamus' big improvement on past robo-composers is that its music is considerably more listenable - by no means a random assortment of notes on a page. 

Iamus takes a fraction of a second to compose a 5 minute piece and then about 8 minutes to transcribe it for the musicians - a pace that far outstrips even the most prolific human composer. 

Bach-bot after the premier of Piano Concerto No. 4,503, Op. 250,345  (Image via 9gag)

Click "read more" to see a video of Iamus' piece Nasciturus along with some insight into the computer's compositional process

Friday, January 18, 2013

Trends In Album Design

Through the years album design techniques and methods have changed dramatically. Gone are the days of manually setting type and pasting up graphics—with computers and advanced software, we can now push album art to the limits of the designer's imagination. Most recently, another factor has created a shift in album art design: digital music sales on the internet. We must now consider how the art will look as a small thumbnail image seen in a digital store front, and the result is simpler, bolder designs that read well at this size.

As PARMA prepares for the digital music era we employ many of these techniques in our album design. Releases such as Osias Wilenski's LA LEYENDA DEL KAKUY and James Adler's JAMES ADLER & FRIENDS are two examples of this style. Bold imagery and large type help these titles stand out in the digital marketplace.

I came across an article about this very subject in the NY Times. Though the focus is on pop music, the ideas and principals apply to any label releasing music into digital marketplaces. Enjoy!

Record Sales Shrink So Does Album Art?

Brett Picknell
Art Director, PARMA Recordings LLC

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Visit PARMA's YouTube page at to hear samples of upcoming and current releases. This channel also includes clips from recording sessions such as this excerpt of Henry Wolking's "Gone Playin'":

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NewMusicBox Review: CASINO UMBRO

Featured on NewMusicBox is a new review by Frank J. Oteri for composer Amos Elkana's Casino Umbro. The full review can be found here.

Below are few excerpts from the review.

Casino Umbro
The seamless weaving of references from widely divergent chronological eras, rather than being jarring, are somehow comforting—after going through such a multifaceted musical history, we can now reap the sonic benefits of all of it and Elkana does so ecstatically.

Elkana’s wildly virtuosic solo clarinet part, convincingly delivered on the recording by Richard Stoltzman, shouts, sings, and dances, at times calling to mind the freneticism of klezmer and at other times the impassioned squawks of free jazz. 

Arabic Lessons
In confronting the unsettling memories of the past and the lingering quagmires of the present through music that is alternately viscerally off-kilter and ravishingly beautiful, Elkana offers a path to the future that has eluded generations of politicians from all sides. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spotify and Classical Music

Spotify (along with many other online music libraries) struggle with the organization and categorization of their classical music offerings. An excellent article by Rob Deemer recently appeared on NewMusicBox summarizing the discussion surrounding this issue.

You can find the full article here:

Please let us know what you think in the comment section below. How should companies like Spotify reorganize their catalogs to better serve the classical listener?