Thursday, April 23, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Jonathan Sheffer

PARMA is pleased to announce that composer/conductor Jonathan Sheffer has signed on to record and release his 25-minute orchestral work “The Conference of the Birds” as a standalone single with narrated and instrumental versions.

This work, commissioned for children, is for large orchestra and narrator. It tells a mythical story with a spiritual message, while at the same time, taking the listener through a colorful journey that introduces various instruments in the orchestra.

From the score: “The source material for this piece is an epic poem by Farid ud-Din Attar, a twelfth-century Persian Sufi. The poet dreams he has been transformed into a hoopoe. The birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, because they need someone to lead them in a troubled world. The Hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird. The Hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault that prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reaches the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection."

Born in New York City, Mr. Sheffer graduated from Harvard University, where his teachers included Leonard Bernstein, and later attended The Julliard Extension Division and Aspen School of Music. 

Mr. Sheffer began studying conducting after working for nearly a decade as a composer and conductor of Hollywood film scores. He made his conducting debut with the San Diego Symphony in 1991. During the following two decades he founded two iconic chamber orchestras, the Eos orchestra in New York, and Red {an orchestra} in Cleveland, OH. In addition, his guest conducting included the American Ballet Theater, New York City Opera and international festivals. Eos was the focus of a PBS special about Aaron Copland, and the orchestra toured the US, appeared at the White House, and was nominated for a Grammy.

A prolific composer, Mr. Sheffer's range of works comprises television and feature film scores, works for orchestra, solo piano, concertos, musicals, and short operas. His work was the focus of a Guggenheim Works & Process series event in 1999. His opera, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, received the Richard Rodgers Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was produced off-Broadway in 2000. 

He has had fellowships at both Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony, and in 2003 he was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. As part of his activities in arts and culture philanthropy and political action, Mr. Sheffer has served on the Board of Directors of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, as the appointee of the New York City Council to the Board of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and by Governor Andew Cuomo to the New York State Council on the Arts.

We'll be recording Jonathan's work with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra this June - stay tuned for updates!

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to share with the PARMA community that JONATHAN SHEFFER will be attending the NAPA Music Festival in Napa, CA in mid-to-late June to oversee initial preparation of his one-act opera "Blood on the Dining Room Floor," based on Gertrude Stein's comic autobiographical murder-mystery. Performances at Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center July 10 & 11, 2015. I was honored to have premiered the role of Gertrude in performance at the Guggenheim Museum in 1999 with Jonathan conducting the EOS Ensemble.

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