Thursday, July 30, 2015

PARMA on the Road: 2015 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music

PARMA went on the road last week to attend the Tanglewood Music Center's 2015 Festival of Contemporary Music!

In honor of the TMC's 75th anniversary, this year's Festival included premieres of fifteen newly-commissioned works, including Saturday evening's premiere of PARMA Artist Yehudi Wyner's meditative "Sonnet: In the Arms of Sleep," a setting of an early poem by the Massachusetts-born poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) for soprano (Lucy Shelton), two mezzo-soprani, flute, clarinet, harp, violin, viola, and cello. This concert preluded a BSO performance of Mozart and Mahler later that night.

It was hard not to feel a bit humbled by the wealth of talented composers and musicians who came together for this festival; I hesitate to mention a handful of others for fear of leaving out a lot of really great talent, but here are some more of my personal favorite highlights from the festival:


The Berkshires are a well-placed haven for great art, be it painting, dance, theatre, or music, and the scenery of Tanglewood is something to behold in itself; I hope you enjoy these still shots taken from the grounds, and if you ever get the chance to take a trip out for yourself, take it! (...unless it's during the PARMA Music Festival, in which case, you should come to Portsmouth, NH instead!)





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New PARMA Artists: Eli Tamar, Charlene Canty, Andrey Nemzer, Nicholas Will

We are pleased to be working with composer Eli Tamar, soprano Charlene Canty, countertenor Andrey Nemzer, and organist Nicholas Will on the release of an album of baroque, romantic, and contemporary works inspired by and dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.

The album will feature performances by Charlene, Andrey, and Nicholas of settings of the Catholic hymn "Stabat Mater Dolorosa." In addition to works by Vivaldi, Rossini, Haydn, Traetta, Boccherini, Pergolesi, Poulenc, and Dvořák, the program also includes three works composed by Eli for each of these performers.

Eli Tamar
Eli Tamar is a composer whose music has been praised for its expressiveness and emotion.

A native Russian, Eli grew up in Isreal before moving to the United States and eventually becoming a professor at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

His work has been performed in many prestigious venues around the world, including the Prokofiev Museum and the Jurgensen Chamber Hall in Moscow, the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, and the Yad Labanim Museum in Tel Aviv.

Charlene Canty
Charlene Canty has built a reputation as a force in the operatic and sacred music genre, with a voice that has been described as "sumptuous," "beautiful," and "bright and powerful."

An award-winning and versatile soprano, Charlene's resume includes performances in Puccini's La bohème, Handel's Messiah, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, among many others works.

Charlene was awarded the Homer Wickline and Conrad Seaman Memorial Fund award, as well as the Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition in 2003.

Andrey Nemzer
Andrey Nemzer is a countertenor who has held soloist roles with many acclaimed opera houses and orchestras.

A winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals, Andrey's voice has been lauded for its range and flexibility.

Notable performances by Andrey include Orff's Carmina Burana with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Strauss's Die Fledermaus with The Metropolitan Opera, and Picker's The Fantastic Mr. Fox with the Opera San Antonio.

Nicholas Will
Organist Nicholas Will has performed as an accompanist, recitalist, soloist, and conductor with a number of reputable orchestras and musicians across the country.

Nicholas won the André Marchal Award for Excellence in Organ Performance from Duquesne University in 2008 and the Dorothy DeCourt Prize in Organ from the Peabody Conservatory of MUsic in 2011, and has performed in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, among other notable venues.

To hear some of Eli's music featuring Charlene, Andrey, and Nicholas, check out the two performance videos below. Stay tuned for more updates!




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Composer on Fire Interviews PARMA CEO Bob Lord

Listen to the latest episode of the Composer on Fire podcast, featuring PARMA CEO, Bob Lord.

Composer on Fire is a series of interviews with professional composers, educators, and music industry leaders and innovators that aims to provide composers the knowledge they need to reach their goals and thrive in today's music industry. CoF is the brainchild of Garrett Hope, a composer, musician, educator, and the owner of Lincoln, NE's premier piano tuning company. 

Garrett and Bob talk about marketing yourself as a professional composer and the importance of maintaining the rights to the art you create. Bob also shares his views on perfectionism, the listening experience, piracy and the enduring need for physical product, as well as stories from his life that have inspired and led him to where he is now.

Head over to www.composeronfire.com for a full list of episodes, including an interview with PARMA composer Gregory W. Brown. Check out Garrett and his podcast on FacebookTwitter, and iTunes for all the latest!  

New PARMA Artist: Ted Moore

Ted Moore
PARMA is pleased to announce that we will be working with composer Ted Moore to release an album called “Gilgamesh & Enkidu,” featuring a 60-minute piece for string quartet and live processing.

Ted's music has been praised as “an impressive achievement both artistically and technically” (Jay Gabler, VitaMN). His work has been performed to widespread acclaim across the country, including premieres by the Spektral Quartet in Chicago, Yarn/Wire in New York, AVIDduo in Dallas, and the Firebird Ensemble in Boston.

Equally as active as an educator, Ted has taught in a number of academic settings, including McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, the MacPhail Center for Music and Slam Academy in Minneapolis, and the Walden School’s Young Musicians Program in Dublin, NH.

In addition, Ted is also an active sound designer, having worked on a number of independent original theater productions in the greater Minneapolis area. He also serves as Artistic Co-Director for the Spitting Image Collective.

"Gilgamesh & Enkidu" is based on the Mesopotamian poem “Epic of Gilgamesh." From the program notes:

“Gilgamesh’s best friend, Enkidu, is murdered by the gods as punishment after he and Gilgamesh defeat the gods’ earthbound minion, Humbaba.  At his loss, Gilgamesh’s world collapses, leading him to leave the kingdom over which he rules to seek the secret of eternal life in hopes of bringing back Enkidu.  After traveling for days in silent darkness, he is met only with dismay.  Following a brief encounter with hope, Gilgamesh realizes that he’s pursuing the wrong destiny: men are destined for mortality and a full engagement with the experience of being human.”


In addition to the live musicians, "Gilgamesh & Enkidu" features SuperCollider, an audio-processing program written by Ted that interacts with the players and synthesizes electronic sounds in real time. Of the software, Ted writes:

"Each of the string players is equipped with a microphone, which relays their sounds to the SuperCollider software.... The composer then controls and cues different sounds and processes from the software in response to the string players' performance."

 "Gilgamesh & Enkidu" will be released in 2016. To hear some of Ted's work in the meantime, check out the video below of a performance of his piece "Persephone" for saxophone, percussion, piano, viola, live dance, and live processing. Stay tuned for more updates!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

PARMA's on the Road!

The 2015 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music is happening this week, with premieres of 15 new works commissioned for the Tanglewood Music Center's 75th anniversary (including a premiere Saturday evening, 7/25, of PARMA Artist Yehudi Wyner's "Sonnet: In the Arms of Sleep").

We'll be heading down to the Berkshires tomorrow through Sunday to cover some of the events - stay tuned for updates through the rest of this week on Facebook and Twitter, and a full article here on our blog the following week.

...and if you're planning on attending too, let us know!

New PARMA Artist: Phillip Rhodes

PARMA is pleased to welcome composer Phillip Rhodes to our roster of artists!

Phillip studied at Duke University and Yale University before becoming Composer-in-Residence for the City of Louisville and for the State of Kentucky. He served as Composer-in-Residence at Carleton College from 1974 until his retirement in 2007.

In his decades of activity and experience, Phillip has been awarded commissions and grants from numerous prestigious organizations, including the McKnight and Fromm foundations, the Rockefeller Fund, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photo of PR1a
Phillip Rhodes

Phillip's music has been played internationally by dozens of professional ensembles, including performances by the Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Listeners and musicians alike have praised his writing for the way it "proclaims its willingness to be enjoyed with every note a total effect of tasteful, strong characterizations in sound" (Chicago Tribune) using "colorful orchestration [that] skillfully underscores the drama [of the music]" (New York Times).

We will be recording "A Tango Fantasy" for orchestra with Phillip later this year. To hear some of his work in the meantime, check out the performance below of "Love Song (from Two Appalachian Settings" by members of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in October, 2014.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Robert J. Martin: Embrace the Wind!

PARMA Artist Robert J. Martin has signed on to release his string quartet cycle, Embrace the Wind! This album will be his second release on Ravello Records.

Last week A&R Representative Michael Papa was able to have a short conversation with Robert about the project and what it means to him.

MP: Why did you compose "Embrace the Wind!”?

RJM: I always want music to be about something and to relevant to our time. I read a lot of science magazines—Natural History, Scientific American, that sort of thing. As I became more concerned about moving toward a sustainable planet, I wanted to do something positive. Fear is never a good motivator, and I want to focus on moving toward a sustainable planet in a way that is positive and life-giving, that enriches our lives, something that we do out from joy instead of fear. Embrace the Wind! became that project.

MP: How did you come to focus on wind turbines as a major inspiration for the cycle?
           
RJM: I travel a lot, and for the last several decades I have been seeing the growth of wind farms—especially in Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, and, my home state, Missouri. These have made a huge impression on me over the last several decades. Each of these turbines is like the Colossus of Rhodes, the ancient sculpture that was one of The Seven Wonders of the World. You can see these wind turbines from miles away—there are groups of hundreds of them that can stretch for miles as you drive past them on the interstate. Inspired by these images, I began composing a single quartet—Wind Turbines--to capture a sense of the grandeur of the turbines and the powerful winds that surge across the great plains and move the turbines. Sometimes even the best technology fails, and as I became aware of occasional catastrophic failures, I wanted to capture that also—so the idea is that this would be a dramatic work as well as well as an image-centered work. 

MP: What about some of the other pieces in the cycle—they’re more about mythology and art and folk art toys like whirligigs and pinwheels?

RJM: Like many of us who want to understand something better, I went on to the internet and began exploring what was available on wind turbines and wind mills and wind energy. I found that wind has been a source of inspiration in art and folk art, a subject of mythology, a part of various religions, and a power source for sails that goes back thousands of years. The tales of brave Odysseus celebrated by Homer, the mythology of the Navajo Snake Winds, the toy sailboats and pinwheels I played with as a child—all of these and more are part of our heritage. Even the pinwheel toys I grew up with go back thousands of years. I was surrounded by a wealth of ideas and images, and I began to realize: this is part of our heritage as human beings! The project expanded from a single piece about wind turbines until there were more than enough for a cycle of sixteen compositions celebrating wind and wind energy as part of culture and technology around the world. 

Robert composes image-based music; music where the titles and descriptions open a direction to understanding the music. His latest release, PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE, presents 100 different views of Mt. Fuji in 100 minutes and pays homage to Katsushika Hokusai's art.



Stay tuned for updates on Embrace the Wind!, and check out Robert's latest release, PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE available on Ravello Records.





The PARMA Difference

Curious about our process and what we do during our day-to-day schedules? Check out our new video which provides some insight into the difference of working with PARMA.


If you want to learn more about what we do, contact us at info@parmarecordings.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


This video was filmed and produced by Tom Bennett. Music was produced by PARMA Recordings and placed by PARMA Licensing.

Monday, July 20, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Jay Anthony Gach

Jay Anthony Gach
We are excited to announce that composer Jay Anthony Gach has joined our roster of composers and artists.

An accomplished composer in a wide array of contemporary classical genres, Jay's music has been praised by performers and audiences throughout the world for its "vibrant textures" (New York Times), and its "wit, virtuosity, and accessibility" (Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine).

Jay lived in Europe from 1981 to 1999, winning composition prizes and fellowships in Rome, Italy; Dartington, England; and Stuttgart, Germany before returning to his native New York. His instrumental music has been played by renown instrumental soloists Richard Stoltzman and Soo Bae.

In addition, Jay has received commissions and awards from several notable organizations, including:

- American Lyric Theatre Poe Opera Project (opera commission "Of the Flesh...")
- Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University  (commission)
- Astral Foundation (Pew-Bandy) of New York and Philadelphia  (grant)
- Frederick P. Rose Music Composition Prize  (1st prize)
- American Academy in Rome Composition Fellowship  (foreign fellowship)
- New York Foundation for the Arts  (grant)
- Tanglewood Music Centre Bruno Maderna Fellowship

Jay's orchestral work has been performed domestically and abroad by a number of professional groups including (among many others) the Brooklyn Philharmonic under the direction of prolific composer and conductor Lukas Foss, who praised Jay's work as "brilliant beyond words."

We will be entering the studio this fall with Jay to record his orchestral piece, "Gangsta," to be released in 2016. Of the piece, Jay writes:
“Gangsta” is music influenced by the film noir genre of cinema. Film noir – mostly shot in gloomy grays, black and white – thematically showed the dark and inhumane side of human nature – replete with dingy realism, cynicism, doomed love, defeat and entrapment. Film noir emphasized the brutal, unhealthy, seamy, shadowy, dark and sadistic sides of the human experience. An oppressive atmosphere of menace, pessimism, anxiety, and a suspicion that anything-can-go-wrong fatalism were all stylized characteristics of film noir."

To hear some of Jay's music, check out his "Toccatina" for piano four hands via the YouTube player below. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on Jay's music and the rest of our fall orchestral sessions!


Friday, July 17, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Georges Raillard

Join us in welcoming composer Georges Raillard to PARMA's roster of growing and talented Artists!

Georges was born in Basel Switzerland in 1957, where he completed his primary and secondary studies, while also obtaining a degree in foreign languages.

Georges took private classes in the 1970's on classical guitar and composition with Elfin F. Vogel. Since then he's been regularly composing pieces for guitar.

From 1983 - 2001 he lived in Madrid as a teacher, translator, and writer. He has published short stories, articles, and reviews in magazines and anthologies in German-speaking countries.

Next month we will be recording Georges' solo guitar work, "Sinking Islands," for an upcoming PARMA compilation. The compilation focus primarily on guitar music and will feature works from new composers around the world.

"Sinking Islands" is a three-movement piece that draws influence from the imagery of the Balearic Islands "disappearing" as you fly over them. As a Spanish-German translator and German writer, Georges frequently flew from Switzerland to Seville with a stopover in Palma de Mallorca. As Geroges plane took off from his stopover in Palma de Mallorca he would see the Balearic Islands "sinking" into the ocean.

You can find out more of Georges work on his website here. Stay tuned for updates on Georges recording session and the upcoming PARMA guitar compilation!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New PARMA Artist: André Santos


This month we welcomed composer André Santos into our growing community of artists!

PARMA will be releasing a full album of André's various chamber works next year, showcasing his talents as a performer as well as his musical language and compositional style.

After graduating with a degree in economics from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in 2006, André studied classical guitar at the Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa (ESML) with guitarist Piñero Nagy. He then completed his studies in classical guitar at the Conservatorio Superior Manuel Castillo in Seville. In 2011, André then returned to ESML to study composition under composers António Pinho Vargas, Carlos Caires, and professor Luís Tinoco.

As both a composer and a performer, André plays in many different groups in Lisbon. Due to the lack of repertoire for the instruments in these groups, André writes lots of original music and arrangements for them. This dedication led him to become the music director for multiple groups in Lisbon - since then he's created several projects and arrangements for a variety of artists.

With experience as a Classical and Flamenco guitarist, as well as being a composer and a music director for multiple ensembles, André brings a unique musical language and aesthetic to his compositions. His writing stems from a will to try something new, and is mainly focused on specific musicians.

Check out this video of André performing a piece by composer Thilo Krassman titled, "Sonata ao Chiado Antigo", and find more music on his website below. Also stay tuned for updates on his upcoming album!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Dennis Kam

Please join us in welcoming new PARMA Artist Dennis Kam to our growing community of artists!

We're planning to record Dennis's “String Quartet No. 1” this coming winter - our goal is to include this recording along with new recordings of his more recent works on a full album.

Professor Emeritus and past Chair of Music Theory and Composition at U Miami’s Frost School of Music, Dr. Kam has received many commissions, grants, and awards throughout his career, including from BMI and the Ford Foundation, which enabled him to serve as Professional (Composer)-in-Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii under the auspices of the Ford Foundation/ MENC Contemporary Music Project during 1970–1972. He’s also a Capstone artist and was featured on the 1996 SCI release “Evocations.”

Dennis currently serves as Composer-in-Residence for the South Florida Youth Symphony and conducts the Other Music Ensemble (group for the performance of new music) at the University of Miami. Kam is an active member of the College Music Society and has been a member of both the Executive and National Councils of the Society of Composers, Inc.

Dr. Kam’s works since the 1980s have represented a number and variety of interests including new tonal or post-atonal possibilities, contextual novelty, varieties of focus and perceptibility, time and continuity, meaning, implication and representation in music. 

Check out a sample of Dennis's music below, and stay tuned for updates on the recording of his "String Quartet No. 1."


Friday, July 10, 2015

New Releases Out on Navona, Ravello, and Big Round Records

MOTO CONTINUO
NV6003
Osias Wilenski, Nicholas Anthony Ascioti, Diane Jones, John A. Carollo, Robert Fleisher, Brian Noyes | Trio Casals



Praised for his "bold and expressive" playing (Gramophone Magazine), cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and Navona Records present MOTO CONTINUO, a collection of six contemporary solo cello and piano trio works - from the intense, dark, and expressive to the calm, light, and austere - performed by Marinescu and his colleagues from Trio Casals, violinist Sylvia Ahramjian and pianist Anna Kislitsyna. 

Osias Wilenski's Variations for Trio, written in 1984, is based on a passage from Beethoven's Great Fugue (Große Fuge), Op. 133, creating a blend of opposing phrases and virtuosic lines. Adirondack Tableau by Nicholas Anthony Ascioti, adapted from his earlier work Adirondack Suite, is a three-movement sonic reflection of his experiences at Adirondack Park. Diane Jones' Three Songs, written for Trio Casals, provides distinct imagery throughout its three movements, from the discomfort and rush of crowded city streets, to the serenity of the natural world, to a new spirit watching from above. READ MORE


TORNADO PROJECT
RR7908
Ricardo Climent, Robert Rowe, Paul Wilson, Andrew May, Eric Lyon, Russell Pinkston | Esther Lamneck, Elizabeth McNutt



As a ferocious wind storm spins up all things in its path, The Tornado Project, conceived by composers Ricardo Climent and Paul Wilson, cuts a path through the repertoire of 21st-century electroacoustic music, presenting a collection of works for flute, clarinet, and computer-generated sound that explore the chaotic beauty of this trio. With performances by two American wind virtuosi - clarinetist Esther Lamneck and flutist Elizabeth McNutt - these works showcase the skills of the musicians, their dynamic relationships with the computer, and the composers' innovative, colorful, and resourceful styles.

The result of an eight-year integrated process of collaborations and performances, this self-titled release on Ravello Records showcases six works from a diverse group of contemporary composers on either side of the Atlantic, including Ricardo Climent, Paul Wilson, Robert Rowe, Andrew May, Eric Lyon, and Russell Pinkston. These composers create mysterious and turbulent sonic worlds by incorporating extended techniques, primal and ethereal computer-generated sounds, and improvisation. READ MORE


PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE
RR7909
Robert J. Martin / Neely Bruce | Shirley Blankenship



On their debut Ravello Records release, PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE, composers Robert J. Martin and Neely Bruce join a love of beauty with the willingness to engage in spirited, magical, even outrageously unexpected sounds and gestures. These composers, with pianist Shirley Blankenship, present a collection of image-based works whose titles and descriptions open a direction to understanding the music. 

Martin presents 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in 100 Minutes-Homage to Hokusai, a series of short evocations of Hokusai's woodcuts of Mt. Fuji, each different in its gestures and language, yet all in the same universe. This work exemplifies the concept of image-based music, each piece's title offering a vision for the music. In his Improvisations, Bruce reveals the gentle and mesmerizing side of contemporary non-traditional harmonies. In Homage to Seb, the composer presents an amazingly atonal and pleasingly modern side of Johann Sebastian Bach. The collection ends with Martin's stone & feather, an exploration of timbre, lightness, and heaviness. The images found in the pieces' titles and descriptions are keys to the music, allowing the listener to unlock a door between the abstract and the concrete, between the composer and the audience member, and to discover a vivid world that is captivating and new. READ MORE


BY THE RED
BR8940
Mel Braun, Laura Loewen



Life on the Canadian prairie is vital, challenging, and poetic, and on their debut Big Round Records release, BY THE RED, pianist Laura Loewen and baritone Mel Braun - joined by Fred Redekop and Jay Taylor, otherwise known as the mandolin-bass duo Big and Dinky - present a glimpse of the variety of folk music found in Manitoba's Red River Valley. Drawn from French Canadian, Métis, German Mennonite, Scots, and cowboy culture, and supplemented by the art song-like settings of John Greer, Larry Warkentin, Chester Duncan, Robert Turner, and Heidi Ugrin, these works relate stories that 200 years of life in the Red River Valley have generated. Tales of sod-busting pioneers, exile, sacrifice, summer idyll, and love, all leavened by a sense of humor that allows life to flourish on the prairie, are explored on this dramatic and nostalgic collection. READ MORE


A SINISTER ENDEAVOR
BR8941
Gay Pearson Quintet



On her debut Big Round Records release, A SINISTER ENDEAVOR, composer and pianist Gay Pearson presents a collection of works that highlight her eclectic quintet - consisting of piano, bass, drums, flute, and cello - and their colorful, introspective, and energetic performances. Recorded live in Newburyport MA, this album presents original works by Pearson, including Zonal and Meridional Flow, with its classical counterpoint and 4-part polyphony; the energetic solo piano piece Cirrus High; and An Ionian Emitter, which uses complex rhythms and syncopation.

Pearson and her quintet display their melancholy and poignant side with ballads such as Joseph's Kosma's Autumn Leaves, Blue Moment, and Barry Manilow's When October Goes. Sally Lutyens' Evening Song is a mysterious and romantic promenade-like piece that is given an emotive and yearning interpretation by Pearson, flutist Lea Pearson, and cellist Shannon Allen. These live performances capture the technical and passionate presence of Pearson and her quintet, showing their abilities in settings of improvisation, classical structures, and jazz gestures. READ MORE


BIG ROUND SOUND VOL. 1
BR8942
Various Artists



Big Round Record's first installment of its compilation series, BIG ROUND SOUND VOL. 1, presents a deep cross-section of the label's contemporary and eclectic catalog. From jazz and world music to folk, fusion, and progressive rock, this album features performances by Tony R. Clef, the Oscuro Quintet, Andy Jaffe and Branford Marsalis, Sophie Dunér, the Larksong Trio, Anne Vanschothorst, Juan Álamo, Jean-Philippe Grégoire, and more in works by Christina Rusnak, Svjetlana Bukvich, Sebastiano Meloni, Ecco La Musica, Bunny Beck, and others. READ MORE

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

PARMA Artist Jonathan Little's "Kyrie" Selected for 2015 ENCORE Choral Project

Jonathan David Little - composer headshot
Jonathan Little
We are very excited to announce that PARMA composer Jonathan Little’s choral work “Kyrie” has been selected for the Royal Philharmonic Society and BBC Radio 3’s 2015 ENCORE Choral project. 

As part of the project, “Kyrie” will be performed throughout Great Britain by a number of professional and amateur choirs during the 2016/2017 season. Interviews and performances will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3's choral program, The Choir.

In an entry on the Gramophone Magazine blog about the project, RPS Executive Director Rosemary Johnson writes:


“Over the last decade, the Royal Philharmonic Society and BBC Radio 3, through their ENCORE project, have been breathing new life into exceptional contemporary music that deserves to be better known and more widely heard.

“We started with the orchestral repertoire, moved onto something a little smaller in ENCORE Chamber, and have just announced a list of seven choral works which will feature live in concert in 2016/17, with broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and associated creative learning projects to bring audiences closer to the works and their composers….

“The list we’ve announced is by no means obscure. In fact, it features works by some of the UK’s best-known composers: David Matthews; Robin Holloway; Robert Saxton; Jonathan Lloyd; Paul Patterson; Jonathan David Little and Oliver Knussen.”


“Kyrie” was released on Jonathan’s album POLYHYMNIA, which is currently available for physical purchase, digital download, and online streaming on Navona Records. The piece will also be available on a full album of Jonathan’s choral works, which we will begin recording with him in Boston later this year. 

To learn more about Jonathan and his work, please visit his website hereMore information about the ENCORE Choral project can be found on the official RPS and BBC websites. 

Congratulations to Jonathan and to all other selected composers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Session Recap: Mathew Fuerst's "Broken Cycles"

It's always inspiring to witness the growth and evolution of an artist over time.  We've been lucky enough to work with the very talented Mathew Fuerst for the past few years and his innovative writing continues to amaze everyone here at PARMA.

Early last month we entered the beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA to record Mathew's new composition for percussion and piano, "Broken Cycles."  Unlike Mathew's last recording with PARMA ("Symphony" for full orchestra), "Broken Cycles" showcases Mathew's talents in writing for small ensemble.  The piece is written as a gradual separation between the two performers and we think its one of Mathew's best works to date.

PARMA Lead Producer Andy Happel, Mathew Fuerst
Brad Blackham, Stacey Jones
The morning of the session, we met Mathew, Stacey Jones (percussion) and Brad Blackham (piano) who all traveled from Hillsdale, Michigan for the session.  Situated over the water on Rockport Harbor, the Shalin Liu's picture-perfect setting is only rivaled by the acoustics of the room.  "Broken Cycles" is one of the most percussion-heavy pieces we've seen recently and each instrument sounded superb in the hall.

"Broken Cycles" is an intricate piece of music that's success relies on the interaction and harmony between the percussionist and pianist. There are sections of delicate syncopation and Reich-influenced minimalism along with highly rhythmic and technical passages for both players (think the opening of "Music for 18 Musicians").

We're currently working on audio post-production for the recording and we are looking forward to featuring "Broken Cycles" on an upcoming release.  Keep an eye out for updates in the next few months!

Mathew holds a Bachelor's Degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music where he studied under fellow PARMA composers David Liptak and Sydney Hodkinson.  He also holds Master's and Doctorate degrees in Composition from The Julliard School, where he worked with Robert Beaser and John Corigliano.  Mathew is currently on the music faculty at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI.

www.mathewfuerst.com