Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Project: Apollo Chamber Players' "Blurred Boundaries"

We're happy to announce that Apollo Chamber Players are currently working with PARMA to release their next album: “Blurred Boundaries” featuring works by Libby Larsen, Marty ReganFlorence PriceErberk Eryilmaz, Harry Burleigh, and Hajime Komatsu along with their own original arrangements.

The album features the first three works of Apollo's multi-year commissioning project, 20x2020. Through this project, the ensemble aims to commission 20 new folk music-inspired works by the end of the decade. Libby Larsen's Sorrow Song and Jubilee launched the project in September 2014.

This will be Apollo Chamber Players’ second Navona release, as well as the second and fourth Navona releases respectively featuring the music of Libby Larsen and Marty Regan.

Check out Libby Larsen's recent interview where she discussed the inspiration behind her new work with Apollo, and while you're waiting for the new album please enjoy Apollo Chamber Player's 2014 release: EUROPEAN FOLKSCAPES:

Friday, November 13, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Edie Hill

Photographer Credit: Anne Marsden
We're pleased to announce plans to record and release a full album of Edie Hill's choral works through PARMA Recordings with critically-acclaimed chamber choir The Crossing

Edie Hill is a three-time McKnight Artist Fellow, a two-time Bush Artist Fellow, and has received grants and awards from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Meet The Composer, ASCAP and Chamber Music America.  She currently serves as Composer in Residence at St. Paul’s The Schubert Club. Although Edie's music has been part of a number of recordings in the past, this will be the debut album of her music alone.

Tentatively titled “Clay Jug” this project will be comprised of seven choral works commissioned from 1999 to 2014. From Edie's Fractured Atlas profile, here's some background about the inspiration behind the album's works:

"We are all the “Clay Jug.” We are sturdy, strong, breakable and fragile. We hold inside us the resilience of the human spirit, (the Fenix), the ability to actively think and listen, (Thinker, Listen!) the ‘dark night of the soul’ or that journey we have to take even though we do not know what is on the other side (Cancion de el alma). The stages of our lives (We Bloomed in Spring and Alma Beata et Bella). Breath, heartbeat, flutes, drums, MUSIC! MUSIC - this thing that is intrinsically human, that has spoken to us since the beginning of time (From the Wingbone of a Swan)." 

You can find out more about her project through the video below; to read more about it and to make a tax-deductible donation towards Edie's project, please visit: 

November Navona and Ravello Releases Out Now


Composer Fredrick Kaufman is praised for writing music that “resonates with worldwide audiences” and “captures feeling and emotion, reaching the listener with convincing sincerity” (Music & Vision). On his Navona Records release STARS & DISTANCES, the composer presents an eclectic collection of works that displays his exploration of the unknown, the natural order, and universal human experience. Read More


Navona Records’ compilation of contemporary works for orchestra, TURBULENT SKY, presents works by composers Fred Broer, William Coble, and Stephen Yip that explore and celebrate the dramatic fanfare, intricate textures, and variety of timbres possible with the orchestra. Read More


Composer, pianist, teacher, poet, and writer, Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) is regarded as one of the most important musicians in American history, lauded in his lifetime as the first American composer to fuse African American folk idioms with the European art music tradition in a sophisticated way. On his debut album on Navona Records, MY CUP RUNNETH OVER, pianist Clipper Erickson presents the first complete collection of Dett’s piano works, a milestone for American music discography. Read More


Trailblazer.  Advocate.  Innovator.  All of these descriptors apply to Grammy Award-winner Libby Larsen, but at the core is the most important title of all:  Artist.  As the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra and one of the most performed and prolific composers of our time (she has over 500 works in her catalog, including 15 operas), Larsen has established a permanent place in the annals of American concert music. Read More


With an innate sense of curiosity and a drive for knowledge, humans constantly push the boundaries of their physical and psychological environments, attempting to break through and discover the unexpected. On his debut Navona Records release ASTRAL TRAVELS, composer and double bassist David Arend explores several frontiers, including perceived boundaries between musical genres, earth and outer space, humanity and nature, and perception and reality. Read More


From Stravinsky-esque rhythms and impressionistic harmonies to Xerox® machine-inspired gestures, Eight Strings & a Whistle – comprised of flutist Suzanne Gilchrest, violist Ina Litera, and cellist Matthew Goeke – present a diverse selection of contemporary and 20th-century works that highlight the ensemble’s blend of technical prowess and emotive interpretation on their debut Ravello Records release ALBERT’S WINDOW. Read More


As ocean waves continue their usual cycle of meeting the shore and returning to the vast blue wholeness, a certain kind of freedom, along with a sense of comfort for the unknown, can be found within their consistent movements. Drawing inspiration from nature and meditation, flutist and composer Jennifer Borkowski presents her debut Ravello Records release COMPOSED. Read More


Although Don Gillis (1912 – 1978) is most known for his Symphony No. 5½, A Symphony for Fun (1945), premiered by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1947, the American composer, conductor, and educator wrote prolifically in nearly all contemporary styles and genres, with a catalog of more than 150 works including ten symphonies and six string quartets. Near the beginning of his career, between 1938 and 1939, he composed three suites for wind quintet, which have never been recorded – until now.

On their debut Ravello Records release, FIVE PIECE COMBO: THE COMPLETE SUITES FOR WIND QUINTET BY DON GILLIS, the Madera Wind Quintet presents the first recording of these delightful works. Dedicated to exploring the fringes of the quintet repertoire, the group – consisting of Amy Thiemann, flute; Jason Paschall, oboe; Rachel Yoder, clarinet; Jorge Cruz Jr., bassoon; and Angela Winter, horn – recorded six new works for wind quintet on their first album Five at Play before turning their focus to the music of Don Gillis. Read More

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Juli Nunlist

Mark Nunlist has signed on with PARMA to record his mother Juli Nunlist’s “String Quartet” and to release this recording along with her “Six Chansons from Prières Dans L’Arche," “Two Symphonic Poems," and “12 Bagatelles for Clarinet" as a retrospective album of her musical work.
Juli Nunlist was a composer, published poet, and a teacher of music, specifically to choreographers and dancers. Her music was reviewed favorably in the New York Times, and her “Zwei Nachtstücke” won the 1962 National Competition for Solo Piano Composition held at Olivet College’s Festival of the Fine Arts. She was also personally commended for her work by the prolific choreographer George Balanchine.

This release will serve to present and preserve a collection of Juli Nunlist’s music for current and future generations. You can find an in-depth interview with Juli about her music through the following link; a highly-recommended read:

Stay tuned for updates and music samples as we work towards this release; in the meantime, you can find a book of Juli Nunlist's poetry through this link:

Monday, November 9, 2015

New PARMA Artist: Michael Laurello

Please join us in welcoming Michael Laurello to our growing roster of talented artists. We are pleased to announce that Laurello will be releasing a full album of his works through PARMA Recordings in 2016 showcasing his eclectic, powerful voice.

Laurello is a composer and pianist originally from Boston, currently based in Connecticut. He studied music composition at Yale, winning the Woods Chandler Memorial Prize for his orchestral work, Promises. Prior to this, he earned a master's degree in composition from Tufts University, and completed his undergraduate degree at Berklee College of Music, studying music synthesis (electronic production and design) and jazz piano performance. 

With a style that fuses rhythmic invention with a visceral directness, Laurello composes for both traditional and non-traditional ensembles. His work embodies a synthesis of jazz fusion, rock, pop, and classical music. Recently, he has composed for ensembles such as So Percussion, the Yale Philharmonia, and the Yale Percussion Group. 

Laurello was a composition fellow at the 2015 Bang on a Can Summer Festival. He participated in the 2015 Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and Workshop and the 2015 ACO/EarShot Berkeley Symphony Readings, and has received commissions from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the American Composers Forum. Upcoming projects include a new work for the piano duo HOCKET, a piece for the sextet Echo Chamber, and a composition for solo bass for the 2015 International Society of Bassists first-prize winner, Sam Suggs. In 2016, his amplified quintet, Big Things, will be performed by the ensemble, ShoutHouse, and can also be heard at the MATA Festival in New York. 

Keep an eye out next year for updates on his release. In the meantime, listen to "Promises" for orchestra (which will be performed this weekend at the SCI National Conference in Gainesville, FL).

Friday, November 6, 2015

PARMA in Havana, Cuba

The PARMA team is pleased to announce our return to Havana, Cuba this weekend from November 7 to November 15, 2015 for a week of musical and cultural exchange activities under the United States “people-to-people” program and OFAC general license authorizations.

We will collaborate closely with the great musicians of Havana, engage in performance workshops, tour some of the many historic musical and cultural institutions of the city, and hit the studio with ensembles ranging from women’s choir to big band.

PARMA’s staff worked with our Cuban music team to carefully handpick each score, composer, musician, and venue for the trip.  Joining us on this special trip will be PARMA composers Roger Bourland, Michael F. Murray, Timothy Lee Miller, John A. Carollo, Bunny Beck, Donald Bowyer, Margaret Brandman, and Mel Mobley.  Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates from the trip.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Composer Interview with Libby Larsen

We checked in with renowned composer Libby Larsen ( earlier this month leading up to her debut release on Navona Records, and we're pleased to share her thoughts on the composing process, her influences, and her favorite instrument (one you encounter every day and may not even realize)!

Your upcoming release, CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (out November 13, 2015) focuses around the performances of some great musicians with whom you’ve developed relationships over the years. Do you prefer to write with specific performers in mind?

When I compose music for my friends and colleagues to perform, I am supercharged and inspired - I know I do my best work for the performers and am challenged by their talent, their energy and their connection with their audiences!  For me, music lives in the relationships it invites.  It’s a person to person communication of emotion.  

How is your process different when writing for specific performers vs. writing for an instrumentation in general?

Since I don’t necessarily have personal relationships with musicians in the ensemble, when I compose for an instrumentation in general, i.e. an orchestra, I find myself thinking about the “ensemble” as one instrument, made up of many instruments.  It’s a kind of playground where my playmates are the musicians, the established repertoire and the many possibilities for us to make music in a fresh way. 

Do you have a favorite instrument or instrumentation?  

Actually, I don’t have a favorite instrument or instrumentation in the way you might imagine.  I do have a favorite instrument.  It’s the air.  I think of traditional instruments as “air exciters”.  It’s the air that holds and displays the sounds, colors and shape of a piece of music.  You might think of the air as a companion instrument to other instruments.  I think of it as the instrument which translates music in your head to music outside of it. Without the air, music could only exist in our heads!

There seems to be an underlying scientific impulse in your approach to the compositional process; how did this approach develop?

I think I’m equally influenced by the humanities and the sciences.   Which of the two is at the center of any given work depends on the piece!

You were commissioned by the Apollo Chamber Players to write “Sorrow Song and Jubilee” which will be featured on their upcoming album (also on Navona Records) – what was the inspiration behind this piece?

The Apollo Chamber Players were creating a program centered on the music of Antonin Dvorak when they asked if I might be interested in composing a work for them.  I was delighted (supercharged and inspired!) to work with Matt, Anabel, Whitney and Matthew.

I’ve been intrigued for many years by the friendship of Dvorak and Harry Burleigh. Burleigh, one of the most respected African American musicians of his day, assisted Dvorak while he enjoyed his short stay in America.  Dvorak and Burleigh dug into the vast repertoire of American spirituals, where Dvorak learned about the sound, rhythms and scales of the music.  Dvorak’s New World Symphony and his American String Quartet would not exist but for Burleigh.

So I wanted to compose a work that honored Burleigh and Dvorak at the same time!  

What was your first composition to be performed by other musicians?       

I composed the class song for my 7th grade class.  I wrote it on the blackboard and we all sang every day for that year.  Pretty nerdy and definitely not the thing to do if you want to be popular in 7th grade!

Of the many awards and accolades you’ve earned since then, which have meant the most to you?  

I don’t know that you would call it an award but the most rewarding moments in my life as a composer come when I meet a new generation composer who has been supported and inspired by their connection with the American Composers Forum.  I have a deep feeling that we composers have a community that did not exist 40 years ago.

What do you think should be done to help generate more attention around new music in general?

Many things, too many to go into in a short space.

We're all looking forward to CIRCLE OF FRIENDS - in the meantime, you can read all about Libby Larsen's upcoming release and hear the album's boogie-woogie-inspired closer "Four on the Floor" at (and to help generate more attention around this great new music, we encourage you to share this link with your circle of friends too)!