Thursday, November 17, 2016

Interview with Ted Sperling on MasterVoices' THE ROAD OF PROMISE

Image result for ted sperling
Ted Sperling, MasterVoices Artistic Director
MasterVoices has been a major musical institution in New York City since their inception as the Collegiate Chorale 75 years ago, under the direction of renowned conductor Richard Shaw.

Their latest release, THE ROAD OF PROMISE, is a double-disc world premiere recording of the concert adaptaion of Kurt Weill's The Eternal Road.

In anticipation of its release, we caught up with MasterVoices' artistic director Ted Sperling to discuss the new album and learn more about how it came to light.



What inspired MasterVoices to produce and perform THE ROAD OF PROMISE?

We’ve been big fans of Kurt Weill’s music for a long time. We already produced concerts of Knickerbocker Holiday and The Firebrand of Florence. So this is very much something we’d been aware of and interested in. When the critical edition was finished, it was time to take the plunge! In addition, this work is a great showpiece for our chorus, and deals with subject matter that, unfortunately, is always timely.


This project has certainly been a long time in the making, from the premiere of Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road in 1937 to the concert adaptation’s performance and recording in May 2015. How does the newer work interpret and expand upon the themes of Weill’s original epic?

The newer work is actually a distillation of the original into a more compact and performable version. The original production was close to five hours in running time and had a huge cast of principals. The Road of Promise concentrates on the relationship among the Rabbi, the Boy and the Skeptic, with the Bible stories providing commentary.


What would you say is the biggest benefit to the album being recorded live, rather than in a studio?

A live recording is never perfect, which is sometime hard for us to adjust to in this age of being able to manipulate nearly everything in a studio recording. But it captures a moment in time, with the sounds of an audience being engaged, so it has a special excitement. 

It is also, practically speaking, easier to pull off. You don’t have to reassemble the forces again in a recording studio, and as result, it’s also economically more feasible for a project that isn’t commercial in nature.


What message do you want your listeners to take away from this album?

I hope a greater understanding of Kurt Weill’s different voices as a composer… this is an interesting period for him, right between his European work and American work. The Road of Promise calls on both his classical roots and his showman’s talents.


What’s next for MasterVoices? What performances and recordings are you currently preparing?

We are currently preparing for two more performances at Carnegie Hall: Bach’s St. John Passion, in a newly commissioned English translation by our Evangelist, Michael Slattery, who sings the role of The Voice in THE ROAD OF PROMISE. Followed by the first major revival of Victor Herbert’s “Babes in Toyland” in over 75 years, with an all-star cast headed by Kelli O’Hara, Christopher Fitzgerald, Lauren Worsham and Bill Irwin.




THE ROAD OF PROMISE is available on Navona Records tomorrow  in the meantime, you can hear a preview of the album via the YouTube player below.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Project Update: The Music of Hayes Biggs

We're pleased to share that PARMA Artist Hayes Biggs has signed on to complete his upcoming album of chamber and choral works, with final pieces to be recorded in early-to-mid 2017.

You may recall about a year ago when Hayes began working with us towards this album (here's a link to the original post: http://parmarecordings.blogspot.com/2015/09/new-parma-artist-hayes-biggs.html) - we've since entered the studio with him twice to produce some excellent recordings and are looking forward finishing and sharing the results with all of you.

One of the upcoming recordings, for a piece titled "Pan-fare" for 12 musicians including steel pan soloist, will likely be the curtain-raiser on a track list of works showcasing the many facets of Hayes's compositional voice across a diverse array of instrumental and choral works.

For now, you can hear our recording of "When you are reminded by the instruments" below - stay tuned for more!



Friday, November 11, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Zhen Chen

We are pleased to welcome pianist/composer Zhen Chen to the PARMA family!

We will be working with Zhen to release his debut album of compositions, ERGO, an exciting combination of Eastern and Western styles using the framework of traditional Chinese instruments alongside piano. Zhen takes a minimalism and modern approach in composition and emphasizes emotional appeal with melodic lines and excellent tonality.Zhen received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in China as well as a masters degree in piano performance under Dr. Arkady Aronoy at the Manhattan School of Music, where he also earned a master's degree in collaborative piano as a full scholarship recipient.

An artist of many hats, Zhen has emerged as a soloist and chamber artist in several premier music venues such as Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center. Although classically trained, Zhen has had the pleasure of working with Jeffery Milarsky and Edward Smaldone to perform and promote contemporary music. Zhen has also worked with folk artists from China to contribute to the diverse music scene of New York City.

He is also one half of the Jade Duo, a partnership with violinist Shuai Shi. Their debut recording FAURÉ, SCHUMANN, BARTÓK Sonatas for Violin and Piano has been hailed as "a perfect balance" with “sheer beauty of tone, fluent and fluid playing, and emotional refinement.” Below is a song from the aforementioned album.


We look forward to the upcoming collaboration, and we are excited to be working with Zhen Chen!  Please keep your eyes open for details on the release of ERGO!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Patricia Julien

photo by Lindsay Raymondjack
We're happy to welcome composer/flutist Patricia Julien to the PARMA family of artists!

Patricia is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Vermont. Before UVM, she taught at Skidmore College, George Washington University, and University of Maryland, College Park. She has presented her continuing research at the national conference of the Society for Music Theory, and has published articles and reviews in Theory and Practice, Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Jazz Education Journal, and Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.

Here are some thoughts from Julien describing the inspiration and content of the orchestral work we'll be recording in the spring:

"Among the Hidden grew out of my recent and ongoing exploration of what it means to be hidden, to hide, to conceal. I attempted to depict and embed some of these ideas in the piece. I considered the literal "concealer," a type of makeup used to hide so-called flaws and bruises. I thought about children experimenting with lying, attempting to hide the truth, and how this can be a type of storytelling and can also represent an effort to create a new reality. I pondered the idea that a flurry of activity and cheer can sometimes mask unease. I wondered about the use of a disguise to hide and transform, and I contemplated how hiding is related to privacy. Sometimes hiding is playful as in "peek-a-boo" with babies and "hide and seek" with young children. Sometimes there is comfort in being hidden, in not revealing oneself. Almost always, hiding takes effort, but sometimes being hidden is like being invisible, a manifestation of being ignored."

We're looking forward to revealing Patricia's music in 2017 - keep an eye out for more news on this project, and in the meantime we recommend checking out some of her past work on her website: http://www.patriciajulien.com/composing/

#ThrowbackThursday: PARMA Takes on Dr. Strange

We are not having fun at all...
Here at PARMA we work hard to make sure we are promoting our artists in the best way possible, and that we are making music that sounds terrific.

However, we are not all superheroes, and running 110% all the time is tiring.

We like to think that we deserve a break every once in a while to have some fun and relax our powers. And why not do it on November 4th, National Stress Awareness Day, you know, when we are supposed to step back and assess the stress in our lives and address it?

Last Friday the PARMA team took the afternoon off to go see the newest Marvel movie that has been receiving rave reviews, Dr. Strange! PARMA set up camp at the IMAX in Newington, put our feet up, because yes, they were the reclining seats, and slid on our trusty 3D glasses.

Dr. Strange, which is played by the English heartthrob, Benedict Cumberbatch, is about how Dr. Stephen Strange's life changes after he gets into a car accident that nearly killed him but took away his star-studded career as a neurosurgeon. Strange seeks help from an enclave where he finds hope and healing through sorcery. Strange is then caught between two lives and deciding which one to leave behind. 

Now, without giving anything away, we will tell you that we were so engrossed in the movie that we couldn't eat our popcorn! When you get a chance, take a break from your normal superhero duties and let Hollywood do the work! Happy Thursday! 



Friday, November 4, 2016

How Music Therapy Relieves Stress

Happy Friday! Did you know that today is National Stress Awareness Day? Everyone has stress that comes in all shapes or forms. Stress can show up in getting a stain in your favorite shirt, maybe picking the kids up after practice that happen to end at the same time and are at opposite sides of town, running out of coffee or running out of chocolate at the peak of a craving. 


Stress also comes in more devastating forms such as illness, money problems, work, a broken down car, and a boat load of other things that life likes to throw at us. It's hard to get rid of stress. It's in our daily lives. November 4th is the nationally recognized day of the year to step back and address your stress and take steps toward easing that stress, whatever it may be.

How do you normally relieve stress? Do you take a walk? Read a book? Go for a run? Do you use music? 

Kate Beever, founder of Maine Music & Health studied music performance as an undergraduate at the University of Southern Maine, and then completed her masters in Music Psychotherapy at New York University, and is certified to practice Neurologic Music Therapy. 

Music Therapy is not as commonly known as a health resource but Beever explains that music therapy is "an evidence-based healthcare field that uses music to address nonmusical goals. The work happens through the emotional human connection to music, through memories or feelings evoked by certain chord progressions; but it isn't about perfecting a performance. Music is more of a tool." 

There is no doubt that music has strong emotional connections.  I know you can think of a specific song that connects you to a memory in your life, making you feel like that memory just happened. You can see the surroundings, smell the air and hear the voices of those that are now long gone. Music is wired in our brain as a tool like Beever explained. Music therapy uses these tools to help patients that have cancer, people with disabilities, help family dynamics, and to even relieve stress. 

To use specific examples, classical music can he used as a tool for pain relief and relaxation. Beever explained that "Guided imagery to classical music allows the brain to wander far away from a hospital setting, and breathing in time to music relaxes the nervous system by locking the brain into the tempo." This form of therapy is called entrainment, which also works for patients with Parkinson's because their gait can be guided with the tempo of the music that can be sped up or slowed down, the same works for immobile patients and heart rate. Our body is bound to a song's tempo, like when you listen to music while you walk, you walk in step with the rhythm, unconsciously.

Music therapy can also be used to enhance social skills for people with development disabilities through percussion games and writing songs. Drumming helps explore themes of social sharing, self-confidence, communication, and friendship. In addition to improving skills and confidence in people with disabilities, drumming exercises also help teens in correction facilities because of creative freedom and expression. Another form of therapy can occur through musical improvision. This technique especially helps family dynamic, such as families going through a challenging time,"the music opens up a comfort zone that then allows for safe verbal processing of family dynamics - and the music can be played again while implementing changes in old habits," explains Beever. 

So if you're looking for a new way to relieve some stress today and in the future, consider banging on some drums, walking to the beat of your favorite song, or listening to classical music, in fact, we have a playlist for you to check out on Spotify!


Music is a safe way to express feelings that may be too confusing to express in words. It can energize, uplift, calm and relax. It can teach academic skills or social practices. It creates a positive experience that may not exist without this modality. And everyone has the ability to benefit from music therapy! 
-Kate Beever, Music Therapist


Maine Music & Health has two locations, the main location in Portland, and a space in Saco, which was recently opened. If you'd like to contact Kate Beever or would like to seek music therapy, call 207.233.8734 or email at kate@mainemusicandhealth.com. 
Follow MM&H on Facebook and Twitter.

New PARMA Artists: Eric Funk and Lori Mirabal

We are so excited to announce plans to record and release a new orchestral work by composer Eric Funk performed by mezzo-soprano Lori Mirabal.

Eric Funk 
Eric Funk is an accomplished American contemporary classical composer and conductor. Over the years his extensive catalog of 140 works has included nine symphonies, three operas, six ballet scores, three large works for chorus and orchestra, 13 concertos, several orchestral tone poems, numerous works for chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and vocal works. Funk's works have earned him numerous awards and commissions including 13 ASCAP Standard Awards, the 2001 Governor's Award for the Arts (Montana), and three Arts Commission Fellowships.


Dr. Lori Brown Mirabal
Dr. Lori Brown Mirabal is an internationally accomplished mezzo-soprano, scholar, and music educator. Her career has led her to working with legendary opera and music theatre luminaries such as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Hal Prince, Susan Stroman, and Cab Calloway. Recently she premiered the role of "Adelaide Bobo" in the opera Les Negres at Opera de Lyon in France.

This new piece follows the success of Funk's piece for Mezzo-soprano and wind ensemble titled "Harriet Jacobs- A Tribute." The piece drew inspiration from the novel "Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl" written in 1858 by Harriet Jacobs. It tells how she escaped slavery and hid in an attic space for seven years watching her children grow up in secret. Funk brought Mirabal to Bozeman to perform the piece to much success.

Funk and Mirabal have reconnected to create the second part of their artistic message, integrating new text from contemporary viewpoints on race in the US, and culminating in a new version of the piece for multiple voices and symphony orchestra

Keep an eye on the PARMA blog and Twitter for more updates about this exciting new work.

Welcome, Eric and Lori!








Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#MakeItYours: An Environmentally-Conscious Playlist

In light of Fry Street Quartet's recent release, THE CROSSROADS PROJECT, and in support of their hashtag campaign #MakeItYours, we've assembled a collection of "environmentally-conscious" music for your appreciation and contemplation. Though Earth Day is still almost half a year away, we think it's important to keep the environment in mind on a daily basis, and in appreciation of the wonders of the natural world, we hope you'll enjoy the music they helped to inspire:


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Preview of PARMA's November 2016 Releases

THE ROAD OF PROMISE 
NV6059 


THE ROAD OF PROMISE represents a concert adaptation of Kurt Weill’s 1937 opera-oratorio The Eternal Road. Performed by members of the New York City-based performing arts organization MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale), under the baton of Ted Sperling, this pseudo-allegorical work was conceived by European Jewish emigrants in the US as an attempt to inform the American public about Adolf Hitler’s persecution of German Jews. The storyline is set in a synagogue on a night of fearful waiting during the “timeless night of Israel’s persecution.” The Rabbi comforts his congregation by recounting for them iconic stories from Jewish scripture. These biblical scenes unfold through spoken dialogue, arias, ensemble pieces, and a chorus, and bounces between the Rabbi’s ‘present day’ conversations with his congregants and dramatizations of different Torahic stories. READ MORE


SURSUM
NV6062

With his new album SURSUM, composer Michael Slayton presents six compelling compositions, each performed by a different ensemble or solo performer. Despite the album’s varied & esteemed assemblage of performers, there lies a common thread throughout in both the form of Slayton’s distinguished composing style – dreamy but focused, and equal parts smooth and dissonant – as well as the imagery that the music conjures. READ MORE


EARLY MUSINGS
NV6063
Davis Brooks 

EARLY MUSINGS presents a comprehensive collection of new works for solo violin composed by American and American-based composers, almost all of whom were born after 1990. Though young, these composers’ music speaks to the core strengths of solo violin repertoire, a genre that has represented a prominent pillar in the Western chamber music canon since the seventeenth century. READ MORE



SPLASH OF INDIGO
NV6064

American composer Marty Regan specializes in composing music for traditional Japanese instruments, a fascination he has developed since 2000. Regan describes his Japanese-style compositions as, “hybrid musical soundscapes that reflect the age in which we live, an era based not necessarily on globalization, but of partnership based on global cultural interaction.” In contrast, SPLASH OF INDIGO features a complementary side of Regan’s output, containing only works for Western orchestral instruments and voice. READ MORE


PIÈCES DE CONCOURS 
NV6065 
Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot | Élise Desjardins

Violist Jutta Puchhammer’s album PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR is a treasure trove of late romantic French viola music. Originating as exam compositions for students enrolled at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris from 1896-1938, this album demonstrates Puchhammer’s peerless virtuosity as a performer, as well as the expressive range of her instrument, which was largely dismissed by the mainstream of eighteenth and nineteenth century composers. READ MORE



THREE CENTURY SUITE 
NV6066


2016 marks the 50th anniversary of composer Deems Taylor’s death (1885-1966), an opportune time to revisit his music by releasing his previously unrecorded piece THREE CENTURY SUITE. This piece, in the form of a Baroque dance suite, is delightfully accessible, full of beautiful melodies, exquisite harmonies, and marvelous orchestration. THREE CENTURY SUITE was performed once before, in Interlochen, Michigan, in 1961, conducted by A. Clyde Roller. READ MORE


THE PRELUDES PROJECT
RR7947

THE PRELUDES PROJECT is Holly Roadfeldt’s debut album on Ravello records, and features a complete recording of Chopin’s Op. 28 preludes for piano and a new set of twenty-six piano preludes written by American composer Kirk O’Riordan. In her performance of these works, Roadfeldt takes claim to one of the most iconic pieces in the solo piano repertoire, and also annoints O’Riordan’s new work as an impressive achievement among Classical music’s greatest sets of piano preludes. READ MORE


VANISHING POINT
RR7948
Allen Harrington | Lottie Enns-Braun 

Ravello Records presents VANISHING POINT, featuring saxophonist Allen Harrington and organist Lottie Enns-Braun in an unusual instrumental pairing not often heard in classical repertoire. “The saxophone and organ are wind instruments that rarely occupy the same space at the same time,” says Enns-Braun,“ and it is our contention that this seemingly incongruous combination is actually quite perfect.” READ MORE


ANIMATED SOUNDS
RR7949
Gheorghe Costinescu


Ravello Records presents ANIMATED SOUNDS, a multimedia release from composer Gheorghe Costinescu. The album showcases works by Costinescu from a varied and illustrious career spanning more than half a century. The first half of the release is purely musical, while the second half showcases Costinescu's work and collaborations in multimedia. READ MORE

Monday, October 31, 2016

PARMAween Take Two!

Happy Halloween! Are you looking for something a little different to play for all the trick-or-treaters tonight? Something that's eerie and beautiful and is not frightening chainsaws and dentist drills?

In order to keep with the Halloween theme, we've selected a few pieces from our roster that intentionally push the boundaries of spooky, hair-raising, and are not quite something you'd listen to while trying to fall asleep...

The artists and albums include TURBULENT SKY and MEMENTOS, featuring Stephen Yip; ZEICHEN by Gerhard Stäbler; THE DEVIL'S TALEJames M. Stephenson; WIND DEVIL & CO, Sergio Cervetti, STARS & DISTANCES, by Frederick Kaufman, and SOUND AND FURY, by Paul Osterfield. 

These selected works interpret dark paintings, draw inspiration from mysteries, the beyond and natural order, and challenge the traditional sounds of an instrument. 


The Annual PARMA Pumpkin Decorating Contest!


Happy Halloween! We have an annual tradition here at PARMA that goes down every Halloween season: The Annual PARMA Pumpkin Decorating Contest. The rules of this competition are that each employee is allowed ONE pumpkin to decorate. The pumpkins, which are purchased from Scamman Farm in Stratham, NH, and are small sugar pumpkins that can be decorated in any way or form in which the crafter feels.



Over the years this competition has brought out the most creative designs in staffers, such as tracing the injury imprint of a pumpkin after it fell off of a truck, which just happened to look like a creepy face. Another staffer even brutally gutted the sugar pumpkin to make it into a pie. The ideas never fail to be different from one another, be surprising and be strange.


However, this contest is not just glitter glue, plastic spiders, and eyeball stickers where everybody wins. There are losers. For some pumpkin crafters, this competition is a war between the best of the best. Just take a look at last year's "Best in Show" pumpkin by PARMA Graphic Designer, Emily Roulo....


Which one looks like a winner?
Spooky, right? This year we have a few new participants in the annual competition, making the event even more brutal. In the picture to the left, Scott and Brett are testing the pumpkins weight and stamina for the decor intensity that they are going to endure.

We have several categories for winner consideration in order to make sure that the playing field is fair for all pumpkins. Yes, there are still losers, but we also have a lot of winners to showcase the many different personalities.

After hours of pondering and submitting votes early this morning, anonymously, here are this years' contestants for the Annual PARMA Decorating Competition and the winners!



Order from left to right: Brett, TE, Chris, Scott, John, Brandon, Samantha and Emily

Funniest Pumpkin- John Higgins
Scariest Pumpkin- Emily Roulo
Most Bizarre Pumpkin- Samantha Granville, Scott Murphy
Most Colorful Pumpkin- Scott Murphy
Best Dressed Pumpkin- Chris Robinson
Most Original Pumpkin- Brandon MacNeil
Best Use of Provided Materials- Chris Robinson
Best Effort/Nice Try Award- Bob Lord (TE "The Elder")
Best in Show-Samantha Granville 













Saturday, October 29, 2016

The PARMA Cat Series Blog


Hello PARMA family!


Happy National Cat Day! Do you have a furry loved one you will be celebrating with today? Here at PARMA we have a huge appreciation for cats. Granted, there are a few of us around the office that are not as big of fans of the friendly felines as some of us, but there's no doubt that we have an almost odd obsession with cats at times.



As part of the work here at PARMA. A lot of us are traveling to all corners of the world for recording sessions, attending conferences, and meeting new composers to bring into our growing PARMA family.

On these trips there are cats. Cats everywhere! We have made friends with some of the most beautiful cats in places like Russia, where this green-eyed chunky fluff was found; cats in Cuba, and in many other amazing session locations around the world.

We want to try something a litter different here at PARMA. This is the first blog in our new PARMA Cat Series where we are going to share stories of the cats that follow PARMA, whether it's in the office, in the community, or at sessions overseas. We're combining our love for cats and our work to make terrific music, in order to let you in on what's happening at home and abroad in a more creative way. What to you think? We think it sounds purrrrfect.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Michael J. Evans and "The Music of Erich Zann"


PARMA artist Michael Evans has a new project releasing on Navona Records in February of 2017, based on the H.P. Lovecraft's short story "The Music of Erich Zann." The story is set on a narrow street named Rue d’Auseil, and on that street, there's an old apartment building where few lived. With only a short walk from the university, a metaphysics college student takes rent on the fifth floor. At night he hears mysterious music playing, eerie and haunting. That music is played by Erich Zann, an old string player, not for pleasure, but to keep whatever is lurking outside the only curtained covered window of his room, away. 

H.P. Lovecraft, now the household name for horror fiction, didn't hit his literature fame until after his death in 1947. After Lovecraft died, he left more than 60 short stories, novellas, and novels behind. Two of his writing friends who were inspired by his writing, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, started a publishing house known as Arkham House in order to archive and promote Lovecraft's work. Since then, his works have inspired many horror fiction writers such as Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Neil Gaiman. Lovecraft's stories have been published and made into films over and over again, including Hunters of the Dark and Cthulhu

Evans recently completed the recording session for THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN with the PARMA engineering team and Sirius Quartet in New York over the summer. During the sessions, we were able to capture some sneak peak recording footage. 


video


PARMA Recordings Senior A&R Representative Alex Bourne got to sit down and talk with Evans about the inspiration for this H.P. Lovecraft project, the session experience, and his favorite spooky go-to's!

BOURNE: You have an impressive body of work and despite the poems, variations, sonatas, ballets, and (anti)concertos, this is your String Quartet No. 1.  What inspired you to write your first string quartet?

H.P. Lovecraft
EVANS: Well, I've always wanted to write one; but, since I'm not a string player, I was a little intimidated about starting. Still, it is a form that, as a composer, you really have to try at least once. After writing quite a few orchestral works and working with Vit Muzik, and hearing his feedback, I finally felt confident enough to take one on. 

I must have gotten over any fear quickly because the piece just flew out of me. I finished it in about 10-12 weeks and it is a little over 1 hr long. 

BOURNE: Without giving away too much, this project is related to the "Music of Erich Zann," a story from H.P. Lovecraft.  How did you draw up the initial idea to tie this story into your composition?


EVANS: That actually came quite naturally. As you know, I've been working on a series of multimedia projects that use music as the narrator of classic literature and stories. The stories are the basis for the form and emotional trajectory of the music. The first was MISERY, released last year, based on the Anton Chekhov short story. Given that the Lovecraft story is about a student's encounter with a strange string player, I thought it was the perfect subject for the string quartet.


BOURNE: This piece also includes some pretty wild effects and manipulation from the players.  Do they relate to the narrative of the story in any way?

EVANS: Absolutely! They all do. In general, when composing, I try to only use effects if they have a purpose or meaning. In this piece, there is the sound of creaking stairs, a squeaky door, and a ton of effects representing the things that are entering from another dimension. There are also air sounds, microtonal passages, and harmonics. These are all enhanced by the use of electronic effects, and they can all be performed live.    

BOURNE: The quartet was recorded last month with Sirius Quartet in NYC.  How was the experience working with the quartet and what did they bring to the table?

EVANS: The experience itself was fantastic! I loved working with these guys. They were really into the piece and totally embraced the unusual nature of it. Also, because of the repertoire that they normally perform, they were really experienced with the electronic aspects of it and were able to bring about some really fantastic moments. 

BOURNE: You also have a journal that accompanies the recording – can you tell us more about the origin of the journal and what it portrays?

Michael Evans
EVANS: The story is told as though someone is recalling an event from their past, so, I expanded on this idea of relating a past experience by telling the story through the pages of an old journal, and brought the story into the modern day by doing a video claiming to have received the journal from my uncle’s estate and releasing it on my YouTube channel prior to recording the piece. 

The journal is also used to create the visual track that accompanies the music. It guides the person through the music, so you are listening to the music while reading the story and seeing sketched images. 


Creating the journal was extremely labor intensive. I had to age and distress a journal, copy the story in fountain pen,then create images, initially photographs, which were then converted into sketches and pasted into the journal. From there, each page was photographed again and a movie or visual track was created from those photos. A bit of trivia for horror fans: the photo representing the staircase in the description of the Rue d’Auseil is the same staircase used in the movie “The Exorcist.”  

BOURNE: This is a massive undertaking.  What do you hope listeners take away from this project?

EVANS: Well, I hope they like the music and they are drawn into the story. Another thing I hope to accomplish with this project, (actually the whole series), is to draw larger audiences to new music. By providing a visual track to accompany the music, the intimidation factor should be lessened or eliminated and people can walk away with a better understanding of the music itself and what I was hearing in my head when I read the story. 

BOURNE: Before you go, October and Lovecraft go together like peanut butter and jelly.  In the spirit of Halloween, what are some of your favorite horror stories or films?

EVANS: I'm such a horror fan that this could take a while.  I am a huge Anne Rice fan and have read all the Vampire Chronicles as well as the Witching Hour series. I also loved the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. 

As far as movies, I think I've seen every Friday the 13th movie, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, all the Halloween's, the Hellraiser series and, the classic Hammer Studios movies. Still, I think my favorites have to be The Exorcist, the Pumpkinhead movies, The whole Candyman trilogy, Session 9, (which is one of the creepiest I've seen), and last but not least, a made for TV movie from 1975 called Trilogy of Terror. I loved that movie!

Michael Evan's newest project THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN, a digital release, is set to release in February of 2017. 
Until then, follow Evans on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!





Thursday, October 27, 2016

Altius Quartet is a Grand Prize Winner of Classics Alive Artists!


New PARMA artists, Joshua Ulrich, Andrew Giordano, Andrew Krimm, and Zachary Reaves of Altius Quartet have recently tied for the Grand Prize of Classics Alive Artists! Altius Quartet was founded by violinist, Andrew Giordano in 2011 at the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of Arts.

Since their founding, Altius Quartet has made an impact on the community with their dedication to outreach by playing in public schools, universities, in Jazz Clubs and bars. In July of 2013, Altius began an educational residency at the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony where they perform and mentor students. In 2014, Altius had a similar opportunity to mentor students at the Music in the Mountains Conservatory in Colorado where they served as the schools' fellowship quartet.

The Quartet has earned praise from "I Care If You Listen," a renowned musical blog, where they were noted for their "rich" and "captivating" performances. In addition to their new title as a Grand Prize Winner, Altius is also a silver medalist at the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and for the 2013 Plowman Chamber Music Competition. Altius Quartet also just competed at the seventh Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition where they were one of eight string quartets that were selected from all around the world. 

We at PARMA are very excited to be working with the Altius Quartet this upcoming year. Until then, follow the quartet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Here's just a taste as to why they are the Classics Alive Artists Grand Prize Winner: 


Monday, October 24, 2016

PARMA Artists are Semi-Finalists for The American Prize



The American Prize seeks to "[Provide] evaluation, recognition, and reward 
America's finest performing artists, ensembles, and composers based on recorded performances." 

Here at PARMA we are extremely excited to announce that TWELVE
of the semi-finalists in the running to receive The American Prize are PARMA Artists.

The PARMA semi-finalists for The American Prize are: 




Lee Actor is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Orchestra. Composer and conductor Lee Actor has released three albums on Navona Records, PIANO CONCERTOSAXOPHONE CONCERTO, and PREMONITIONS. Lee Actor has won numerous awards, including the First Prize Winner in the 2007 International Horn Society Composition Contest. In addition, Actor is also a member of the American Music Center and ASCAP, who recently named Actor the recipient of an ASCAPlus award for the sixth consecutive year.


Adrienne Albert is a semi-finalist for The American Prize for Composition in Chamber Music and Choral Music. Composer Adrienne Albert has released two compilation albums on Navona Records, LIGHT AND SHADOW, and FINE MUSIC; VOLUME THREE.Adrienne is a graduate of the UCLA and spent many years performing, but after a long hiatus from composing, she began studying composition again alongside Stephen "Lucky" Mosko at CalArts and orchestration with Albert Harris.



Lawrence Ball is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Chamber Music. Composer Lawrence Ball released three albums on Navona Records, a compilation album, FINE MUSIC: VOLUME THREE, and two solo albums METHOD MUSIC and most recently, ENERGY DIAMOND. Ball has composed over one-hundred and fifty scored compositions and three thousand recorded piano improvisations, expanding in ranging genres from Turkish sax music to multimedia installations, and auto-generated music.


John Bilotta is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Chamber Music and is a semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music. Composer John Bilotta has released three compilation albums on Navona Records, CRIMSON & LACEPREMONITIONS, and CONVERSATIONS. Bilotta's works have been performed all around the world by outstanding soloists and ensembles including Rarescale, Earplay, Chamber Mix, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society.


Hakki Cengiz Eren is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Orchestra. Turkish composer Hakki Cengiz Eren recently release his first album with PARMA, COLOR STUDIES, which was released on Ravello Records and received high praise from reviewers such as Gapplegate saying Eren created "four outstanding high modernist compositions." Eren is the Recipient of Hans J. Salter Music Memorial Award (2016), has also been a finalist in both the 2015 Donald Aird Earplay Competition (2015) and the 2013 Ensemble Et Cetera Composition Competition. In addition to composing Eren is also a skilled guitarist and lutenist.


Arthur Gottschalk is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Choral Music, is a semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Award for Composers, as well as the Ernst Bacon Award for Performance of American Music. Composer Arthur Gottschalk has released two albums on Navona Records,REQUIEM, and a compilation album MOTO PERPETUO. Arthur Gottschalk's Concerto for Violin and Symphonic Winds won the First Prize of the VVX Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Originale (Corciano, Italy), and he has been awarded the prestigious Bogliasco Fellowship for additional work in Italy.

Thomas Juneau is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Choral Music. Composer and conductor Thomas Juneau released one album on Ravello Records, VISIONS ETERNAL. Juneau is active all around the united states as a composer and conductor, conducting in major concert halls throughout the United States, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Juneau's first choral compositions were published when he was just seventeen years old, 


Libby Larsen is a semi-finalist The Ernst Bacon Award for Composers. Composer Libby Larson released two albums on Navona Records, a solo album CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, and more recently THE CROSSROADS PROJECT, a compilation album. Composer Libby Larsen is one of America's most performed living composers. Larsen has created a catalog of over five hundred works ranging in intimate vocal to orchestral works. 


Timothy Lee Miller is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Chamber Music. Prolific composer Timothy Lee Miller has released two compilation albums on Navona Records, SPELLBOUND and more recently, DASHING. Miller has also released a compilation album on Ansonica Records, ABRAZO. Miller has also received numerous commissions and awards, including several ASCAP awards and the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011. 


Michael Murray is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Chamber Music and Orchestra. Composer Michael Murray has released two albums off of Navona Records, PERCIPIENCE, and SPELLBOUND, which is a compilation album. Michael Murray also recently released an album on Ansonica RecordsABRAZO, another compilation album and the first album release on Ansonica, receiving high praise from Gramophone and Pop Matters. Murray has appeared all around the world and has won awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs.


William Vollinger is a semi-finalist for The American Prize for Composition in Chamber Music and for Choral Music. Composer William Vollinger has published two albums on Navona Records, one solo album RASPBERRY MAN and a compilation album, FINE MUSIC; VOLUME THREE. Vollinger, who focuses his compositions in voice, both sung and spoken,  has been performed by groups such as the Gregg Smith Singers and New York Vocal Arts Ensemble, whose performance of Three Songs About the Resurrection won first prize at the Geneva International Competition.


Judith Lang Zaimont is a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition for Chamber Music and for Orchestra. Composer Judith Lang Zaimont has released two albums on Navona Records, ETERNAL EVOLUTION, and was featured on the compilation album, FINE MUSIC: VOLUME TWOThe New York Times has described her work as "exquisitely crafted, vividly characterized and wholly appealing," and perhaps, for these reasons, her music has consistently drawn performers from around the globe and several of her works have achieved repertoire status. 



We, at PARMA, are extremely excited that we have so many incredible artists 
considered for The American Prize.