Friday, July 29, 2016

Preview of PARMA's August 2016 Releases

PARMA is proud to present eight new Navona and Ravello Records albums - street date: August 12th, 2016. Please enjoy the videos below to hear a preview of each upcoming album.

For the latest news, be sure to follow PARMA on Facebook and Twitter.


Brian Wilbur Grundstrom

Pre-order on Amazon


A composer equally accustomed to writing for orchestra, opera, film, theater, chorus, and chamber ensembles, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom’s voice includes a strong affinity for long melodic lines, distinctive tonal harmonic vocabulary, engaging rhythms, skillfully executed counterpoint, and dramatic imagery, all of which are reflected in the five orchestral works which span fourteen years on his debut release with Navona Records, AN ORCHESTRAL JOURNEY, to create a visionary and lyrical expedition that is quite accessible and easily travelled for the listener. Read More

Karen KeyhaniRobert A. BakerNolan Stolz | Arthur Gottschalk | Benjamin D. Whiting | Yip Ho Kwen Austin | Chin Ting Chang
Pre-order on Amazon

Navona Records proudly presents MODES, the 30th edition of the celebrated Society of Composers, Inc. CD Series and the sixth SCI release on the label. The album features a diverse array of compositions, with influences from around the world and experiences that are new and thrillingly avant-garde. Read More


Composer Ferdinando DeSena presents a selection of chamber works offering a mixture of musical elements. DeSena’s distinct musical style draws on all his diverse musical influences including jazz, popular, and classical avant garde. The popular and jazz fingerprints on his music are subtle, but can be found in his instrumentation and instrumental writing; on this album his combinations include the flute, guitar, sax and even harp and electronics to express unique sounds. Read More


Turkish composer Hakki Cengiz Eren presents a selection of chamber and solo works on his debut album COLOR STUDIES, released on Ravello Records. Eren’s music epitomizes expressionism in contemporary music, utilizing an enormous range of sounds, forms and textures to create highly evocative and dramatic musical statements. 
Read More 


Chilean-American composer Miguel Chuaqui presents beautifully crafted works for small chamber and solo instruments on his Ravello Records release CONFABULARIO. The American Academy of Arts and Letters says of Chuaqui “His music shows qualities attributable to his Latin-American roots; although he is not a ‘genre’ composer.
He is a clearly integrated personality, which exhibits a unique and convincing sensibility.” Read More


Composer Scott Brickman demonstrates the diversity of his inspirations and musical interests on his third full album on Ravello Records, NINETY-SIX STRINGS AND TWO WHISTLES. Drawing on a sea of influences, from Baroque dance suites, to the compositional methods of Arnold Schoenberg, to punk rock, the mixture of popular and historic references broadly typifies post-modern American music composition. Read More


World-renowned clarinetist F. Gerard Errante’s latest Ravello release NEW MUSIC FOR CLARINET … ANOTHER LOOK is a retrospective compilation of avant-garde works previously recorded by Errante in the LP era. These innovative works of the late 20th century, mostly written for or dedicated to Errante, display his wide-ranging mastery and consummate musicality in an idiom that is challenging as well as engaging and compelling. Read More 

Robert J. Martin

With his Ravello release EMBRACE THE WIND: A CELEBRATION OF WIND AND WIND MACHINES, composer Robert J. Martin communicates the wonder that humanity has for wind through a cycle of string quartets rooted in images and emotions played out across histories as diverse as ancient Phoenicia and modern wind farms. The cycle uses contrasting sonorities and melodic material that range from thorny to lush to portray the influence of wind on culture and civilization, from the joy of a child's pinwheel to the power of giant wind turbines.Read More

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Mal'Akh Ensemble

Photo Credit: Oscar Jaimes Matec
PARMA is excited to introduce the newest addition to our roster, Mal'Akh Ensemble.

Based in Mexico City, Mal'Akh fuses an array of musical genres into a singular, unique sound that draws from rock, jazz, folk, and avant-garde styles with a very important component of electronic music and multimedia.

Mal'Akh is a contemporary ensemble founded by composer and musical director Felipe Perez Santiago, who also plays guitar and manages additional electronics. The group also consists of Juan Antonio Arévalo on drums and sample programming, Jaime Vargas on bass guitar, and Sofía Zumbado on saxophones.

Photo Credit: Oscar Jaimes Matec
The group is constantly adapting and re-defining their work by incorporating different artistic disciplines, on stage and on their records. They also regularly collaborate with a revolving door of guest musicians, including some of the main singers in Mexico, the Anacrusax saxophone quartet, Mexico's City Philharmonic Orchestra and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, among many others.

Mal'Akh's new album will be available on Ansonica Records in 2017. In the meantime, you can find them on Facebook, on their website, and on their YouTube channel – check out the video for their song "Look (Hold)" from their 2013 album Néctar via the player below.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Bruce Crossman

We're pleased to announce that Australian composer Bruce Crossman has signed on to release an album of his chamber recordings with PARMA in 2017.

Bruce is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Composition in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. He incorporates influences from the Asia-Pacific region into his music, including traces of Filipino, Korean, and Chinese elements, with jazz-influenced physicality thrown in for good measure.

His upcoming release will feature the works "Double Resonances" for piano and percussion, "Not Broken Bruised-Reed" for piano and percussion, "Gentleness-Suddenness" for mezzo-soprano, violin, piano, and percussion, and "Where are the Sounds of Joy?" for trumpet, percussion, and piano.

You can read more about Bruce's many upcoming projects, including the upcoming Music Festival: Creativity Unlimited at - meanwhile, keep an eye out for more news about his upcoming album in 2017!

Photo by: Tod Clarke

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ninxia University Residency

PARMA composer Jeff Jacob recently returned from a three week residency in Guyan, China at Ninxia University. He performed a formal piano recital, which included his most recent composition REAWAKENING. On top of performing the recital he gave masterclasses for both pianists and composers.

Ninxia University is notable for several reasons. It was one of the first colleges allowed to accept foreign students by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Since 1992 the college has educated students from around the world.

Jeff's music has sent him far from his Indiana home as of late. Recently, he was part of PARMA's April trip to Cuba to record his piece for orchestra and piano, AWAKENING, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra.

The team at PARMA would like to extend a congratulations to Jeff for his busy and rewarding 2016 season.

Friday, July 15, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Felipe Perez Santiago

Photo Credit: Oscar Jaimes Matec

Mexican-Dutch composer and guitarist Felipe Perez Santiago has signed on with PARMA to release a new album of recordings of his chamber music.

Felipe completed his musical studies at the Center for Musical Research in Mexico City, the Royal School of Music in London and the Rotterdam Conservatory in Holland. He has held residencies at the Center of Musical Creation Iannis Xenakis in Paris and the Center for Electronic Music in Amsterdam, among many others, and has won several prizes worldwide.

Photo Credit: Christopher Balderas
Felipe has collaborated with notable ensembles around the world, from the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kronos Quartet to the Czech National Choir and the Choir of Madrid.

In addition to his work as a composer, Felipe regularly performs as a conductor and guitarist with musicians from a wide range of cultures in Mexico City and abroad.

Felipe also serves as guitarist, founder, and artistic director of Mal’Akh, a contemporary avant-garde rock-jazz fusion ensemble known throughout Mexico and beyond for their innovative and eclectic style.

Felipe’s new album will be released on a PARMA label in 2017. In the meantime, you can hear a performance of his piece "Exoesqueleto" for saxophone orchestra and solo alto saxophone below. Welcome, Felipe!

Aidan Dun/Lucie Rejchrtova Interview

London-based musician Lucie Rejchrtova and poet/composer Aidan Dun have collaborated on an exciting new album, “Honeyland”. This collaboration features Lucie Rejchrtova on keys playing Aidan Dun’s compositions under his spoken poetry. Dun grew up in the West Indies and has traveled the world, but now calls London his home. PARMA is eager for this album's release and the team looks forward to putting together the finished product.  For more information on this release, here is an in-depth interview with Lucia Rejchrtova and Aidan Dun:

Portrait by Kim Shankar
Poet Aidan Dun
How was “Honeyland” conceived, and what were some of the main influences behind the works?

Around 2006 I sketched twelve or fourteen piano pieces in the studio with the idea of using them as settings for poems and I experimentally uploaded a few of these ‘wordscapes’ to my website. Then, rendezvousing with Lucie Rejchrtova in Amsterdam (where I was reading) in a crowded room she mysteriously beckoned me over to an old out-of-tune upright piano and out-of-the-blue played a few of my piano compositions. I almost fell to my knees with surprise; it appeared she had learned these pieces from my website. I was astonished because I’d long resigned myself to the fact that I could not possibly deliver the poem’s settings while reciting since my piano technique is far from perfect. So Lucie and I began working together towards preparing the Honeyland material for performance (and the studio) the magical sensitivity of her playing making it possible to launch this work properly at last.

I’ve always instinctively rejected the notion that poems belong in books, flattened onto two-dimensional pages. (It must be the reincarnated troubadour in me that feels an intense bereavement around the disconnect between poetry and music.) But if poems don’t belong in books where are they ‘at home’? To put the question another way: through which medium can a poem best be transmitted? Eliot points out somewhere in an essay that only a fraction of meaning from the recitation or reading of a modern text normally sinks in on first encounter; and many indeed at initial contact become bewildered quickly and give up on poetry and its incomprehensibility, alienated. With Homer (whose poets deftly handle the lyre before their stanzas are declaimed) I maintain that music sympathetic to the atmosphere and spirit of a poem - preferably composed by the poet - can induce a hypnogogic state in the listener which opens the way to its intentional language.

I partly view music as an abstract ‘page’ on which poetry can be written. No typographical or visual medium enjoys music’s special relationship with the spoken word. It surely cannot be argued that a similar natural symbiotic partnership between poetry and the visual arts exists. For instance, the whimsical experiments of concrete poetry have never to my mind produced a convincing frisson. Games played with the arrangement of words on the page in my view fail utterly to lift poetry into another dimension and, on the contrary, seem to contribute to the literal disintegration of language. Concrete poetry strikes me as a fruitless attempt to reinvent textuality, producing an effect far from the powerful combination of a poem well-mounted on a sympathetic harmonic platform.

Through, I suppose, a kind of synesthesia I have always sensed words as traces of melody. I have always imagined my poems afloat on sound; and Honeyland is the realization of that old, almost atavistic, dream. In composing the pieces on this album I’ve striven to express poetic lines as melodic statements, to render both rhymes and alliterations as the extensions of chords. I want listeners to be convinced that the crafted inflections of a poem have much in common with the contours of musical cadence.

For a long time, through my twenties and thirties, my struggle to write poetry precluded serious composition. In my forties, with a body of published work, I began exploring the piano with specific poems in mind (as I mentioned before). By that point in my life I had to some extent come to terms with the loss of the classical guitar, having been forced to say farewell to that instrument due to practice-induced tendonitis.

Influences have been many and various.

Marie Rambert - founder of Ballet Rambert - AAD's grandmother
Marie Rambert
My grandmother, Marie Rambert, dancer and founder of the Ballet Rambert, joined the Ballet Russes just at that point when the Ballet Russes was rehearsing with terrible difficulty The Rite of Spring. Rambert was able, through her special training with Jaques Dalcroze in Switzerland, to form an interdisciplinary bridge between Stravinsky and Nijinsky: she became the essential nexus which saved the work from imploding. (The rhythms of the score were incomprehensible to the dancers.) Engaged by Diaghilev to act as an intermediary between Stravinsky and Nijinsky Rambert went on to dance in the famously apocalyptic premiere of Sacre in Paris before fleeing to London just before World War One. Mim (as everyone called her) introduced me to Stravinsky’s ouevre and in my late teens I devoured everything he had written. His Symphonies for Wind Instruments hypnotised me like Bach’s Passacaglia in C Minor; while Bartok’s largescale work, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, actually precipitated an out-of-body experience which haunts me to this day. These composers mingled their influence with that of Debussy, Ravel and Prokofiev whose canon was familiar to me from earliest recollection because my father was a skilled and emotive pianist. His interpretations of Gaspard de la Nuit, Passepied and L’Isle Joyeuse had lulled me to sleep on many a hot tropical evening in the West Indies where I was raised (though I was born in London).

Jazz became very important to me in my twenties, Coltrane and Andrew Hill and in particular. The West-African (Malian) singer-guitarist Ali Farka Toure has also been an inspiration.

You’ve said something about your musical background, could you now say something about the work itself, this fusion of poetry and piano music.


Honeyland is dedicated to Cedella Booker (1926-2008) the mother of Bob Marley, regarded during her life as Jamaica’s First Lady. Describing (in her wonderful biography of her son) her struggle to raise Bob all on her own in the hills of Nine Mile ‘Ma’ Booker mentions a green mountain-retreat where she found solace and comfort when times were harsh: the place she called ‘Honeyland’.

There are fifteen ‘wordscapes’ here, my own compositions performed by Lucie Rejchrtova combining a relaxed modern delivery with a classical impressionistic feel.

Is this a new approach entirely? I am not aware that my contemporaries have used a similar modality. Greek poets of the Homeric era incanted lyre-in-hand (the recitative of opera was supposed to be a reinvention of the Greek art of incantation, in which the harpsichord replaced the lyre) so perhaps Honeyland is an attempt to revisit the performance-poetry of antiquity. Yet I cannot help feeling that the future of poetry lies in this art-form forging an ever-closer symbiotic relationship with music. I often ponder the post-literary Rimbaud returning to his mother’s farm in the Ardennes from one of his wanderlust adventures and carving a piano-keyboard on the dining-room table while Shadowmouth - Madame Rimbaud’s nickname with her son - was downtown on a shopping expedition. (A few days before she had pointblank refused to buy him a piano when he announced to her that he had invented a new kind of music.) Madame Rimbaud, a workaday Ardennaise peasant with profoundest religious convictions, returned to find the prophet silently practicing his new music at the defaced table.

In performance I deliver these poems from memory. I feel that for a poet a book in the hand is a screen which can form a barrier with (and for) an audience. Memorization is not that difficult for me because by the time I’ve ‘finished’ writing a poem it is three-quarters memorized.

Poetry-on-the-page I regard almost as an anachronism. Sometimes - on bad days - I consider books to be prisons in which poets are incarcerated, held like dead flowers between stifling colourless pages. The age of typography may be passing; and, if so, this is interesting because written language implies slavery, since where the written code exists elites with exclusive keys to codified knowledge will guard against education and emancipation. A return to the shamanic incantation of the spoken word may imply a liberation not only aesthetic but demographic and societal.

What I’ve striven for with the Honeyland collection is a streamlined minimal delivery superimposed on simple piano studies. (The most complex pianistic passage in the sequence – the electrifying introduction to Free Will – is in fact an improvisation by Lucie Rejchrtova on my very straightforward chord-cycle.) And I hope the more abstract engine of music will power listeners to my humble poems to a world where the word is still unfallen, where language and sonority are one.


I perceive Honeyland as a multidimensional painting or a map where each song is a different borough; or a sea-realm of sound and melody where words are ships that can transport the listener to different latitudes of imagination.

When we perform Honeyland live, a visually-rich world opens in my mind. I hear lines of the poems in colour, a synesthesic experience. I often quietly hum simple melodies over the patterns I play, and these hummings seem to me almost mantric, part of the ritual of the presentation of the work.


What will this release mean to you?


I’m happy to think that Honeyland will be released through such a channel of integrity, excellence and experimentation as Navona/Parma.


Lucie Rejchrtova
People have different ways of perceiving the poems during our live set, focusing either on the lyrics or the melodies. Having the actual album will mean they can listen to a piece of their choice as many times they want, and concentrate on any of the aspects that interest or move them in particular.

I love performing Honeyland live and the chemistry is always different with changing audiences and situations. At the same time I love listening to Honeyland on top of a double-decker, appreciating the noble shabbiness of London even more. So it feels good to know that others will be able to take the poems with them anywhere they like, and hopefully Honeyland will help them to transform the 'coming back from work' experience into a unique journey of the soul, when imagination awakes and paints whole new universes in front of the mind's eye.

What goals do you have for “Honeyland” and the rest of your works?


One alluring idea is to find a studio (here in London perhaps, or elsewhere) in which to simultaneously record and film a recital of Honeyland. I also like Lucie’s idea of a ballet: the anchoring of dancers in the physical body could act as an interesting counterpoint to more abstracted channelings. I imagine the dancers listening to the words, then dancing-out their drift while the speaker watches them.

Another attractive prospect is the idea of performing the collection Stateside. The Beat movement in American poetry with its confidence, outspokenness and sacred irreverence, has influenced poets in all cultures worldwide but can the island of the mother-tongue claim such a literary impact in the last fifty years? In spite of the best efforts of Dylan Thomas and Ted Hughes it is doubtful.

I sometimes feel that British poets are hypersensitive to the paradoxical situation of the English language in the context of Europe. On this tiny island we speak the world auxiliary-language but find ourselves adrift in a local sea of languages that appear to be gradually dying, though of course this is not true of Spanish. Sadly, French, the most musical of the Romance languages, is in decline and for French poets this is of course a devastating issue. The British poet does not have quite the same problem. He feels the proximity of threatened - and sometimes understandably paranoid - guardians of dying tongues and his response is to become even more muted and conservative, cultivating an almost apologetic Anglophone caution and politeness which undoubtedly represent a kind of curse.

We’d love to perform in America where, I feel, poets are more out-of-tune with the modern world, more in touch with Anima Mundi and zeitgeist. Yeats is the last poet of the British Isles (as they used to be called). The ‘deep songs’ of the twentieth century are all American, as they were French in the nineteenth. Talking about performance, I’m not really a hundred-percent behind the term ‘performance-poet’: poets are not actors ‘performing’ their poems. In the act of delivering their work they are supposed to remove masks rather than assume the personae of stagecraft. When the poet is publicly possessed by his or her muse, only then will enchantment take place. I become nervous before a recital but on a good night I will consciously pass the juncture at which ego says to overself: “Take over, I’m out.’

I can easily pinpoint the apogee of my career so far: an unforgettable autumn evening in 1995 when Allen Ginsberg flew in from New York to participate in the launch at the Royal Albert Hall of my epic poem Vale Royal, a work which had taken twenty-three years to write, a study of the psychogeography of King’s Cross Central at the heart of London. As a completely unknown poet I recited that night to an audience of more than four-thousand.

Allen later duetted his ‘Ballad of the Skeletons’ with Paul McCartney on guitar:

Said the Buddha Skeleton
Compassion is wealth
Said the Corporate skeleton
It's bad for your health ...

Said the Ecologic skeleton
Keep Skies blue
Said the Multinational skeleton
What's it worth to you?

I anticipate - dreamily - the auditoriums of America.


I'd feel Honeyland could be performed on different stages with many settings. It'd be great to see a balletic interpretation. I can also imagine it as a film soundtrack, or hear it interpreted in a really different ways, e.g. as a hip-hop version. In fact we do sometimes perform a funky version of Towerblocks, an atmospheric, minimal, laid-bare hip-hop treatment.

New PARMA Artist: Phoenix Ensemble

New York-based chamber group Phoenix Ensemble have signed on to release their new album with PARMA in 2017.

Phoenix Ensemble in the studio
The Phoenix Ensemble is a mixed instrument chamber music ensemble based in New York City.  The group was founded 25 years ago in 1991 the group started with two goals, "to inspire a new and diverse audience for art music through performances, recordings, and residencies in schools and under-served communities, and to encourage the creation of new works as well as make accessible important music of our time."

Artistic Director and clarinetist Mark Lieb has toured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is also the founder of Ansonia Music Outreach, a nonprofit organization focused on establishing the musical arts as a valuable to the general public.

The new album for the Phoenix Ensemble will be focused on late Romantic era works. This is a stylistic change compared to their past recordings, which highlighted works by contemporary composers.

Mark Lieb, clarinetist and artistic director 
An underappreciated French composer, Henri Marteau and his charming and endearing compositions will be in the spotlight, as the album will feature a previously unrecorded composition entitled "Wind Serenade" and his "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings."

The album will also include a piece by Alexander Zemlinsky that he composed when he was just 25, titled "Trio."

The Phoenix Ensemble’s new album will be released on Navona Records in 2017. In the meantime, you can hear a piece from their 2012 release via the YouTube player below.

Friday, July 8, 2016

July Releases Out Now on Navona and Ravello Records!


Nicolas Kaviani

The lineage of Western concert music is one which brims with tradition and history, through teachers and pupils, listeners and performers, spanning centuries and continents alike. But one of the common threads which runs through this lineage is the urge by composers, performers, and audiences to all be part of a transcendent emotional experience through music itself. Read More

Jeffrey Stadelman

Composer Jeffrey Stadelman presents three string quartets on Navona Records, each offering distinct perspectives on his career and versatile style of composition. Performed by the New England String Quartet, these works illustrate the composer’s intense, lyrical, and sensuous modes of expression. Read More

Alan Beeler

The music of Alan Beeler (1939-2016) is frequently a compact, tightly focused one, presenting sharp contrasts of color and mood in the context of clear, direct compositional structures. Although noticeably influenced by artistic movements in Europe and America during the first half of the 20th century, Beeler’s musical voice is an identifiable one – crisp, bold, and pointedly quirky. Read More

Gach | Worthington Richter | Rhodes
Winteregg | Anderson | BabcockLias

SPARKS, a compilation of orchestral miniature works by several composers, offers a sampling of much of what post-modern, contemporary orchestral music has to offer, and is most interesting to consider in contrast to nineteenth century orchestral transitions. Miniatures, in their brevity, defy the conventional bias that orchestral music must conform to the characteristics of large symphonies. More generally, the works on this album suggest a wide range of influences unique to contemporary postmodernism. These include the aesthetics of midcentury composers, as well as film scores and non-classical genres. Read More

Philip Thompson

Pittsburgh-based composer Philip Thompson presents SEPARATE SELF, his debut release on Ravello Records. At times, Thompson’s music is delicate and atmospheric, the distinct sounds of his instrumental palette shifting and rearranging across his musical canvas. In other moments, he captures a kinetic current, sending sounds rippling and tumbling into one another. Read More

Judith Shatin | Gayle Martin, Piano

Pianist Gayle Martin achieved international prominence as the sole American laureate of the sixth International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. The Washington Post called her performance “a tour de force” and praised her artistry for its “intense passion and deep-seated emotional response to the music.” Read More 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Interview with PARMA Composer Nicolas Kaviani

This Friday (July 8) we will be releasing TE DEUM, the debut release from California based composer Nicolas Kaviani.  This ambitious album features a 25 minute piece, "Te Deum," complete with a full orchestra, chorus and four vocal soloists. Kaviani is a Los Angeles based composer, but has spent time studying at the Conservatoire de Musique Olivier Messiaen in Avignon, France, as well as UC Santa Cruz with David Cope. 

We caught up with Nicolas in advance of his release and asked him about the writing process, the album, and what he is planning next.  Read more below: