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. 

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.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Special Performance and Marga Richter's 90th Birthday!

This Sunday on October 23rd, the Long Island Composer Alliance is hosting A Special LICA Birthday Concert in honor of three long island composer birthdays, including the co-founder of LICA, and PARMA artist, Marga Richter! The event will take place at Bryant Library, 2 Paper Mill Road in Roslyn, NY.

Marga Richter has released two albums on Ravello Records, a single album, POETIC IMAGES BEYOND POETRY and a compilation album, VANGUARDS; VOLUME 2.

Marga received her Bachelor's and Master's degree from The Julliard School where she has gone on to compose 150 works, which encompass themes from every classical musical genre. Her orchestral works have been played by more than 50 orchestras, including the Atlanta and Milwaukee Symphonies, the Minnesota Orchestra, and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Marga says, "Composing is my response to a constant desire to transform my perceptions and emotions into music. Everything that touches me, everything I become aware of as beautiful, or mysterious, or painful, or joyful, or unknowable becomes an immediate or eventual source of inspiration. Music is the way I speak to the silence of the universe."

From all the staff here at PARMA, we'd like to wish long-time PARMA artist Marga Richter a Happy 90th Birthday! Help celebrate and honor this milestone birthday of a talented composer this coming Sunday by attending this event, sharing, and listening to her works. 

Acclaimed PARMA Artist Carmine Miranda Hits One Million Streams!

Acclaimed cellist and PARMA artist Carmine Miranda, has recently reached one million streams on Spotify for his recent Navona Records album SCHUMANN | DVOŘÁK: CONCERTI FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA!

SCHUMANN | DVOŘÁK, his second album release on Navona, his first album release with PARMA being PIATTI: 12 CAPRICES FOR SOLO CELLO in 2014. This recording put Miranda in the ranks among some of the youngest performers in the world to perform and release the 12 Caprices for solo cello by renowned cellist Carlo Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901).

Miranda's parents, both Italian immigrants, moved to the United States when Miranda was still quite young. Miranda, a Venezuelan-American, began studying music at the age of seven at the Carabobo State Music Conservatory in Venezuela where he first began studying music theory and solfege. Miranda received his Bachelor of Arts, Masters and Doctoral degree in music with honors, at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, OH. 
PARMA Music Festival, 2015

Miranda has performed all over the world as a solo artist, in festivals, like the PARMA Music Festival, and with ensembles such as the Moravian Philharmonic and Caracas Municipal Symphony. In addition to live performances, Miranda's work has appeared on radio, TV, and PBS affiliate stations earning high praise from headline reviewers such as Gramophone, Fanfare, and Limelight Magazine

The list of awards and titles that Miranda has received doesn't end, and yet he is still so young. He has received the Coral Gables Music Club Award for “Best Instrumentalist,” first prize in the 2005 Alhambra Music Competition, and the National Orchestra Award for “Best Soloist;” which was awarded by the Florida Music Educators Associate. More recently, when Miranda's first PARMA album was released, he received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the 2014 Global Music Awards for Best show, which is the GMA highest honor. In 2016 he received another Gold medal from the Global Music Awards, and two Hollywood Music in Media Award nominations. 

We asked Miranda how he felt about his most recent accomplishment of hitting one million streams on Spotify, he responded “I would like to thank the PARMA team and everyone involved in this project for all the invaluable help towards this great success. I also want to thank Naxos for their wonderful support and all of the listeners, fans, friends and critics who have supported our rendition of these works; without them, this would not have been possible. I hope to continue producing great classical recordings that everyone can enjoy and hope to have the continued support of everyone that has been following my musical career as it progresses.”

Here at PARMA we have enjoyed having the opportunity to consistently work with Carmine Miranda. Keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter and Spotify. Do you want to add to his one million streams? Listen below. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

PARMA Artist Jonathan Little Featured by the BBC Singers

Jonathan David Little, right
We're excited to announce that long-time PARMA composer Jonathan David Little was selected for a workshop performance by the BBC Singers earlier this month.

Jonathan's piece "That Time of Year" was featured at BBC Maida Vale Studios in London on October 4th. The choir was led by Judith Weir, CBE, Master of the Queen's Music, and conducted by James Morgan of the British Academy of Composers, Authors and Songwriters (BASCA).

The BBC Singers
"That Time of Year" is one of many of Jonathan's choral works that will be included on his new album, due out in 2017 on Navona Records.

In the meantime, you can hear Jonathan's music on his Navona debut POLYHYMNIA here.

Congratulations, Jonathan!

Monday, October 17, 2016

PARMA Artist Couloir is the Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year!

Congratulations to Ravello PARMA artists Ariel Barnes, cellist, and Heidi Krutzen, harpist,of the duo Couloir, for receiving the Classical Artist/Ensemble Award this past Thursday, October 13th in Regina, Canada, during the Breakout West event weekend.

The Classical/Ensemble Award, which is awarded by the Canadian Music Centre at the Western Canadian Music Awards,"recognizes an artist/ensemble whose music styles includes instrumental soloists, large or small chamber ensembles, as well as instrumental soloists with chamber accompaniment." 

The Couloir duo has released two albums with Ravello, WINE DARK SEA, and most recently, MAXWELL MUHLY & COULOIR, which was released in May of this year. MAXWELL MUHLY & COULOIR has been highly praised by reviewers such as Winnipeg Free Press, Textura, and Kathodik

In addition to winning an award, Couloir's album, MAXWELL MUHLY & COULOIR was recently featured as "Disc of the Week" on CBC Radio 2 through the In Concert series with Paulo Pietropaulo

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 2016 Release Playlist on Spotify

Congratulations, you made it to Friday. We have something to put a smile on your face in addition to gearing up for the weekend. Today is Release Day here at PARMA Recordings and we're excited to share our new albums with you from Navona, Ravello, and Ansonica. Check out this Spotify playlist below, featuring from Navona, MI PALPITA IL COR, LET ME FLY, CADENCE, from Ravello, ARS NOSTRA: BUT NOW THE NIGHT, HONEYLAND, and the second album release from Ansonica, INTERSECTIONS.

Enjoy, listen, order and share!

October Releases Out Now on Navona, Ravello, and Ansonica Records!


MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS is a compelling journey into the rich corners of the mid- and late-Baroque period. Featuring an array of thrilling instrumental and vocal compositions, the album is driven by the performances of French-Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle and American early music ensemble Musica Pacifica, founded in 1990, based in San Francisco, and whose playing has been called “a small miracle of precision and musical electricity” by the Washington Post. READ MORE

University of South Dakota Chamber Singers | David Holdhusen, Conductor

LET ME FLY showcases the extraordinary talents of the University of South Dakota Chamber Singers in a compilation of American choral music under the direction of Dr. David Holdhusen. The album, recorded from 2014 to 2016, primarily draws on two mainstays of contemporary American choral repertoire – traditional folk song and spiritual arrangements and new works featuring a lyrical, lush harmonic language.

David Kirtley | Joanne D. Carey | Timothy Kramer | Christopher J. Hoh

CADENCE, the new vocal music compilation from Navona Records, offers a set of inspired, emotive premiere recordings by composers Christopher J. Hoh, David Kirtley, Joanne D. Carey, and Timothy Kramer in works juxtaposing the ethereal and the earthy, the diaphanous and the muscular, and the serene and the agile. READ MORE

Sang-Hie Lee

Pianist Sang-Hie Lee performs original works written for two pianos, by internationally recognized composers Gerald Chenoweth, Eun-Hye Park, Lewis Nielson, Daniel Perlongo, and Paul Reller, in ARS NOSTRA: BUT NOW THE NIGHT. Along with collaborating pianist Martha Thomas, the pieces showcase the instrument as a “super piano”, unveiling textures and new combinations of sounds not accessible with a soloist. READ MORE

Aidan Andrew Dun | Lucie Rejchrtová

Poet and musician Aidan Andrew Dun offers extremely unique works of spoken word poetry recitation, with keyboard accompaniment, in his Ravello Records release HONEYLAND. The album’s offerings can be seen to have roots in a number of Western musical and literary practices. Dun’s geographically specific epic poetry recalls the writings of James Joyce, and his interest in reciting poems to music suggests the influence of English poet and painter William Blake. READ MORE

Jeffrey Jacob | Heidi Jacob | Steven Block | Sergio Cervetti | Christina Rusnak

This exquisitely produced album embodies the beautiful art whose creation has been enabled by the newly opened cultural exchange between the United States and Cuba. Through a collection of intriguing compositions by American and American-based composers, INTERSECTIONS showcases the talents of Cuban musicians in a variety of large ensemble and chamber settings. Moreover, the pieces in the album’s contents are replete with symbols that touch on the promise of this new beginning in American-Cuban relations, and suggest some of the darkness that preceded it. READ MORE

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New PARMA Artist: Ken Walicki

We are excited to announce that composer Ken Walicki has joined the PARMA roster!

Ken draws musical influence from an array of genres, including jazz, pop, art, and world music. An innovator in composition, he was the first composer to ever feature a DJ and turntables as part of a standing ensemble.

As a Fulbright scholar, Ken studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen Helmut Lachenmann, and Rolf Hempel in Germany for two years, before earning his Ph.D at Michigan State
University after studying with Jere Hutcheson. He has also participated in master classes with Aaron Coplan, Samuel Barber, and William Schumann.

Ken's music has been performed worldwide by notable ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, ETHEL, and members of the New York Philharmonic and Istanbul Borusan Orchestra, among many others. He is also the composer-in-residence for The Divan Consort.

Ken's new album of electro-acoustic chamber works will be released in 2017 on Ravello Records. In the meantime, you can listen to his music here.

Welcome, Ken!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Experiencing Cuba Through PARMA's Eyes

After 54 years of diplomatic silence, in July of 2015, President Obama restored relations between the United States and Cuba, finally ending some of the tensions that were created between the nations during the Cold War.

The PARMA Recordings label, Ansonica, was founded in 2016 and is focused on "presenting finely crafted contemporary music from across the globe." The first album released on the label, ABRAZO:THE HAVANA SESSIONS was recorded in Cuba a few months after the doors opened. PARMA had the extraordinary experience to be the first recording company to travel and record in Cuba. PARMA recently traveled back to Cuba in April to record INTERSECTIONS, the second album release on the Ansonica label. 

Two of PARMA's long-time A&R Representatives had the opportunity to travel with PARMA CEO Bob Lord and the signed PARMA artists (Jeffrey Jacob, Heidi Jacob, Steven Block, Sergio Cervetti, and Christina Rusnak) for the project back to Havana to record INTERSECTIONS. We got the chance to sit down with Sam Renshaw and Alex Bourne to ask about their experience helping with the recording sessions in Cuba.

Sam Renshaw, Vice President of A&R and PARMA staffer since 2008, was a part of the first trip to Havana, Cuba in November of 2015, a few months after the Cuba borders were opened back up to the United States. Sam also traveled to Cuba in April and will travel again in January with PARMA for the next recording session to produce the third album release on Ansonica.

In order to prep for the first trip to Havana, Sam read Cuba: A New History by Richard Gott. He said, "I didn’t know what to expect, so I tried to go in with an open mind the first time. [Cuba: A New History] helped give me a historical background on the island, but overall I found [Cuba] to be a fascinating place, filled with passionate people, beautiful and unique vistas and architecture, and most importantly: incredible musicians."

As Vice President of A&R, Sam is able to travel to conferences and banquets for composers and clients often. However, traveling to Cuba for a recording session is a whole other game. Sam went on to say, "Since these sessions are more involved and complex than any other session trip we organize, there is a lot more interaction with the group of artists as a whole, and we get to experience the culture, music, studio, food together over the course of our program in many different ways. I love working directly with our artists to help them bring their music to life, but it’s also a lot of fun!"

Overall, Sam explained that 'Being in the studio and listening to one of the first collaborations between Cuban musicians and American composers in over 50 years come alive was an unforgettable experience. Getting to speak face to face with many different Cubans and learn more about their perspective was also an experience that I will never forget." 

Alex Bourne, Senior A&R Representative with PARMA since 2012, experienced Havana, Cuba for the first time in April. Before he landed, Alex knew that the culture was amazing and that the climate was hot: "both rang true" he joked. As soon as he was there, and took in the Cuba surroundings, he said, " I found myself interested in the infrastructure and how someone in Havana/Cuba lives their day to day life."

A huge part of the role of an A&R Representative is not only to create new relationships with composers/artists but also to stay in constant contact with clients on all forms of their recording sessions, a lot which is done over the phone and by email. However, Alex was able to have a hands-on recording experience with his clients while in Cuba. 

Jeffrey Jacob, composer
"It’s very rewarding to work with our artist's face to face and experience everything from time in the studio, to trips into the countryside.  We often focus on the music, which is of course what we’re in Cuba for, but it’s nice to get to know our artists in a different context and learn about their inspiration," Alex said when asked about working with his respected clients. He continued, "Being in the studio together creates an excellent environment to get exactly what our composers have envisioned (either on paper or mentally) into real, audible, tangible recorded music. " 

After being in Cuba for a little more than a week,  Alex said that "One of the most memorable moments of the trip was seeing the Malecon (sea wall) on the edge of Havana.  I was in a van with our composers from our April trip, and seeing how far the Malecon, and Havana, stretched down the coast was unforgettable."

INTERSECTIONS will be released October 14th on Ansonica. 
Pre-Order on iTunes

New PARMA Artist: Giovanni Piacentini

We are excited to announce that guitarist and composer Giovanni Piacentini is joining the PARMA roster! 
Giovanni Piacentini

Giovanni will be releasing his debut album with PARMA Recordings. 

Giovanni has pulled inspiration from the classical Italian painting technique, chiaroscuro, which focuses on the portrayal of light and shadow. In his album, Giovanni explores the full capabilities of the classical guitar to sonically capture chiaroscuro. 

Giovanni has been playing guitar since the age of 9. Growing up, he studied at the Mexico City Conservatory in Mexico, the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, and the Perugia Conservatory in Rome. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music where he studied composition. 

His music has been performed internationally and by prestigious artists and groups such as Tim Fain, Duo Scorpio, sTem Trio, and many others.

Giovanni's album will be released in 2017. In the meantime, you can listen to his music here.

Welcome, Giovanni!