The PARMA Album of the Day: ICE & FIRE

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ICE & FIRE, the debut Navona Records album by Stephen Scott released in 2013, showcases a variety of works for bowed piano. The album features The Bowed Piano Ensemble, an experimental piano group based at Colorado College in Colorado Springs that was founded by Scott. The album, which consistently grows in online streaming, was hand-picked by Spotify for their Minimalism playlist.

ICE & FIRE can be found on Amazon, iTune, Naxos Music Library, and also in the first ever Navona Records bundle WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THAT PIANO?

The Inside Story: Bruce Crossman

Australian composer Bruce Crossman, who self-identifies his music as being heavily influenced by Christian, Eastern, and naturalistic spirituality, is today’s next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what his dream job would be.

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Photo Credit: Tod Clarke

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love going to Japan, especially Tokyo. In some ways, it is a very subtle and laid back culture and yet in others, it is full on vibrancy, of life coming straight at you. I am thinking here of trying to cross Shibuya crossing with my wife—it was like trying to cross a raging torrent, I just held onto my wife and went for a swirling swim to the other side! That type of vibrancy—ranging from Cosplay to grey-suited businessmen to teenagers in designer tats, was exhilarating. Tokyo is made up of these discreet boroughs arranged along the ancient property lines of the city; so even though it is large, you always feel like you are spiraling into a discreet Oku moment of discovery, where the sheer quality and imagination of what you discover is exhilarating. This year, the comedic qualities of Kabuki—pretty obviously a complex love triangle with modern parallels—was subtly rich with its amazing body expression and exhilaratingly economical musical gestures. Like the city, each musical and theatrical gesture was placed in an exact moment of being in relation to the whole. This subtle richness and moments of discovery make me want to create.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?

I could not do without my wife, my Christian faith, or a piano where I can improvise and express what I feel. Obviously, my wife is good at killing zombies, very beautiful and makes me much wiser than I actually am. I think without my soul mate to reflect on life with, I would feel lost. My Christian faith is a constant anchor for my life, which renews my spirit and mind, fills me with hope for the future, and causes me to think of others and the rich possibilities that life has here and for the future. I think if I did not create through improvisation and notation through my piano, I would feel bottled up and shut down; I need my piano to able to express and process the flow of life and its rich possibilities.

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

I love the job I have at present working at Western Sydney University in Australia, which affords me time to create, mentor composers and musicians, and is very trusting of me to organize creative projects involving musicians, poets, visual artists, and filmmakers. I think it is a great privilege to be able to pass on the rich creative experiences I have had throughout the Asia-Pacific to a new generation of creatives as well as to have time to compose music and travel to China, Korea, and Japan.

NV6095-LIVINGCOLOURS- Front CoverWhat does this album mean to you personally?

In many ways as a younger composer struggling to recognize and develop my own creative voice, there was a long journeyed process encouraged by many generous people within the Asia-Pacific, including Cambodian-born American composer Chinary Ung and Australian composer Ross Edwards. It became very important to me to not try and be someone else but just to simply be myself in my music, and to express the many riches around me—especially from Asia. This album, Living Colours, is important to me because it represents that journey of internal resonance with the places, peoples and spirit of the Asia-Pacific from the dynamism of the discovery of European heritage interacting with my Asian-Pacific locale from emergent colours through into wriggling, living colors and spirit born of the sonorous and visually rich places of the Asia-Pacific.

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

Yes—I would like listeners to feel the wriggling, living colour changes across rich percussive, intervallic and instrumental combinations across the music and senses the expression of the sonorous cultures of China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines and its connection with spirit and visual gestures of calligraphy and abstract art. I hope the meditative moments and vigorous interactions of improvisatory inspired sounds create life in the listener to uplift them and cause the eyes of their heart to consider the spiritual dimensions of life.

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

Yes—at about two-thirds of the way through Gentleness-Suddenness, there is a rich moment where the sonorous chordal conglomerations layered with Filipino gong-chimes, Japanese temple bell, and crotales resonances with soaring violin and whispered intimacy of the mezzo-soprano in Chinese Kunqu’s “Zhe yi shatian” (this brief moment) and Judeo-Christian Revelation’s “The Angel showed me the river” is beautifully performed and creates a still moment of reflection within the driving whole.

Bruce Crossman’s Navona Records release LIVING COLOURS is no available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, ArkivMusic and is streaming on Spotify

The Inside Story: Betty Wishart

Composer and pianist Betty Wishart, who has been noted by FanFare Magazine as “possessed of a distinctive and worthwhile compositional voice,” is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see her “must have’s” in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Wishart speaking at Bosendofer Hall

What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

I went to a performance without a chance to try out the piano.  Since the first piece was slow, it gave me time to acclimate to the instrument.  One important note:  this was a beautiful rented Steinway.

When if dove into the fortissimo section of the second piece, the piano began moving!  What to do?

I leaned further at the first opportunity, and pulled the piano back towards me!  After the concert, they discovered that the rollers weren’t locked!!

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?

There is no question that the number one priority is a grand piano.  I don’t even want to envision a life without one.  It’s the outlet for my emotions and where I begin composing.

The second must-have would be a computer.  If manuscript paper and a continuous supply of sharpened pencils could count as one, that would work fine also.

Everyone who knows me knows my third “must-have” is coffee.  However, it’s an even toss-up between coffee and Cheeze-its!

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

We’re dreaming, right?!  I would love to be a freelance composer in Manhattan.  Being among the arts community there always inspires me.  When I get a break from teaching, I go there to get refreshed and energized.   Of course, the job would need to support a two-bedroom apartment around 71st Street near Central Park West!

NV6094 - Passage - Front CoverWhat would you say to an artist performing your work that nobody else knows?

Sections of the horn part are devilish.  If necessary another instrument can double the high notes.

What does this album mean to you personally?

After hearing “Journey”, I hope people realize that I write music for all instruments, not only piano.*3

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

The ominous opening leads to a sense of foreboding. Visualize the music as background to a film.

Although the music was inspired by the threat of a terrorist attack, the piece is about facing the fear of the unknown.

The Navona Records compilation album PASSAGE: Contemporary Works for Orchestra is now available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic, and is streaming on Spotify

The Inside Story: Craig Madden Morris

Long-time PARMA artist is back again with the compilation album release of PASSAGE. Today the veteran composer is our next featured artist for “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what he wants his listeners to tune into…

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Who was your favorite artist growing up?

My favorite artist growing up was Jascha Heifetz. His playing was so electric that I was transfixed by his recordings. I bought all the records of the violin concertos that I could find that he recorded and played them over and over. As a child learning violin, it was magical to listen to Heifetz, even though his expertise was way beyond my talents.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a composer?

I am not quite sure when the thought dawned on me, but I started writing music when I was eleven years old, writing a little solo piece for my violin. After that, the idea took hold and, during my adolescence, I began to write more and more, with the encouragement of my first composition teacher and my parents.  It became a wonderful way of discovering new sounds and ideas and trying to make them into music.  What was most special was my teacher, Shirley Bloom, who listened carefully, playing and reviewing the music together with me, and teaching me in such an insightful, exciting way without ever subverting my musical sense of what I felt or composed.

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

I am a child psychiatrist, which remains a highly rewarding profession to me, helping children and families, which has always been tremendously satisfying. I cannot imagine a profession that could have been more meaningful.

What would you say to an artist performing your work that nobody else knows?

What I have always said on those occasions has been to tell the artist to make the music part of themselves and not worry about my feelings or exact directions.  When the artist is too intent in performing exactly what he/she felt that I wanted, the music becomes static and loses life.  The piece has to be a collaboration of music and talent of both the composer and performer. I have learned a lot about my music listening to performers play it. Their interpretations bring it to life in new ways that can often surprise me.

What does this album mean to you personally?

This music suite is a very personal statement of my feelings towards our four wonderful grandchildren and the joy they continually add to the lives of my wife Nancy and myself. They are a constant source of love and enjoyment, and this is my ode to them.  They light up our lives.

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

I wanted to convey the intensely sweet, innocent feelings that children have an awakening to their parents’ smiles in the morning, freely playing without fear or being constricted during the day, and then sweetly drifting off to sleep at night, full of happy memories.

The compilation album PASSAGE, featuring works by Sergio Cervetti, Craig Madden Morris, Betty Wishart, and Daniel Crozier was released on Navona Records and is available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic

May 2017 New Releases on Navona and Big Round Records!

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After yet another exciting release in April with Spotify features, amazing reviews pooling in, and multiple albums hitting more than 10K streams, we’re more than excited to bring you another round of releases. Today we not only have staple composers and artists, we also have two new PARMA artists, and the first ever bundle release that pulls on those nostalgic strings. Take a look…

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OFF THE EDGE  |  Alicia Terzian

An incredible journey into the heart of the string orchestra.  Alicia Terzian’s writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts made available by the disparate forces of both string orchestra when alone and when complemented by other instrumental timbres.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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BLISS POINT  |  Piotr Szewczyk, Bold City Contemporary Ensemble

Polish-born violinist and composer Piotr Szewczyk mines the depths of his musical flavor palette, drawing the album title from a concept of extreme flavor saturation found primarily in food sciences and subsequently in this varied and challenging collection of chamber music.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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PASSAGE |  Sergio Cervetti,  Craig Madden Morris,  Betty R. Wishart,  Daniel Crozier

An orchestral compilation featuring works by Sergio Cervetti, Daniel Crozier, Craig Morris, and Betty Wishart.  Though “passage” is a word of numerous meanings, all meanings, as illustrated in this collection, point back to a singular idea – the transition between two disparate entities.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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LIVING COLOURS  |  Bruce Crossman

A potent representation of Australian composer Bruce Crossman’s music, inspired by his strong spirituality and eclectic, multicultural interests. Crossman evokes a “resonance of space” within his music, arising from a “deep-felt emotion and sensibility linking heaven and earth.”

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  Spotify  | YouTube


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SPELLS  |  Juli Nunlist

A new retrospective collection highlighting the music of poet and composer Juli Nunlist marks a touching journey through the earnest, romantic, and dramatic sounds of the late artist’s compositional language.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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CHIAROSCURO  |  Giovanni Piacentini

Classical guitarist and composer Giovanni Piacentini displays his dazzling talents as both composer and performer with a collection of chamber and solo works steeped in resonant, plucked string sound worlds.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMuisc  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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HORIZON SUNSET  |  #Bloomerangs

The debut record from international music collective #Bloomerangs, performing works by composer, arranger, producer, and guitarist Rodrigo Cotelo.  The album features a diverse array of sounds and instruments, often with several guest artists playing with the core performers of #Bloomerangs.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Spotify  |  YouTube


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WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THAT PIANO?

Featured Albums

JOHN CAGE, ICE & FIRE, 16-2-60-N-5, FELT, AN EVOLVING CYCLE

An unusual compilation of five previously released albums featuring prepared pianos and pianos being played in unexpected ways.  Throughout this collection, the piano undergoes one metamorphosis after another, leaving the listener to interpret the diverse and transfixing sounds of which it is capable.

Amazon

The PARMA Album of the Day: PIANO CONCERTO

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American Prize-winning composer Lee Actor‘s most recent release on Navona Records PIANO CONCERTO, presents three orchestral works, performed by conductor Kirk Trevor and the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, that are engaging and tonal yet dramatic and modern. Kathodik says, “Lee Actor, born in 1952, was torn between career electronic and that of musician engineer, before turning solely to the latter and, apparently, with remarkable results.” 

Find the album on Amazon, iTunes, and Naxos Music Library.

The Inside Story: Giovanni Piacentini

Guitarist and composer Giovanni Piacentini is debuting his first album of solo compositions, CHIAROSCURO, on Navona Records. Piacentini, a summa cum laude graduate of Berklee, is today’s next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what Piacentini can’t live without in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

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Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?

Such a difficult question! I remember my grandmother had a Laserdisc (remember those things?) of Andres Segovia playing at the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I must have watched it a million times and I went on to learn almost every piece on that album. She also had one of Vladimir Horowitz live in St Petersburg playing Mozart that I absolutely loved. Then there were the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa (Tinseltown rebellion in particular).

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/creator?

The closest memory of a “decision” to devote myself to music was the night before I had to start pre-med school. My father was a doctor and I loved psychology so I thought it would be a logical profession for me. That night I had an epiphany and couldn’t bear the thought of having to give up the guitar or making music and decided to not study medicine.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?   

A toothbrush (and toothpaste), a good book, and my guitar (obviously).

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Was there a piece on the album that you found more difficult to compose than the others?

“Miniatures” without a doubt. The unusual orchestration had all kinds of balance challenges that I had to overcome (and hopefully did!). Rhythmically, it is the most complex and ambiguous as well.

What does this album mean to you personally?

It means a brief pause on my musical journey to look at the landscape and decide what works and what doesn’t. It is a huge stepping stone in terms of finding my own voice and learning my strengths and weaknesses as an artist. It is my attempt at getting my name out there and setting the bar high for myself.

Is there a specific feeling you want your listeners to tune into while hearing your work?

No. It’s the “tuning into” that I’m most interested in. The feeling that results from that are a mixture of genetics, personal history, and current circumstance and so it is impossible to control. I never think of that while creating.

Giovanni Piancentini’s CHIAROSCURO is released on Navona Records, Friday, May 12th. The album is available for pre-order on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic

The Inside Story: Alicia Terzian

Argentinian composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian is the next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what Terzian’s guilty pleasure is…

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When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/ composer/creator?

All my life was bound to music, arts, culture, philosophy and I it was never in my mind to be an artist or a composer.

I simply started studying composition with Alberto Ginastera at 19. Composing was something natural to me. So natural that one day at my 20s I told Ginastera that I wanted to write a concert for violin and orchestra. My Maestro looked at me with concern and told me “try to do it… but it must be a very original work because many concerts were written till now”… I didn’t it and so my life as a composer started…naturally. My Violin Concerto of my 20s was played more than 40 times in the whole world and I have many CDs recorded.

What is your guilty pleasure?

To eat chocolate while reading Agatha Christie…

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

I love cooking and I do it very well… specially Armenian cuisine for my 3 grandsons!!!

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What would you say to an artist performing your work that nobody else knows?

I would say to him to play my music with his heart, to be faithful to every note on the score because I know what I write and why because I perfectly know how my works sound even when they are not performed….

What does this album mean to you personally?

This album is very important to me because I am confirming to the world that Carmen Criaturalis written in 1970 is a spectral work and they have not recognized it… because I am a woman… Canto a mí misma written 32 years ago is the first work in which the sound of an orchestra is transformed in real time, and the audience is moved by the sounds that come from all around the concert hall.

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

To those who listen to  Off the edge…. will know that I am a composer that is living on the edge without falling down… that my music reaches their hearts and speaks to them directly through the senses.

Alicia Terzian’s OFF THE EDGE is released on Navona Records Friday, May 12th, and is available for pre-order purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic

The PARMA Album of the Day: JUST MUSIC

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On his debut release on Ravello Records, JUST MUSIC: MUSIC FOR PIANO IN FIVE LIMIT JUST INTONATION, Croatian composer Zoran Šćekić presents an open series of compositions aiming to explore the harmony of a non-tempered microtonal system based on integer harmonics, or just intonation. Muzika.Hr says the album is “In other words, ”Just download” approaches the piano as we have not yet heard, highlighting the beauty of his tone on the delicate and wonderful way.”

Find JUST MUSIC on Amazon and iTunes.

The PARMA Album of the Day: BLURRED BOUNDARIES

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BLURRED BOUNDARIES, Apollo Chamber Player‘s second album release on Navona Records, kicks off their 20×2020 project. The project was inspired by the idea of performing 20 new commissioned classical folk works by the end of the decade. The album, which features the first three works of the 20 new commissions, are pieces by Libby Larsen, Marty Regan, and Erberk Eryılmaz. These composers explore culturally-specific musical traditions and present folk material in ways that are engaging, unique, and revelatory. Planet Hugill says the album has “an attractive selection of folk-influences music.”

Find BLURRED BOUNDARIES on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic.