The PARMA Album of the Day: VIOLIN FUTURA

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Piotr Szewczyk‘s Navona Records album VIOLIN FUTURA, released in February of last year, is a collection of commissioned miniatures for solo violin that highlight over thirty international contemporary composers and how they are re-imagining the solo violin. “The purpose of the Violin Futura Project,” says Szewczyk, “is to sample the creative environment of our times by showcasing the wide variety of styles present in the 21st century, and to create a body of a new solo violin repertoire.” Gramophone, the curator of “The Worlds Best Classical Music Reviews,” says that the pieces in Szewczyk’s VIOLIN FUTURA “are so concisely crafted and often compelling–and sometimes really fun–that one can only give in and applaud the scope of the project.”

Find VIOLIN FUTURA on Amazon, iTunes,  ArkivMusic, and Spotify.

Beth Levin Featured in Spotify’s “Classical New Releases” Playlist

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It has been less than a week since Beth Levin released her third solo album with PARMA titled BRIGHT CIRCLE on Navona Records. Since the release, the album, which navigates the romantic masterpieces of Schubert and Brahms, and their very new counterpart –David Del Tredici, has gained a lot of positive exposure including from Classical Music Discoveries and Spotify. 

For the second release month in a row, a PARMA artist has been featured on the Spotify curated playlist “Classical New Releases.” This month, Beth Levin’s performance of Ode To Music, composed by Del Tredici, is on that playlist, which is followed by over 164,000 listeners. 

 

Long-time PARMA artist Beth Levin, a concert pianist based in Brooklyn, New York,  has been praised for her “boldly inflected readings” (Jeremy Eichler, New York Times), “powerful technique” (Allan Kozinn, New York Times), and “purely pianistic panache” (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe). Levin began her career at twelve-years-old when she debuted as a child prodigy with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Throughout her career she has studied under acclaimed pianists Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991), Leonard Shure, and Dorothy Taubman (1917-2013), and appeared as the solo concert pianist with the Boston Pops and Seattle Symphony Orchestra, to name a couple. Additionally, her solo performances and albums have received airplay on networks such as NPR, WGBH, and WQXR.

PERSONAE, Levin’s last solo album before the release of BRIGHT CIRCLE, received a lot of press and praise, including from World Music Report saying, “Beth Levin is a fresh voice whose ingenious pianism and genuine musicality warrants placement in the top tier of classical music.”

This continuing success for Levin comes as no surprise, however, we are still excited to see what’s to come for our long-time artist and friend. In addition to BRIGHT CIRCLE and PERSONAE, you can find Levin on A SINGLE BREATH and CELLO MUSIC FROM HUNGARY. And, to get an ‘inside’ look at Levin, check out “The Inside Story: Beth Levin” published earlier this month.

BRIGHT CIRCLE is available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, ArkivMusic, and online at Classical Music Discoveries. If none of this is enough to persuade you, here’s a promo: 

The PARMA Album of the Day: HONEYLAND

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Aidan Andrew Dun released his debut album HONEYLAND on Ravello Records in October of last year. The album, which features spoken poetry and keyboard accompaniment from his wife Lucie Rejchrtová,  has roots in a number of Western musical and literary practices. The album specifically recalls the writings of James Joyce, and his interest in reciting poems to music suggests the influence of English poet and painter William Blake. Kathodik says it’s “effective, and no doubt largely enjoyable.”

Find the album on Amazon, iTunes,  ArkivMusic, and Spotify.

The PARMA Album of the Day: PERCEPTIONS

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PERCEPTIONS, released on Navona Records, is a compilation album for small ensembles featuring composers Kyle Peter Rotolo, Quinn Dizon, Amelia S. Kaplan, Kevin McCarter, Jason Barabba, and Thomas L. Read. This album presents the listener with music that entrances, enkindles, jars, lingers, connects, and engrosses–perceptions both highly incisive and deeply personal.

Find the album on Amazon, iTunes, Naxos Musc Library, and Spotify.

The PARMA Album of the Day: TEXTURES

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Trumpeter James Zingara expands the performance repertoire of the trumpet with TEXTURES, his debut release on Ravello Records. Hinged on the 21st-century art music style of composition, the works in this collection by Jeffrey D. Boehm, Valentin Mihai Bogdan, William Price, and Carl Vollrath; strengthen the trumpet’s diversity and adaptability in settings with computer-generated sounds, syncopated rhythms, blues forms, and atonal harmonic structures. American Record Guide specifically mentions Sans Titre VII, the opening piece, as “attractive and interesting.”

Find TEXTURES on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic.

The PARMA Album of the Day: ALL THE WAY BACK

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Pianist and composer Vytautas Smetona presents a collection of keyboard repertoire on his debut PARMA album ALL THE WAY BACK, released on Navona Records in April of 2015. The album highlights his enthralling and committed interpretations of some of the great composers’ masterworks as well as an example of his faculty as a cultivated and dynamic composer. In a review of Smetona’s first recital in 30 years, performed in New York back when the album was first released, New York Classical Review said: “The pianist’s playing and thinking were outstanding and utterly satisfying.”

You can find ALL THE WAY BACK on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic.

The PARMA Album of the Day: CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4

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American composer Douglas Anderson presents three of his chamber symphonies on his debut release CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 on Ravello Records. With this album, Anderson aims to envelop the listener in a varied and multifaceted musical environment, all the while exploring the genre using the necessarily limited timbral and harmonic palette of a small ensemble. Sonograma says “[The] lyricism, freshness, [and tonal color of Anderson’s compositions are] elegant, and its sensitivity invites us to intimate moments to think and reflect, protected from winds that whip our tranquility.”

In addition to CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4, Anderson is featured on SPARKS. You can purchase CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 on Amazon and iTunes.

The Inside Story: Beth Mehocic

Beth Mehocic is a composer, poet, visual artist, filmmaker, author and currently the Composer-in-Residence, Music Director, and Full Professor in the Department of Dance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Today Mehocic is our next featured artist for ‘The Inside Story,’ a blog series exploring the personalities and inner-workings of our artists. Read on and get to know one of our debut PARMA artists!

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Photo by Louis Kavouras

Who was your favorite artist(s) growing up?

I owe much of my preference of concert music to my older brother who always played classical music on the radio since I was three years old.  I loved the passion of Beethoven and memorized all nine symphonies.  When I went to college as a music major and was sitting in Music History class, one day the professor, who thought he was being clever and wanted to show the class what they didn’t know, asked if anyone could hum the theme from the Second Movement of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.  Well that was an easy one since I loved it so and I began to hum it and he almost fell off his feet.  He never asked again.  My other favorite composer is Stravinsky and I often try to emulate his philosophies on music.  My all-time favorite one is “musicians have a hard enough time playing what’s on the page, let alone what’s not.”  That kind of sums up his feelings about avant-garde music and to a great extent, mine as well.

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

One of the most embarrassing moments was when I was a senior in High School.  I was a member of a Madrigal group and we were performing at our Spring Concert.   I was a pretty good alto and I was front and center and the microphone was right in front of me.  The auditorium was packed and all of a sudden my nerves got the best of me and I started laughing.  [My laugh became] uncontrollable and then I started snorting!  I should have walked off the stage like any other “normal” person would do, but I was glued there and couldn’t move.  What a night that was.

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If you weren’t a composer/performer, what would you be?

Today, if I was just starting out, I would be a multimedia artist.  I would be in the fine and performing arts in some way.  In addition to being a composer, I am also a visual and video artist as well as a poet and I often work in the genre of video poetry.  If those options weren’t available to me I’d be a brain surgeon.

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

I would spend creative time in the South West, exactly where I am.  I love the colors, the mountains, the wide-open spaces and the climate.  But, I have always had a great desire to compose out in Space like on another planet and see if that environment would affect my work.  I have always been fascinated with the Universe and the possibility of one day exploring it.

Beth Mehocic’s PIECE BY PIECE is now available on Amazon and iTunes.

The PARMA Album of the Day: SEA OF REEDS

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Composer Gerald Cohen released his debut PARMA album SEA OF REEDS in November of 2014. The album, with its dramatic and lyrical compositions, explores the clarinet’s colorful personality with his particular blend of classical, Jewish, and jazz influences. Sequenza21 says, “Most listeners will find something to like here, and more than a few clarinetists will find something they will want to play.”

SEA OF REEDS is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Naxos Music Library.