PARMA artists have been covering all corners of the globe lately. From tours in China to recording sessions with top ensembles in Croatia and the Czech Republic, PARMA is excited to support our artists as they develop a global presence. Recently, composer Rain Worthington took us down south to Limeira Brazil, where she joined other members of the New York Women Composers for the V Encontro Internacional de Cordas music festival.
At the festival, Rain’s piece In Passages was performed by violinist Sylvia Ahramjian who is a member of Trio Casals, the ensemble for PARMA’s compilation series MOTO. In Passages was recorded by the Croatian Chamber Orchestra and accomplished maestro Miran Vaupotić, and will be featured on an upcoming compilation album with Navona Records.
Recently, we had the chance to catch up with Rain and ask some questions about her experiences in Brazil. Read on to hear her takeaways from the festival and the experience of sharing in the culture of one of the world’s most cordial nations…
What was it like having your works performed in Brazil, and how did this differ from other performance locations?
The 5th annual week-long classical string music festival “Encontro Internacional de Cordas” took place in Limeira Brazil, a small, industrial city two hours northwest of Sao Paulo. Violinist Rafael Torralvo, who is beginning his doctoral studies in musicology at Cornell, founded the festival.
The appreciation the master musicians, students, and festival staff have toward classical and contemporary music is impressive. Audiences flocked to the concerts that were held in various locations, including a 19th-century Baroque church and the city’s concert hall.
The warmth and dedication of the young musicians as well as the comradery between the professional staff made this a truly wonderful experience. Brazil’s reputation for being one of the most courteous and cordial countries is well deserved.
This year the festival received a Seed Money Grant from the New York Women Composers. Several of the concerts featured a mix of contemporary and traditional repertoire. Many of the musicians were performing works written by women composers for the first time. It was inspiring to feel the excitement, and significance, that this global connection held for the festival participants and audiences in Brazil.
What was the most unique or unexpected experience that happened on the trip?
Prior to the trip, I began studying Portuguese and, since many of the musicians and students spoke some English, communication was relatively easy and always warm.
At the finale concert, I addressed the audience in Portuguese and conveyed to them how happy I was to be at the festival, and I thanked them for attending. It was a gesture that was genuinely appreciated by all.
You have had the opportunity to have your works both recorded and performed internationally. How have these experiences influenced your style, attitudes towards music and composition, or any other element of your identity as a musician?
Since I love writing for orchestra, documenting my orchestral works is a priority of mine. I have been recording with PARMA for almost a decade now.
The recordings, promotion, and distribution of my music through PARMA’s releases have been career changers for me. It has opened up my music to musicians and audiences around the world. And, at every phase, PARMA has handled my music with professionalism, openness, and respect.
These opportunities to record have proved creative catalysts for my orchestral writing. PARMA’s respect for, and appreciation of, my music has been a significant personal validation for me as a composer. They actively encourage composer involvement at every stage of the recording process – from recording sessions and audio engineering to post-production, these recordings have served as invaluable learning experiences.
In Passages was performed by Sylvia Ahramjian, member of Trio Casals and PARMA’s ensemble for the MOTO series. How has meeting and working with other PARMA artists enriched your career as a composer?
Previously, Sylvia Ahramjian had performed several of my works for solo violin at the Encontro Internacional de Cordas festival, and was the one who introduced me to the festival director, Rafael Torralvo. For several years, she has taught master classes and has a following of students who adore her. So, I was thrilled to learn that she would be the violin soloist for the performance of In Passages.