Thursday, September 26, 2013

Official PARMA Music Festival Website

We have just launched the new official website for the PARMA Music Festival:

This new site is the home of past and future iterations of our non-profit music festival held annually in Portsmouth NH. The site features the full 2013 festival program as well as an extensive photo gallery, press quotes, information for future sponsors, and more.

Planning has already begun for next year's festival so watch this space for more information in early 2014!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September Releases on Navona and Ravello Records

Open Well-Tempered Clavier Beethoven Fest Live-Stream

The Open Goldberg team, in conjuncture with PARMA Recordings, has teamed up to record and release the "Open Well-Tempered Clavier" performed by Kimiko Ishizaka.

Last week, the team at Open Goldberg commenced their Kickstarter campaign to fund the project and have planned a US and European tour in support of the project.  The first concert is happening right now and is available for streaming here:

If you haven't visited the Kickstarter yet or read about the project, visit this link ( and learn more.  Just over 50% has been raised thus far.

Monday, September 23, 2013

NUGGETS! Bob's September Archive Picks

Ah, September in New Hampshire!  The fall is always a time to think back on the sublime beauty of the summer and curse the Lovecraftian winter that awaits.  And for those of you not from New England... go read "The Dunwich Horror," that's basically what's it's like all the time here, minus the fun.

So as we prepare to batten down the hatches and evade fish-people, my thoughts turn to the sounds that will carry me through to the spring (which, in typical Northeast amnesiac fashion, does not even exist in our minds until the first buds appear on the trees, when we suddenly remember that there is some state other than "frickin' cold").

Here are a few of our releases that I plan to revisit this fall, and I suggest you do the same:

PHANTASM / Eric Honour (Ravello Records)
In keeping with the spookiness of the upcoming season, I'm planning on blasting this one on Halloween night to scare the holy hell out of the neighborhood kids.  But for me, listening is sheer pleasure - Honour's deft touch at creating entire sonic worlds out of thin air is on full display here, and his prowess as an instrumentalist is inspirational.  One of the most passionate advocates for new music out there.  

LYRIC IMAGES / Alan Schmitz (Ravello Records)
Alan's excellent album with guitarist Todd Seelye is a re-release from the Capstone Records catalog (Capstone was acquired by PARMA back in '09).  I'm a sucker for guitar music, and Todd brings a great interpretative depth to Alan's work, which is already full of nuance and grace.  New guitar music is often either too oblique and opaque or too saccharine and sweet, but Alan consistently finds a comfortable middle ground while exploring the outer edges.

STANDING ON CHAIRS / Allen Savedoff (Big Round)
iTunes Download
One of my absolute favorite pieces from the PARMA catalog, and one deserving of many spins at all hours of the day.  An incredibly fun record, but don't let the levity fool you - these are serious chops, serious musicians, and real music.  Who else has the guts to arrange "What Is Hip?" for contrabassoon?  This guy deserves a statue.  Featuring Chad Wackerman, Lee Thornburg, Ken Wild, and many more.

MARIKA GROOVE / Mika Yoshida (Big Round) 
Mika Yoshida, Richard Stoltzman, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez in a world premiere by Chick Corea.  And you haven't heard this yet?  Seriously?  This is history-making stuff here, new music by one of the all-time jazz greats featuring a star-studded lineup from all corners of the musical world.  There are artists who have had entire careers without as much interesting material as there is in this one composition.  A must-hear for jazz and classical lovers alike.  

DEMOCRACY / Barry Seroff (Ravello Records)
iTunes Download
This is my kind of music.  Classical, jazz, prog-rock, hardcore punk, avant-garde, you name it and Seroff has rolled it into the musical dough.  Barry's stuff is engaging and direct but challenging even for the most esoteric listeners.  Approach with care and diligence and you'll be rewarded... it took me a couple of pre-5 AM/post-coffee listens to grasp it all, and I'm hooked.  Not for the faint of heart, but if you're reading this then that shouldn't be an issue.

There's a lot of great music out there and in future blogs I'll highlight some stuff from outside the PARMA catalog that I hope you'll enjoy.  But in the meantime, dig these releases, bid the summer goodbye, and whatever you do, please do not mate with anything aquatic.

Bob Lord
CEO, PARMA Recordings

Friday, September 20, 2013

Kickstarter Campaign - Open Well-Tempered Clavier

German-Japanese pianist Kimiko Ishizaka is working with PARMA to release the Well-Tempered Clavier Book I on Navona Records next year and needs your help.

Ishizaka and her team (the minds behind the Open Goldberg Variations ( have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier at the Teldex Studio in Berlin and it subsequent release with PARMA Recordings.

Kimiko Ishizaka
What makes this project special? The team at Open Goldberg's goal is to put this high-quality rendition of the Well-Tempered Clavier into the public domain.  In accordance with Musescore (, you will be able to follow along with each of the 48 pieces in real-time, literally watching the score move with the music.  The recording will be true to Bach's original compositions.

To promote these efforts, Kimiko is going on a 12 date European and US tour with each concert being live streamed via Google Hangouts.  Notable stops on the tour include the Bösendorfer Factory in Austria, the Prague Music Conservatory, and Pianoforte Foundation in Chicago IL.

Visit the Kickstarter page at to learn more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kickstarter Campaign - Carol Barnett


Minneapolis-based composer and PARMA Recordings artist Carol Barnett is currently fundraising on Kickstarter for an exciting new project based around her commissioned choral works for the Dale Warland Singers

If funded, PARMA Recordings will release a full album of works written by Carol during her tenure as composer-in-residence for this landmark choral group. PARMA is pledging our full support of her project with intent to master, design, distribute, and market these recordings. Please help us in spreading the word about the campaign and supporting the project if you can.

Visit Carol's official Kickstarter page below to learn more:

Carol Barnett's works "Song of Perfect Propriety" and "Winter, Snow" can be heard on Navona Record's acclaimed VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR.

Listen to an interview with PARMA CEO Bob Lord about VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR on Minnesota Public Radio here:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Festival Overview
Day 3: Saturday, August 17th

Exactly one month ago, the inaugural PARMA Music Festival wrapped up in Portsmouth NH. It was a sunny and serene summer day that transitioned into a clear night.

The day began with the SCI Paper Sessions at The Portsmouth Music Hall Loft.

This showcase featured live paper presentations by SCI Composers listed below:

Recursive Structure in PROLOGUE by Grisey written by Brian Penkrot
Long Time, Waiting to Hear the Sound written by Scott Robbins
Disruption and Development: Pitch Processes in the Music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich written by Jessica Rudman
Considering the Improvisational Relationship in Modern Classical Music: Improvisational Invitations in the works of Glass, Golijov, and Kim written by Elliot Sneider
Listening origins, habits, and habitus written by Mark Zanter
I Don't Want to Write Old Man's Music: Postmodern Treatments of American Popular Culture in Recent Works of Mark-Anthony Turnage written by Kevin Zhang

The Music Hall Loft was the perfect venue for the days events - PARMA Licensing took the stage next and discussed Licensing and the Music Industry.

This event consisted of a panel discussion by Director of PARMA Licensing Jacob Weinreb and the PARMA Licensing Team moderated by Ovidiu Marinescu. The team talked about a variety of hot topics in today's licensing and publishing industries as well as the ins and outs of PARMA's Licensing Program.

The event segued into the PARMA Licensing Showcase. The showcase featured music that has been placed in films, advertising, television, and on the internet by PARMA. Performers included Scott Pender, Xenia Dunford, The Dejas, Sarah Blacker, Dave Hunter, Dan Blakeslee and Will Dailey.

Will Dailey and Dan Blakeslee at the Music Hall Loft
Will Dailey

Later that day, SCI Concert 5 (Tonal Recall) was held at the Loft. It featured electroacoustic music from SCI and PARMA Composers, listed below:

Computerondo - John Akins
Ujo Imu III - Young-Shin Choi
Poetic Soundscapes - Ken Davies
Automatic Prelude No. 2 - Nathan Davis
Music From Wind Devil & Co. - Sergio Cervetti
S.R.B.C.P. - Gil Dori
Schizocosa - Garret Hope
Audible Desserts - Joshua Tomlinson

Looking fondly back to the day, the festival concluded with the main event at the Portsmouth Music Hall Historic Theater. This amazing event featured classical, jazz and modern music with premieres from Lukas Foss, 2013 Student Composer Competition Winner Tina Tallon, Martin Schlumpf and more. A complete program can be viewed below:

Will Dailey on guitar
Ovidiu Marinescu on cello
Ceremonial Fanfare - Arthur Gottschalk performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra Brass and Percussion; John Page, conductor
Works for jazz ensemble performed by Portsmouth Music and Arts Center Jazz Ensemble: Taylor O’Donnell, vocals; Matt Langley, Eric Klaxton, saxes; Chris Klaxton, trumpet; Jim Dozet, guitar; Nate Therrien, bass; Mike Walsh, drums
selective defrosting - Tina Tallon performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra String Quartet: Zoia Bologovsky, violin; Amy Ripka, violin; Justin Ouellet, viola; Dorothy Braker, cello
Streams - Martin Schlumpf performed by PARMA Orchestra; John Page, conductor; Matthias Müller, clarinet; David Taylor, bass trombone
Harp Concerto - Alberto Ginastera performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra; John Page, conductor; Anna DeLoi, harp
Elegy for Clarinet and Orchestra - Lukas Foss performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra; John Page, conductor; Richard Stoltzman, clarinet
Danzón No. 2 - Arturo Márquez performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra; John Page, conductor

Ovidiu Marinescu
Matthias Müller and the PARMA Orchestra - John Page, Conductor
Matthias Müller, Martin Schlumpf, David Taylor
Anna DeLoi
Richard Stoltzman

Conductor John Page

Thank you to everyone who was a part of the festival.  It was an unforgettable experience and we will see you next year!

Field Report: PARMA Recordings Sessions

This summer was a busy and fun one for PARMA's production teams, even more so than normal for us. I was in Russia and the Czech Republic for 4 weeks early in the summer working on orchestral projects, and simultaneously our domestic team was working here in New England recording chamber music... all while planning out the Festival, working on new products, keeping the release schedule in alignment, generating new placements in media, and all the rest. Variety is indeed the spice of life!  

And I don't mean spice like "Dune" spice, that's a different spice, that spice makes your eyes blue, and all the Fremen women like blue eyes, so they make you their leader, and then you generate rain storms on a dry planet while your really freaking weird sister talks about how you ARE the Kwisatz Haderach. Different spice. But I digress.

I just returned from another set of orchestral sessions overseas this past weekend and had a moment to sit down with our Artist Coordinator Derek Thibault to talk about what's been happening at our domestic sessions here in New England while I've been away. 

One of our recent sessions was to record Scott Pender's string trio "Veil of Ignorance," which was performed at the PARMA Music Festival in August to great acclaim. A couple days after the performance we were in the studio with Scott and members of the New England String Quartet to record the piece while it was fresh in their minds and hands from playing it.

Derek told me he had a revelation at the session: "It's OK to write tonal music! Scott’s piece instilled an incredible amount of raw energy and emotion in us that day, and confirmed that there was still much to say in the world of key signatures," he said. "The vision the New England String Trio brought to the piece pushed it to new heights, especially with its delicate but steadfast nature."

A similar experience was had recording Michael Murray's "Three Donne Songs" with members of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, which, like Scott's piece, was performed at the Festival in advance of recording.  

"Hearing William Blake and John Donne come to life on a hot summer in Boston was a positively unique experience for me. Ann Moss didn’t tire or skip a beat as she sung her way through the day-long session, and the music seemed to give impressions of the poets themselves, questioning and reassuring all at once," Derek told me. "Having the chance to talk vocal-composition techniques with Mike was a highlight, as well hearing 'The Little Vagabond' for the second time since the festival – a personal favorite!"

Also on Derek's plate was the recording of a new organ piece by our composer and friend David Stewart.  

"As the Dover Church’s organ approaches it’s twentieth anniversary in November, we decided to celebrate a little early by recording the organ works of David Stewart. New music, contrived on a relatively new organ, is a superb phenomenon, and I feel lucky to have caught a glimpse, especially with organist Libor Dudas giving a master performance."

We'll have news about release plans for all these works soon, but in the meantime... stay off the spice. You too Derek.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

COMING SOON: Apollo Chamber Players - European Folkscapes

Video: Apollo Chamber Players 2013-2014 Season Preview

PARMA Recordings is pleased to announce a new project in collaboration with the Houston-based Apollo Chamber Players. PARMA’s imprint label Navona Records will be releasing Apollo’s debut album EUROPEAN FOLKSCAPES in early 2014.

This album is an exploration of the traditional folk melodies of Europe and will engage listeners with arrangements of music rooted in the cultures of the Basque, Slavik, Balkan, and other regions. In addition to arrangements of these traditional works for string quartet, the album will also feature a newly commissioned work by composer Karim Al-Zand (Professor of Music, Shepherd School of Music at Rice University) titled “Fantasy on Bulgarian Rhythms.”

Leading up to the album’s release and as a highlight of the group's 2013-2014 season, the Apollo Chamber Players will be touring the East Coast in support of their new project. This tour will include the group’s Carnegie Hall debut in New York City on October 11, 2013.

An exclusive EP with selections from the new album will be sold at these shows, so be sure not to miss out!

October 11th, 2013; 8:00pm: Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) New York City, NY. [tickets]

October 12th, 2013; 7:00pm: Starlight Concert Series at Lancaster Church of the Brethren. Lancaster, PA. 

October 13th, 2013; 7:00pm: Abendmusik Concert Series at First Presbyterian Church. York, PA. 

October 14th, 2013: Educational Program, Dallastown Area High School. Dallastown, PA

Apollo Chamber Players -
Navona Records –

Monday, September 9, 2013

Festival Overview
Day 2: Friday, August 16th

Festival Day 2 begin with SCI Concert 3 (Hometown Heroes) at St. John’s Church.

This showcase featured chamber players from Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra in addition to visiting performers, listed below:

Musique du Bois Woodwind Quintet
Whispers -  Jess Hendricks, Exotic Animals Suite - Mark Dal Porto, General Grant’s Whiskey Dance - Andy Francis all performed by the Musique du Bois Woodwind Quintet: Ellen Rondina, flute; Richard Young, clarinet, Jon Tefft, oboe; Rick Shepard, bassoon; Susan Williams, horn.
The Caged Bird - Andrew Bonacci performed by John Ferraro, clarinet
Quodlibet - Liviu Marinescu performed by Ovidiu Marinescu, cello
Sonatina - Mark Francis performed by Paul Dykstra, piano; Sarah Krebs, oboe
St. Teresa in Ecstasy - Jessica Rudman performed by Mike Lunoe, gyile
Lady Glides on the Moon - Matthew Saunders performed by Deanna Brizgys, clarinet; Maria Finkelmeier, Percussion
Songs of Evocation - Brian Bevelander performed by Brian Bevelander, piano; Dr. René Claire, voice
PBBP Blues - Kari Juusela performed by Kari Juusela, cello; Joe Mulholland, piano
Tali or Toli? - Mel Fitzhugh performed by Catherine E. Reuben, soprano; Frank E. Jones, bass; Zachary Stadmueller, organ

SCI Concert 4 (North By Northeast) featured the Boston New Music Initiative (BNMI) and clarinetist Yhasmin Valenzuela. The full program is listed below:

SUKHI! - Brian Fennelly performed by Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano;
Real Fiction - Joel Love performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano; Dane Palmer, percussion
Words of Love and Despair - Timothy Davis performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Leah Kosch, piano
Sweet Betsy - Richard Brooks performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano
Lake Effect - Timothy Kramer performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano; Dane Palmer, percussion
Fireheart - Matthew Fields performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano; Dane Palmer, marimba/vibraphone
Convection - Julius Bucsis performed by Richard Palacio, violin
At Midnight - Mark Dal Porto performed by Mark Dal Porto, piano; Ashley Wade, soprano; Tracy Carr
Nocturne - Kirsten Volness performed by Kirsten Volness, piano
First Praise - Jessica Rudman performed by Deirdre Viau, flute/alto flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano
L'Image Recontinuee - Mei-Fang Lin performed by Deirdre Viau, flute; Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello; Leah Kosch, piano
…and see it vanish - Chin Ting Chan performed by Yhasmin Valenzuela, clarinet/bass clarinet; Lilit Hartunian, violin; Christopher Homick, cello

Mike Lunoe

Later that day was the PARMA Artist's Concert (Game of Tones) featuring artists and composers from PARMA Recordings’ partner record labels, listed below:

Three Donne Songs - Michael Murray performed by Ann Moss, soprano; John Ferraro, clarinet, Zoia Bologovsky, violin; Amy Ripka, violin; Justin Ouellet, viola; Dorothy Braker, cello
Five Blake Songs - Michael Murray performed by Ann Moss, soprano; John Ferraro, clarinet, Zoia Bologovsky, violin; Amy Ripka, violin; Justin Ouellet, viola; Dorothy Braker, cello
Recital Routine/Parting Phrases… - John Macdonald performed by Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra String Quartet Zoia Bologovsky, violin; Amy Ripka, violin; Justin Ouellet, viola; Dorothy Braker, cello
Winter - Rachel Lee Guthrie - Ron Nagorcka performed by Karolina Rojahn, piano
Anything - Ron Nagorcka performed by Karolina Rojahn, piano
Homeward Bound, In My Life, Three Irish Folksongs, New Old American Songs - Larksong Trio performed by Larksong Trio, Peggo Horsmann-Hodes, soprano; Calvin Herst, piano; Jennifer Yeaton-Parris, flute
Veil of Ignorance - Scott Pender performed by New England String Trio Julia Okrusko, violin; Lilit Muradyan, viola; Ming-Hui Lin, cello
Piano Sonata - Alan Beeler performed by Karolina Rojahn, piano
December Rains - Martin Schlumpf performed by Karolina Rojahn, piano
Azure Bonnet - Curtis Smith performed by Eric von Oeyen Quartet
Canonic Sonata - Ralph Hayes performed by Chris O’Neill Trio
Captain Hook, To Meg - Patricia Julien performed by Chris O’Neill Trio

Ann Moss (Soprano), Zoia Bologovsky (Violin), Amy Ripka (Violin), Justin Ouellet (Viola), Dorothy Braker (Cello)
New England String Trio Performing Scott Pender's Veil of Ignorance

Day 2 wound down with the Shindig! after-party at Martingale Wharf. This event was a chance for artists and attendees to spend time together while enjoying live music spanning classical, soul and rock. Performers included Gregory Hall, Paul Dykstra and Qwill, with a special appearance from The Wheel of Awesome, a interactive performance group.

Paul Dykstra