Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kickstarter: Peter Vukmirovic Stevens' "Feral Icons" for solo viola

Peter Vukmirovic Stevens
PARMA composer Peter V. Stevens has completed his newest project, a suite for solo viola called "Feral Icons," featuring Mara Gearman from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. "Feral Icons" thematically acts as a follow up to his 2013 project, AUGUST RUINS, on our Navona Records label.  "Feral Icons" highlights Stevens' signature mature and introspective writing on this new suite.

Peter is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign in support of production costs and is down to a few days remaining.  Be sure to check out his campaign page, watch his video for "Feral Icons," and support this project if interested.

From the "Feral Icons" Kickstarter page: 

"Feral Icons for solo viola is a suite of six new works, performed by the superlative violisMara Gearman from Seattle Symphony, composed by Peter Vukmirovic Stevens.

These modern works composed between 2013 - 2014 are written with an extensive use of the viola’s deep and lyrical tone creating a wide-ranging musical atmosphere that is stirring, dramatic and original, totaling over 40 minutes of music. 
Three of the six works have been recorded at Jack Straw Productions here in Seattle. The remaining works to be recorded, along with the final album production, are scheduled to be completed by November of this year."

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra

Today we're shining the spotlight on the seacoast's own Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. With over 65 performers, from local professionals to educators to dedicated amateurs and advanced students, it's truly fantastic to have this skilled ensemble entertaining, educating, and encouraging audiences in our own back yard.

The Orchestra presents four main concerts each season at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, along with numerous chamber music and school concerts throughout the year. In November 2012 the orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall with Jane Seymour in the premiere of a new production by composer Tim Janis, and the orchestra accompanied Grammy award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in the premiere of a work by Lukas Foss at the inaugural PARMA Music Festival in 2013.

Here's a great video of the PSO with the winner of their 2014 Young Artist Concerto Competition, Stacie Lin, performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto:

You can see and hear the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra with Stacie Lin at the  PARMA Music Festival’s main event on Saturday,August 16th. This concert will also feature performances by Romanian cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Boston-based singer-songwriter Sarah Borrello, the Redline Brass Quintet, Chris Klaxton & State Line Big Band, oudist Mac Ritchey, and clarinetist Matthias Muller. Tickets for this concert are $20; they're on sale now and can be purchased at The Music Hall Box Office at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, NH, by phone at (603) 436-2400 or online at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Composer Spotlight: Paul Osterfield

Today's featured composer is Dr. Paul Osterfield, a native of Nashville, Tennessee whose "dramatic and impressive work" has earned performances and praise throughout the United States and abroad.

Paul's music has been hailed by Audiophile Audition as "very colorful and sensual." His talents as a composer have earned him awards from BMI, ASCAP, and the National Federation of Music Clubs, as well as a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony and grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Also a devoted educator, Paul currently serves as Professor of Music at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches courses in music theory and composition. Recent works of his include "The Subconscious Imagery of Joan Miro" and a new piece for piano and tuba, which will be receiving their world premiere performances in August and October, respectively.

Paul's second full album of chamber works, SOUND AND FURY, will be available on Navona Records this November. To tide you over until then, check out Paul's orchestral writing on FIRE AND TIME ("Monadnock") and SPELLBOUND ("Opaque Shadows") via the Spotify players below.

You can hear Paul's music in action at the PARMA Artists Concert at the North Church of Portsmouth at 10 AM on Wednesday, August 13, where his piece "Zyzzyva Escapades" for violin and cello will be performed. We'll see you there.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Studio Update II: Eight Strings & a Whistle

Peter Jona Korn
Earlier this month, Eight Strings & a Whistle went back into the studio with Peter Karl at Peter Karl Studios in Brooklyn, New York to record "Aloysia Serenade" by Peter Jona Korn.

"Aloysia Serenade" was written for and dedicated to famous Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist Doriot Anthony Dwyer.  The third movement of this piece is written for viola and cello, and as such, was premiered without the third movement being performed.  The trio's recording will feature a studio recording of the full score.

This session marks the second trip into the studio to record what will be the trio's debut with PARMA Recordings.  Eight Strings & a Whistle flutist, Suzanne Gilchrest, was able to provide PARMA with some detailed notes on Peter Jona Korn and his "Aloysia Serenade."

"Born in 1922 in Berlin, Peter Jona Korn’s musicality was apparent from an 
early age.  He studied with Stephan Wolpe there for two years, and then briefly with Arnold Schönberg after emigrating to the United States in 1940. Despite his studies with Wolpe and Schönberg, Korn rejected atonality and the twelve-tone technique, and ultimately leaned toward a classical-romantic language.

In the US, Peter Jona Korn became friends with Hollywood composer Ernest Gold while living in Los Angeles. The two nicknamed each other “Aloysius” and also bestowed the name on their other close friends. Marni Nixon (Gold’s first wife) and Barbara Korn (Korn’s wife) were both an “Aloysia” and Doriot Anthony Dwyer, the eminent principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was an honorary “Aloysia.” The Aloysia Serenade was composed in 1953 and is dedicated to Ms. Dwyer. She premiered the work in Boston in 1957 with Jopseph De Pasquale and Samuel Mayes, also principal players with the Symphony."

Pictures from the trio's last visit to the studio can be seen below.  Eight Strings & a Whistle will return to the studio in November to continue tracking for their release. In the meantime, they will be preparing for their performance at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York this November.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Studio Update: Arthur Gottschalk's "Requiem for the Living"

We are very excited to announce that earlier this month we returned from several days in St. Petersburg, Russia with composer and PARMA artist Arthur Gottschalk recording his piece titled "Requiem for the Living" with the St. Petersburg State Symphony and St. Petersburg Voices. This piece is a large-scale requiem that draws upon myriad American musical traditions

Vice President of A&R Sam Renshaw and CEO Bob Lord spent a week with Arthur and his wife Shelley Johnson in the beautiful and historic St. Petersburg (once called "the Venice of the North"). With over 45 minutes of music, there is still more to be done! We will be continuing to work on this requiem in subsequent sessions including full chorus and vocal soloists. The project is scheduled to be released in 2015 on Navona Records:

(Left to Right): VP of A&R Sam Renshaw,
Arthur Gottschalk, and CEO Bob Lord

Dr. Arthur Gottschalk is an award-winning composer and Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Gottschalk attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition, a Master of Arts degree in Music Composition and English Literature, and his Doctorate in Music Composition. He has been awarded several prestigious awards including the Bogliasco Fellowship for further work in Italy as well as the Charles Ives Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His works can be found on several releases including MOTO PERPETUO: MOVING WORKS FOR CELLO, released on Navona Records in March of last year:

Below are some additional photos from the recording sessions. We're excited to continue our work on this ambitious project!

(Left to Right): Arthur Gottschalk, Shelley Johnson, and Sam Renshaw

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: The Redline Brass Quintet

Coming up in a few weeks will be the second annual PARMA Music Festival. As part of the main event we're excited to present one of Boston's finest new chamber ensembles. Formed by five New England Conservatory graduates, the Redline Brass Quintet consists of trumpeters Kyle Spraker and Andrew Moreschi, Nick Rubenstein on French Horn, Christopher Moore on Tenor Trombone, and Philip Hyman on Bass Trombone.

The Quintet's mission is to showcase great music of all periods and styles to audiences everywhere. They have performed in numerous recitals and premiered several new works for brass quintet, most recently John Morrison's "A Conquest of Cold." The Quintet is also committed to community outreach, working with the Discovery Ensemble to bring the music of Leonard Bernstein and other great composers into schools throughout Boston, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. 

The Quintet will be performing at the PARMA Music Festival's main event on Saturday the 16th at The Music Hall. The concert begins at 7 PM and will also feature performances by the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Chris Klaxton and the State Line Big Band, longtime PARMA artist Ovidiu Marinescu, and others. 

Tickets for the main event are on sale now for $20. They can be purchased online at, by phone at (603)-436-2400, or at the box office at 28 Chestnut St. in Portsmouth.

Take a listen to the Quintet using the Soundcloud player below.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Spotlight: Portsmouth Pro Musica

Today, our performer spotlight shines on Portsmouth Pro Musica, a seacoast choral ensemble dedicated to providing an enriching musical experience to both members and audiences through the scholarship and presentation of diverse repertoire. Drawing voices from New Hampshire, southern Maine, and northern Massachusetts, the chorus is known for the warmth and energy of its sound, adventurous programming and excellent musicianship.

Check out the link below for a moving excerpt from PPM's performance of Mozart's Requiem:

You can also view their main website and their Facebook page through the following links:

Portsmouth Pro Musica will be performing at the PARMA Music Festival’s main event on Saturday, August 16thThis concert will also feature performances by Romanian cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Boston-based singer-songwriter Sarah Borrello, the Redline Brass Quintet, Chris Klaxton & State Line Big Band, oudist Mac Ritchey, and clarinetist Matthias Muller. Tickets for this concert are $20; they're on sale now and can be purchased at The Music Hall Box Office at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, NH, by phone at (603) 436-2400 or online at

For more for more information and a complete schedule, check out We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Clara Berry and Wooldog

Today we shine the spotlight on New England's own Clara Berry, a songwriter out of southern Maine whose music has been described by the Portland Press Herald as "sparkling and dark, intriguing and entrancing."

Clara's songs have a unique air about them, combining elements of folk, classical, and rock with a smooth, smoky voice that subtly demands a second listen. Fans of Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple, and Ingrid Michaelson will wonder why she's not on their iPods already.

This summer Clara has been touring all around New England and New York with multi-instrumentalist Joe O'Neill as Clara Berry and Wooldog in support of their latest single "Riches & the Girls," which they recorded with The Hold Steady producer Dean Baltulonis. You can download their album "The Magician's Wife" by joining their mailing list on the "Listen" page on their website.

Clara will be performing as part of the New England Artists Showcase at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse on Friday, August 15th. The show is 21+ and starts at 8 PM with a suggested donation of $5. You can also catch her at The Music Hall in Portsmouth opening up for New York-harp-phenom Mikaela Davis next Tuesday at 7:30 PM.

Until then, you can hear more from Clara by visiting her website or by checking out her SoundCloud player below.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Juan Álamo

Today's performer spotlight is on Dr. Juan Álamo, a composer with as much to say with his pencil as with his mallets.

A marimba player since the age of 16, Dr. Álamo holds the distinction of becoming the first Puerto Rican to earn a Doctorate Degree in percussion.

Dr. Álamo will be trekking up to Portsmouth, NH from North Carolina, where he serves as Associate Professor and Director of the Percussion Ensemble at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

No stranger to the stage, Dr. Álamo has performed with a who's who of music's modern giants, including Arturo Sandoval, Tito Puente, and Keiko Abe. His playing has been featured on radio, stage, and screen throughout North and South America.

Dr. Álamo will be performing as part of the PARMA Artists Concert at the North Church of Portsmouth at 10 AM on Wednesday, August 13. For a sample of his new album MARIMJAZZIA, check out the Big Round Records release page or the player below. For more information, visit (or come hear him at the festival - you won't regret it).

Monday, July 21, 2014

PARMA Music Festival Performer Spotlight: Alex Lubet and Maja Radovanlija

Today we'd like to introduce you to not one but two PARMA Music Festival Performers: PARMA Artist Alex Lubet and classical guitarist Maja Radovanlija.

Alex is both a composer and a multi-instrumentalist specializing in a variety of stringed instruments. He is well-known for his work on steel-string acoustic guitar with its unique heritage and tone coloring. Originally from Chicago, IL, Alex was influenced from an early age by the city's diverse musical offerings. He blends together musical styles from various cultures, and you can hear in his music a nuanced mix of classical, jazz, blues, and Eastern traditions. Alex has frequently collaborated with Swiss free-jazz pianist Guerino Mazzola, dancer/choreographer Judith Brin Ingber, and his wife, taiko drummer and composer Isis Shiraishi. Alex's compositions have received close to 500 performances on six continents - you can hear some of his PARMA release SPECTRAL BLUES ( in this YouTube sampler:

SPECTRAL BLUES has received numerous enthusiastic reviews and was listed among the “Best Albums of 2013 (in any genre)” by noted critic Ted Gioia. Alex received his Ph.D in Music Composition from the University of Iowa and is now a charter member of the University of Minnesota's Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Maja is also a School of Music faculty member at the University of Minnesota and is also an advocate of blending together classical and jazz techniques in addition to Balkan and early Baroque musical traditions. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, and having played guitar since the age of nine, Maja has won various awards in school festivals and competitions from childhood up through higher education; recently, she won second prize at the 2009 Latin-American Music Competition and was included on two compilation CDs in production at the Latin-American Music Center at Indiana University. Maja received her M.M. from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she is currently a candidate for D.M. as well.

Both members of this guitar duo are well-versed practitioners of improvisational technique; check out this video for a glimpse of what to expect at their Festival performance:

Alex and Maja will be performing at 6:00pm on Thursday, August 14th at the Porsmouth Music and Art Center. For more for more information and a complete schedule, check out We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PARMA Artist Svjetlana Bukvich at the Marble House Project

This July, PARMA artist Svjetlana Bukvich was awarded a residency at the Marble House Project at the Manley-Lefevre house in Dorset, VT.

Residencies at the Marble House Project serve as getaways for artists of any medium to flex, stretch, and hone their talents. During their stay in Dorset, artists are immersed in 48 acres of nature and art, providing them with an open and relaxing environment to foster their creativity. During her residency Svjetlana is working on a new telemetry-based piece for viola, electronics, voice, and visuals.

Throughout the summer, the Marble House Project holds open studios and performances as a stage for artists to share their music, poetry, visual art, and choreography directly with the local community. Svjetlana is one of six artists to be invited this month as part of the project's inaugural 2014 season.

To hear some of Svjetlana's work, check out the SoundCloud player below. For more information about EVOLUTION, head over to the release page on the Big Round Records website.

To learn more about the Marble House Project, see their official website.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 PARMA Student Composer Competition Finalists and Grand Prize Winner Announced

We are pleased to announce the Top 10 Finalists of the 2014 PARMA Student Composer Competition! This year's competition called for scores written for brass quintet. Following strong reception from many young and talented composers, the three judges - Tom Wells of Society of Composers, Inc.; Tim Davis of the Boston New Music Initiative; and Kyle Spraker of Redline Brass Quintet - deliberated and have chosen.

The Top 10 Finalists are:

To Throw - Michael Mikulka
Prism - Hong-Da Chin
Elegy - Liza White
Atomic Fanfare - Stuart Beatch
In medias res - Josh Getman
Overflow - Kei Hong Wong
Mitose, proliferation, apoptose - Jean-Patrick Besingrand
The Grind - Bernard Walasavage
Zero Quintet - Kenta Masuda
Brass Quintet No. 1 - Andrew Selle

Congratulations to all of the Finalists! These 10 composers' works will be featured in the 2014 PARMA Anthology of Music, a free resource for ensembles, performers, and music directors to access contemporary, well-written scores for brass quintet by young composers. You can check out the 2012 and 2013 anthologies here.

Michael Mikulka
And a special congratulations to Michael Mikulka, who has been selected as the Grand Prize Winner of this year's competition! Michael is currently pursuing his DMA in Composition at the University of Texas and is active as both a composer and performer. More info about Michael and his music can be found here.

As the Grand Prize Winner, Michael's piece To Throw will be performed by the Redline Brass Quintet at the Main Event of the 2014 PARMA Music Festival, which starts at 7 pm on August 16 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth NH.

This year's genre-defying and barrier-breaking PARMA Music Festival (August 13 -16 in Portsmouth NH) will feature 14 concerts in 12 venues, with performances by Ovidiu Marinescu, Juan Álamo, John Page and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Qwill, Redline Brass Quintet, Karolina Rojahn, Shango, The Soggy Po' Boys, and many more! There will also be concerts by the Boston New Music Initiative, The Shakespeare Concerts, and Society of Composers, Inc., which will be launching the upcoming volume in the SCI CD Series, PENDULUM, out August 12 on Navona Records. You can check out all the artists who will be at this year's Festival here.

Entrance to all the events at the PARMA Music Festival is free, except to the Main Event on Saturday evening. Tickets for this concert can be purchased at The Music Hall Box Office (28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth NH), by phone at (603)436-2400, or online.

Come join us at the 2014 PARMA Music Festival (August 13 - 16) for four days of unforgettable musical experiences and to hear Michael Mikulka's piece To Throw performed by Redline Brass Quintet. Check back for more updates about the Festival as well as about the 2014 PARMA Anthology of Music.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Releases on Navona and Ravello Records

Michael J. Evans

Oftentimes in our technology-driven global society, words can become obscured in meanings and associations depending on how they are interpreted or translated. On the other hand, music in its abstraction often can prompt more concrete interpretations. Composer Michael J. Evans explores the relationships between words, music, and meaning on his latest release on Navona Records, CIPHER. 

A spoken word excerpt from Felix Mendelssohn, which has been translated several times from English to another language and back again, introduces the work and comments on the inadequacy of words as a means of expression compared to music. The words fade into a section of theme and variations, where the theme is borrowed from one of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. For Evans, the form of theme and variations is "an exploration of unrealized potential or futures of an idea or theme." Throughout the variations, Evans makes references to Bach, Scott Joplin, Satie, Chopin, Debussy, and others, illustrating how an idea can be translated differently through the voices of various composers. Read More

Sydney Hodkinson

Composer Sydney Hodkinson's second Navona Records release, A KEYBOARD ODYSSEY, is a journey through the world of the solo keyboard, exploring the versatility and spirit of both the piano and organ through the composer's perceptive style. 

Mini-Rag, for Right Hand Alone is a playful rag-style miniature, paying tribute to Minnie Mouse as well as Scott Joplin and other ragtime players. Organmusic, a set of six "tableaux" for organ, presents ironic musical characters with liturgical, plainchant, and secular themes. Like much of the album, the two pieces from Snapshots - a collection of "crumbs" from a larger keyboard work - illustrate Hodkinson's penchant for compositional diversity. The movement "...a strange dream" is impressionistic, with moments that blend ambiguity and clarity, while "...a faded dance" is reminiscent of a waltz from a past era. The compositions travel through various time periods and genres yet clearly maintain a creative and postmodern signature that is recognizable in Hodkinson's works. Read More

Greg Bowers

RATIONAL PASSIONS, Greg Bowers' debut release on Navona Records, takes its listeners on a trip through the psychological world of music. Each piece explores the relationship between the notes played and the emotions experienced, suggesting that emotional meaning can be rationalized. Gestalt Figures uses grouping laws to show how the listener will approximate the piece as a whole by the connections between its parts, suggesting the true function of the composer and listener. String Quartet No. 2: By-Products of Mass Media depicts three movements in pop culture: the intense experience of rave music, the erratic nature of channel surfing, and the accessible convenience of online surfing. In Perception Etudes, Bowers examines the musical experience as a whole and how each element - the audience, the performer, the musical tension and dynamics - is internalized, understood, and communicated. Read More

Matthew Malsky

An individual's experiences might well be laid out like a map: some moments connected to others, some isolated, and still some yet to be explored. Composer Matthew Malsky creates an aural map of emotions on his debut Ravello release, GEOGRAPHIES & GEOMETRIES. The composer remarks, "More specifically, in composing I'm trying to adapt the sensations and the emotional responses evoked by particular places and incidents (real or imagined) into sonic form." 

In Archipelago of Regrets, each variation of the theme illustrates a part of the experience of disenchantment, ending in quiet resolution. -42.489° 108.756° (elegy), an elegy for two violas, is in the form of a palindrome in which after the climax, the piece runs backwards, undoing what came before as if prematurely ending. Read More

Various Artists

Ravello Records is pleased to announce the first installment of its compilation series, VANGUARDS VOL. 1, presenting a deep cross-section of the label's contemporary and eclectic catalog. The album features performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, pianist Kate Boyd, the McCormick Percussion Group, the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet, pianist Amy Briggs, the Grammy-nominated Strung Out Trio, and many more in works by contemporary composers such as Alan Beeler, Stefan Poetzsch, Michael Veloso, Lisa Miles, Hubert Howe, Scott Brickman, Alan Schmitz, and others. Read More