Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sneak Preview - For Your Ears Only!

PARMA has an impressive collection of Navona, Ravello, and Big Round Records releases set to release Friday May 13, 2016! Please enjoy watching these YouTube "Listening Previews," for our upcoming releases. Follow PARMA's Twitter and Facebook accounts for your daily dose of PARMA news and previews.

Carl Vollrath
Order on Amazon

On his Navona Records release THREE PASTELS FOR PIANO & ORCHESTRA, composer Carl Vollrath presents his three piano concerti, written between 2012 and 2015. Representing some of his most recent work, these concerti are connected to each other thematically, and in a way portray a different hue of the same color. Read More


On his Navona release INFINITE LANDSCAPES, composer Elliott Miles McKinley presents Three Portraits and his String Quartet No. 7 – two adventurous works commissioned by renowned chamber ensembles. Read More

Margaret Brandman
Order on Amazon

Australian composer, music educator, and pianist Margaret Brandman presents her debut Navona release SENSATIONS, featuring several of her celebrated compositions, each one presenting a unique musical experience and sensation. Read More

Daniel Zehringer

JOURNEYMEN’S SONGS from Navona Records showcases the versatility of the trumpet on works performed by Daniel Zehringer. Accompanied by various instruments, including percussion, string bass, and cello, selected compositions by Steven Winteregg are themed around time and place. Read More


“We’re really trying to find a whole new language,” says harpist Heidi Krutzen, “and a new way of moving our instruments forward.”

New languages and propulsive forward motion abound on MAXWELL, MUHLY, & COULOIR, the second Ravello Records release from the elegant, unusual duo COULOIR. Read More


"I write what is inside me," says Sidney Bailin. "To me, revealing the psyche’s vulnerable parts is the essence of serious art. With each piece I write, I am trying to tell my secrets."

On his first Ravello release, 16-2-60-N-5: WORKS FOR ELECTRONICS & PIANO, composer Sidney Bailin shows how musical technique exists solely to help him tell his secrets. A combination of piano and electroacoustic works, 16-2-60-N-5 transforms patterns and structures into a viscerally and emotionally gripping sound experience. Read More


On their latest Ravello Records release THE POSTCARD SESSIONS, the Harrington/Loewen Duo offers a sampling of evocative, colorful works for saxophone that have become perennial favorites of both performers and audiences. The album is emblematic of the saxophone’s European ancestry, as well as the saxophonists’ commonplace imperative to arrange works for their instrument. Read More

Sebastiano Meloni
Order on Amazon

On his second Big Round Records release MOODS AND SKETCHES, composer Sebastiano Meloni presents 12 improvisations for piano. Meloni’s primary interest is in making improvisation, both as a composer and as a performer. Performed on a Fazioli grand piano F278, each piece explores the different facets of improvisational language, each having a specific methodical theme. Read More

Monday, April 11, 2016


Since the beginning, PARMA has worked to weave together a tightly-knit family of artists and composers. When an artist decides to work with PARMA, they're welcomed into that family. 

Over the years, the PARMA community of artists has grown into a vast network of incredibly talented performers and composers. 
The results are endless possibilities for sweet, sweet collaboration. 

This is evident throughout the catalog of albums we have released since 2008. We continue to see more and more collaborations throughout all of our releases. There are many instances of such collaboration on some of our newest releases!

BLURRED BOUNDARIES by the Apollo Chamber Players features works by PARMA composers Libby Larsen and Marty Regan; IN TIMES OF TORMENT by Yves Ramette features PARMA cellist Carmine Miranda; and REACT by Francesca Arnone & Mikylah McTeer features works by PARMA composer Russell Pinkston.

There are too many instances of PARMA performers playing PARMA composers to list, so without further ado, please enjoy this curated playlist of pure PARMA collaboration!

1) "Cello Sonata II. Moderato - Tres calme"
Composer: Yves Ramette
Performers: Carmine Miranda (cello) and Karolina Rojahn (piano)
From IN TIMES OF TORMENT (Navona Records, 2016)

2) "Sorrow Song and Jubilee"
Composer: Libby Larsen
From BLURRED BOUNDARIES (Navona Records, 2016)

3) "Splash of Indigo"
Composer: Marty Regan
From BLURRED BOUNDARIES (Navona Records, 2016)

4) "Still Angry"
Composer: Andrew May
Performers: Elizabeth McNutt (flute) and Esther Lamneck (clarinet)
From TORNADO PROJECT (Ravello Records, 2015)

5) "e++"
Composer: Russell Pinkston
Performers: Elizabeth McNutt (flute) and Esther Lamneck (clarinet)
From TORNADO PROJECT (Ravello Records, 2015)

6) "Vox Clamantis"
Composer: Russell Pinkston
Performers: Francesca Arnone (flute) and Mikylah McTeer (violin)
From REACT (Ravello Records, 2016)

7) "Tocatta II"
Composer: Betty R. Wishart
From PIANO SONORITIES (Ravello Records, 2016)

8) "Vidi aquam: To Stir Up Our Wits"
Composer: Gregory W. Brown
Performers: The Crossing (Donald Nally, Conductor)
From MOONSTRUNG AIR (Navona Records, 2015)

9) "The Skin of Night"
Composer: Michael Matthews
Performers: Allen Harrington (saxophone) and Laura Loewen (piano)
From METROPOLIS (Ravello Records, 2014)

10) "Variations for Piano Trio: II. Rhythmic"
Composer: Osias Wilenski
Performers: Trio Casals
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

11) "Adirondack Tableau: II. Marion River"
Performers: Trio Casals
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

12) "3 Songs: III. Sky Song"
Composer: Diane Jones
Performers: Trio Casals
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

13) "Piano Trio No. 1: IV. -"
Composer: John A. Carollo
Performers: Trio Casals
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

14) "Ma mère (After C. Debussy)"
Composer: Robert Fleisher
Performer: Ovidiu Marinescu (cello)
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

15) "Piano Trio, Op. 38 "In the Spirit of Ave Maris Stella"
Composer: Brian Noyes
Performers: Trio Casals
From MOTO CONTINUO (Navona Records, 2015)

16) "Oh, More Or Less"
Performers: Sauro Berti (bass clarinet) and Mario Ciaccio (tenor saxophone)
From SOLO NON SOLO (Ravello Records, 2014)

17) "[Pleez], (Plez), /Pliz/"

Composer: Mel Mobley
Performers: McCormick Percussion Group and Ji Hyun Kim (piano)

18) "Chamber Symphony No. 3: I. Introduction - Flute Cadenza"
Composer: Douglas Anderson
From CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 (Ravello Records, 2016)

19) "Streets & Bridges: II. Lafayette Place"
Composer: Joseph Koykkar
Performer: Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi
From DOUBLE TAKES AND TRIPLE PLAYS (Ravello Records, 2016)

20) "Spirits of the Dead: No. 4. Now are thoughts ..."

Composer: Phillip Schroeder
Performers: Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi (piano) and Robert Best (vocals)
From SONGS OF MY AFFINITIES (Ravello Records, 2012)

21) "Robert McCloskey, The Life for Me, Suite No. 1: I. The Simple Life, in Hamilton"

Composer: Paul John Stanbery
Performers: Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra
From FRESH DIMENSIONS (Navona Records, 2016)

22) "She Lost Her Voice That's How We Knew: I. -"
Composer: Frances White
Performer: Kristin Norderval (soprano)
From SHE LOST HER VOICE, THAT'S HOW WE KNEW (Ravello Records, 2015)

Friday, April 8, 2016

April Releases Out Now on Navona and Ravello Records!

Yves Ramette

IN TIMES OF TORMENT, from the late composer Yves Ramette (1921-2012), displays major themes from almost every single musical era. Composed from 1941-1944 in Paris during the Nazi occupation, the album presents a unique perspective from Ramette, breaking away from the virtuosic piano works found in his previous albums to showcase varying chamber ensembles. Although his sonatas were written for the virtuosic violin and cello, the piano continues to be highlighted throughout his pieces, making it more than an accompaniment, but rather a featured instrument. Read More

Eli Tamar

Navona records presents LAUDATO SI: IN THE SPIRIT OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI, a tribute to the 13th century Italian friar and preacher. Beloved over the world for his charity, devotion to poverty, and delight in Creation, St. Francis portrays his love for the beautiful in his poetic writings. In this exquisitely crafted vocal-organ program soprano Charlene Canty, countertenor Andrey Nemzer, and organist Nicholas Will present a fresh musical take on the Franciscan poetic tradition with world premiere recordings of three contemporary settings of texts by (or attributed to) St. Francis written by the composer Eli Tamar. These works are complemented by a series of solos and duets from various settings of from the Baroque period to the mid-twentieth century. Read More

Jonathan Sheffer

Depicting 12th-century Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s dramatic narrative, New York-based composer and GRAMMY-nominated conductor Jonathan Sheffer presents his orchestral work The Conference of the Birds, commissioned for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, on Navona Records. Attar’s poem of the same name is a journey of transformation and conviction, in which the birds of the world seek to find an illustrious leader, ultimately ending with new insight into their spiritual identities. The allegory portrays our own doubts, fears, and faults, how we confront these issues, and how we seek to understand identity and our relationships with other humans, the natural world, and what lies beyond. Read More

Apollo Chamber Players

Apollo Chamber Players’ present their latest Navona release BLURRED BOUNDARIES, featuring commissions from veteran composers Libby Larsen and Marty Regan, as well as from the winner of Apollo’s inaugural International Commissioning Contest, Erberk Eryılmaz. These three commissions mark the beginning of 20x2020, Apollo’s initiative to commission 20 new folk music-inspired works by the end of the decade. Each of these composers explores culturally-specific musical traditions and presents folk material in ways that are engaging, unique, and revelatory. Read More

Alan Schmitz | Christopher Schmitz | Eric Schmitz

The Ravello Records release ACE COMPOSERS features the music of three composers in the same family: Alan Schmitz and his two sons, Christopher and Eric. Though Alan describes the three composers as having different influences, their music is linked by connections to popular musical genres, which each references in some manner in a work featured on the album. Read More

Francesca Arnone | Mikylah McTeer

Violinist Mikylah McTeer and flutist Francesca Arnone perform diverse electroacoustic pieces on their first collaborative album REACT, released on Ravello Records. The works on this album demonstrate well the potential range of electroacoustic music in facilitating both experimental and traditional compositional ideas. The featured composers explore new ways of creating and organizing sound, and as performed with either computer or other interactive electronics, the violin and flute help construct unique sonic landscapes. Read More

John K. Leupold II

Delivering a diverse cross-section of dynamically rhythmic and tonally expressive chamber works, composer John K. Leupold II presents his debut release on Ravello Records, EXASPERATING PERPETUATION. Described by the Washington Post as “an imaginative exploration of instrumental timbres,” Leupold’s music seeks to enhance the tonal possibilities of the instruments through the use of tension, personification, and imagery. Read More

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Composer Interview with Jonathan Sheffer

We checked in with composer and Grammy-nominated conductor Jonathan Sheffer to talk about the upcoming release of his epic narrated orchestral work, THE CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS, out April 8th 2016, and we're pleased to share below his words on process and inspiration:

What attracted you to using the nearly-900-year-old poem “TheConference of the Birds” as the inspiration for a composition for orchestra?

initial idea arose from a meditation experience, during which I heard all of the surrounding birdcalls stop suddenly. Not only did that startle me out of my meditation, but, being a conductor, I wondered for months what could make hundreds of birds of all different species all stop singing together! When the commission came from Cabrillo, I spent a few weeks transcribing birdcalls and trying to make a purely abstract piece out of that. But I felt I had little to add post-Messiaen, and I was quite discouraged by my efforts at bird counterpoint when I happened upon the poem in a bookstore. Its message resonated with me, and I began writing the narration immediately.
 The poem, through avian eyes, speaks of a world in distress, one in need of firm leadership (sound familiar?). The beauty of the poem is that the birds, through their epic journey, discover that self-love is the basis of all strength, both individual and communal.

Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato does a fantastic job narrating this release, from the story to the birds themselves. What led you to choosing Joyce as the narrator?

She is such a terrific actress in opera, I just thought she would be a natural to perform a spoken word piece. It turned out I was right! We worked together a while back, and I asked her to do this narration, and she responded immediately. During the recording, I encouraged her to go quite far out with silly voices, and playing up the excitement of the story.

What are some of the ways in which conducting has strengthened your composing, or vice versa? Are there unique challenges involved in doing both well?

Being a composer who learned to conduct later, I am constantly learning, broadening my awareness of the extraordinary details of composition, of form and orchestration. I also think that composers need to make music, to keep a physical contact with the activity that might become rather dry on the page without the responsibility and the joy of performance.

As well, composing has given me confidence as a conductor: not only do I appreciate the accumulation of detail of each work, but I identify with the sense that every piece of music begins with a blank page, one that is filled with specific musical ideas. Conducting allowed me to get under the skin of the music, and not feel that “masterpieces” arrived sui generis, but resulted from painstaking working-out of discreet ideas. Beethoven was a far more profound composer than I, but he still took up a pen, as I have done as well. At the same time, the humility of contact with great music, in contrast to my efforts, is grounding, like being onstage in the chorus, thrilled at the talent of the soloist.

You founded both the Eos Orchestra and Red {an orchestra}, focusing on the programming of new concert experiences – from your experience, what practices would you recommend for effectively increasing attention around new music?

Looking back at those two orchestras, I have an enormous sense of accomplishment. The aim was always to experiment, with concert formats, programming, and artistic collaboration. We succeeded by every measure, and if our hour of strutting the stage was cut short, it doesn’t lessen our contribution. I feel we were part of a stream of change that continues to flow in concerts and opera production, a stream that now continues to run in new venues and with new ideas that have worked their way into the mainstream. Very often, when I read about this or that new things, I can say, “Yeah, we did that” and feel a kinship with every new venture. My focus was on changing the listening experience for the audience, in concerts and opera productions. I thought if we could make the narrative of each concert clear, then we would succeed in drawing people closer to the music. I think we did that with great success, over and over.

Through Celluloid Copland, you and the Eos Orchestra were the first to record on CD Copland’s scores for From Sorcery to Science, The City, The Cummington Story, and The North Star. How did you come across these works? Why had they not been previously committed to CD? And what made you decide to change this?

One of my principal areas of interest with Eos was the rediscovery of lesser-known music by well-known composers, particularly works that has effectively disappeared from the public. Paul Bowles’s music as the first of these rediscoveries, and Copland was the second. I researched his music at the Library of Congress and was delighted to find all of the music we recorded on our Grammy-nominated CD, work from little-know documentaries from the 1940s and music from the 1939 World’s Fair. For me, and I hope for our audience, these works not only filled in an important gap in Copland’s work, but also demonstrated how he learned the craft of film composition mid-career.

You seem to work frequently in mediums which combine visual elements with music; in particular you’ve worked with a number of dance companies over the years, including the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Martha Graham Dance Company. What qualities in your music would you say recommend themselves particularly well to visual and choreographic interpretation?

It depends upon the ballet, and the choreographer. For a story ballet, highly colorful and evocative music, such as is found in my piece, works well, giving the dancers inspiration in beauty. By and large, strong rhythm is the best music to dance to!

Ultimately, what would you like listeners to take away after having heard THE CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS?

An appreciation of how colorful the sound of a large orchestra can be, and a sense of having been on a spiritual journey with the birds themselves.