Observing the landscape of contemporary classical, one might assume that the art music community has shifted its focus away from the melodic, harmonious, and accessible. CONVERGENCE, an album of works by David Nisbet Stewart and George Gershwin, presents just the opposite: imaginative, expressive works that appeal to performers and audiences alike.
Santa Barbara-based composer Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927) is a fixture in the Californian classical music community, having received commissions and performances from orchestras and ensembles throughout the state and worked throughout her career to advance the musical community.
Erik Lotichius, a composer unafraid of melody and accessibility, combines the sounds of traditional classics with those that took the 20th-century audiences by storm - in the composer's own words, his work presents "Bach, the Blues and the Beatles" in a spectacular, enthralling combination of genre and style.
Since the late 1980s, Swiss Composer Schlumpf has been widely active in the borderlands between improvisation and composition. With STREAMS, the follow-up to his 2012 Navona Records release SUMMER CIRCLE, Schlumpf presents three concertos that are representative of a creative period in his career marked by the influence of minimalism and jazz, new tonal concepts, a strong emphasis on rhythm, and clear-cut formal designs.
Hailed as "convincing, emotional, passionate and vivid" (The Musical Review) and "destined to enter the ranks of the standard classical repertoire" (New York Times), Fredrick Kaufman resonates with worldwide audiences through impassioned and prolific compositions that go beyond mere interpretation. He thoroughly digests inspiration, internalizing and individualizing his ideas to create moving and impactful works that do more than simply relay a message. Kaufman's music captures feeling and emotion, reaching the listener with convincing sincerity.
This new release from concert pianist and composer Robert DeGaetano is a lush cross-section of virtuosic piano music which pairs Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor and Mr. DeGaetano's own Piano Concerto No.1 in a heart-stopping exhibition of balance and brilliance.
Maestro Kirk Trevor praises composer Lee Actor as "one of the refreshing new classical voices ... who can still use a traditional language with a freshness that makes the music alive and interesting." On his latest Navona Records release PIANO CONCERTO, Actor presents three orchestral works, performed by Trevor and the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, that are engaging and tonal yet dramatic and modern.
For decades, John Rojak has been a staple in American brass music, performing with a number of chamber ensembles and orchestras such as American Brass Quintet, Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony; in Broadway shows including Les Misérables and The Producers; in big bands of Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, and Gerry Mulligan; and contributing to the pedagogy of the bass trombone as a faculty member of several institutions, including The Juilliard School, The Hartt School, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Needless to say he has taken the bass trombone and its repertoire to new heights in the classical, contemporary, jazz, and commercial genres.
Celebrating their 25th-anniversary concert season in 2016, the San José Chamber Orchestra conducted by Maestra Barbara Day Turner, presents a commemorative collection of contemporary works on Navona Records, showcasing the ensemble’s commitment to new music as well as their stylistic versatility.
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.
In this stunning tour through the concerti of Beethoven’s early and middle periods, pianist Eliane Rodrigues captivates her listeners with graceful keyboard virtuosity, accompanied by the renowned St. Petersburg State Orchestra, Maestro Walter Proost at the podium. The technicality is so precise, the performance so true to period, that one might think the composer himself was at the piano.
Composer/Performer John Alan Rose presents INEFFABLE TALES, an album of four of his ensemble compositions, recorded at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In addition to renowned soloists Jungwon Choi (cello), Moni Simeonov (violin), the recording features the composer’s wife Sing Rose (soprano), and the composer himself (piano). The album also features the Moravian Philharmonic, under the direction of Miran Vaupotić.
It is tempting to compare Matej Meštrović's compositional style to his great predecessors in the late-Romantic tradition. After all, much of the Croatian composer's style and techniques would be right at home in Rachmaninoff’s concertos, Tchaikovsky's works, or Prokofiev's neoclassicism; and the name of the album's first work, Danube Rhapsody, naturally evokes associations with Smetana's similarly river-themed Vltava. Add to all of this that Meštrović, like most of his great musical ancestors, is a talented virtuoso pianist, and it's easy to see why 3 RHAPSODIES is bound to meet with enthusiasm.
On FIGHT FOR LIGHT, Dutch composer Jesse Passenier explores the peripheries of jazz and classical, marrying the two genres together through symphonic music. The music presents a struggle for strength, goodness, and clarity, in which moments for great energy and urgency give way to quiet purity. Containing three works by Passenier: Piano Concerto No. 1 "Levensdrift” (a Dutch word meaning “the primal urge to live”); Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 "Becoming the Colour"; and Duo for Vibraphone & Piano “Unraveling Confusion,” these pieces taken together as a whole reveal Passenier’s breadth as a composer, offering a musical commentary on the realities we face in today’s society.
Dynamic pianistic playfulness and impressive orchestral sonority shine in PLETER from Croatian pianist and composer Matej Meštrović. The composer’s personal signature can be heard throughout the piece, equal parts majestic and jubilant with subtly suspenseful moments that cascade into grandiose beauty. An eclectic and versatile composer, Meštrović joins the acclaimed London Symphony Orchestra on this recording, unearthing immeasurable melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic opulence as both the composer and the featured pianist.