Peter Vukmirovic Stevens composer
Mara Gearman viola
Capturing the viola’s rich and haunting quality, composer Peter Vukmirovic Stevens’ second release on Navona Records, FERAL ICONS, is a suite of six works for solo viola performed by the extraordinary violist Mara Gearman of Seattle Symphony. The album embodies the raw and expressive energy of Stevens’ impassioned compositional style, inviting the listener on an emotional narrative.
Through primal driving tempos and captivating melodic phrases, the title track sets the scene for a musical journey, expertly emphasizing the viola’s lower register. Gearman continues through rich and meditative harmonies found in Sovereign, I, and lingers in a place of refuge created by the loving single melodic line in Sanctuary. Ex Nihilo derives its title from the Latin phrase meaning “to create out of nothing.” Stevens expresses this theme by juxtaposing phrases of aggressive double-stops and rich, expressive harmonies, until arriving at a fervent conclusion. Gearman continues his passionate work with the stately opening rhythms of Bloodlines, evolving into lyrical passages accompanied by a droning second voice and climaxing in a rhapsodic quasi-cadenza. Culminating with rich and cantabile melodies, Black and Gold peacefully completes Stevens’ six piece suite.
Peter Vukmirovic Stevens is the co-founder of the Seattle Pianist Collective, and serves as Artistic Director. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle WA, and has studied with Bern Herbolshiemer, Samuel Jones, and with Bodhan Bubak in Prague, Czech Republic. Mara Gearman is a Seattle native and currently performs with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. She has also been Principal Viola for the Kansas City Symphony and Los Angeles Opera.