Applauded by Aaron Copland, inspired by Desmond Tutu, and mentored by Hugo Friedhofer and Earle Hagen, Bruce Babcock has spent his working life composing music for the musicians of Los Angeles. Successful in both film and television, and the concert hall, he is known for vibrant, sonorous, expressive pieces that immerse audience and performers alike in an inclusive and exuberant celebration of the musical art.
Babcock holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in music composition from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). While at CSUN, Bruce’s Impasse was performed for Aaron Copland during his 1975 residency. Copland’s comments on the piece, recorded for posterity, include “an impression of musicality which is very pleasant, indeed...a convincing sense of an overall mood...knows what he wants...sure of what he’s doing.”
Babcock’s mentors in Hollywood included Hugo Friedhofer, Paul Glass, and Earle Hagen. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series in 1992, one of eight total Emmy nominations in a ten-year period, as well as eight TV/Film awards from BMI. He has also collaborated as an orchestrator and conductor with some of the biggest names in film scoring, including James Newton Howard, Michael Kamen, and Christopher Young.
Joyce Wai-chung Tang
Joyce Wai-chung Tang’s works have been described by Ablaze Records as “incisive and brilliant…terrific and fresh compositional voice,” and have been premiered and performed worldwide. Her works span orchestral, chamber, solo, vocal, choral, electro-acoustic, and theatrical genres, many of which have been jury-selected for performances in major festivals and conferences.
She has attracted numerous commissions from musicians and performing groups including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Trio Morisot, Western District Music Ensemble, Shakespeare4All Hong Kong, and AFTEC. She was also a featured composer in the 2010 Hell Hot! New Music Festival in Hong Kong, and the 2012 Manhattan-Hong Kong Music Festival. Her string quartet Lineae (2014) won the Arizona Pro Arte Ensemble 2015 Call For Scores award. Her commissioned orchestral work Clear Light (2015), premiered by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March 2015, received its European premieres on tour by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in Geneva, Zürich and Fribourg in October 2015.
Joyce Tang received her master’s degrees in both composition and electro-acoustic music at Hong Kong Baptist University. She also received a PhD in musicology at The University of Hong Kong.
Nora Essman Morrow
Nora Essman Morrow, born in New York City, has been a musician all her life. As a child Morrow composed songs on the guitar and improvised stories at the piano. She attended the Precollege Division of Manhattan School of Music and The High School of Music and Art in NYC.
Her first year of college was at City University of New York where she was introduced to modern dance accompanying through a music and movement class, and then began accompanying modern dance classes in the New York area. She continued her musical studies and dance accompanying at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, The University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Northern Illinois University. Each school had a different focus and specialty so her musical studies included classical, contemporary, electronic, jazz, improvisation and music education. Throughout her college years, Morrow worked with modern and ballet dancers. She also played in an all female jazz quartet.
When she returned to New York she worked at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College and many other dance schools in the area as an accompanist and composer. In 2010 Morrow wrote and produced a CD titled, “Shawna The Bird,” a musical adventure with music that had been commissioned by a children’s modern dance school. Currently residing in the New York area she teaches piano, accompanies dance and composes.
Morrow’s music is evocative, engaging, kinesthetic and visual.
David Maki is a composer and pianist based in the Chicago area. Maki’s compositions have been performed widely at regional, national and international venues by many diverse ensembles and musicians. His music has been described as “fresh and unusual” by All Music Guide, “vivid, languid, introspective” by American Record Guide and “meditative and beautiful” by Fanfare Magazine. Recordings of his music can be found on the Albany Records and Avid Sound Recordings labels.
Maki has substantial experience as a pianist and collaborative artist performing a variety of genres including classical, jazz, lounge, and new music; he has toured Scandinavia twice as pianist with Amerikan Laulajat (Finnish Male Singers of North America).
Currently, Maki is on the faculty of Northern Illinois University, where he is Associate Professor of Music, and serves as Assistant Director and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition in the School of Music. He holds degrees in composition from Northern Illinois University (B.M.), the University of Iowa (M.A.), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A.). His composition teachers include Jan Bach, David Gompper, Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, and Michael Daugherty; his piano teachers include Donald Walker and Logan Skelton.
Craig Madden Morris
Craig Morris has composed music since the age of eleven. He studied composition violin, piano and voice. His compositions include piano sonatas, orchestral suites, a clarinet concerto, a cello rhapsody for cello and orchestra, a concert duet for soprano and tenor, choral compositions and a sacred service for the Sabbath (published in the Journal of Synagogue Music). Two choral pieces were chosen as finalists in the 2010 Meistersingers Choral Competition. His CD DREAMS was released by Ravello Records in 2011 to critical acclaim.Gapplegate Classical Reviews commented “There are times when music may not be ultra-advanced categorically yet be so captivating that one doesn’t care. The composer Craig Madden Morris and his chamber music on the album Dreams (Ravello 7813) gives us such a time. There is lyricism, formal heft, beautifully played parts and an idiomatic craftsmanship/inspiration that makes it all a joy to hear.” His orchestral overture, Lullaby was selected as a winner in the international Ablaze Records Orchestral Masters Competition. It has been described as “fetchingly beautiful, redolent of Bernstein and Copland, and driven with a sure melodic and harmonic hand, this deeply American score paints a lovely and melodic world that is very effectively orchestrated and affectively captivating despite its brevity.” The Benjamin Overture was recorded by the West Point Band. His violin concerto and a suite for strings and percussion, A Child’s Day, were released by Navona Records. He recently completed a Quintet for Strings, December Dawn, and a suite for piano, Sky Glow.
Dr. Morris is a child psychiatrist and a native New Yorker.
Composer Joseph Summer began playing French horn at the age of seven. While attending the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina at age fourteen he studied composition with the eminent Czech composer Karel Husa. At age 15 he was accepted at Oberlin Conservatory, studied with Richard Hoffmann, Schönberg’s amanuensis, and graduated with a BM in Music Composition in 1976. Recruited by Robert Page, Dean of the Music Department at Carnegie Mellon University, Joseph taught music theory at CMU before leaving to pursue composition full time.
For the next twenty years Joseph Summer concentrated his efforts composing a series of comic operas based on the bawdy stories of Boccaccio’s The Decameron. These consist of four completed works: And The Dead Shall Walk The Earth; Courting Disaster; Their Fate In The Hands Of The Friar; and Gianetta. The fifth in a projected cycle of seven: Also Known As is currently in progress.
Summer is currently composing his ever expanding collection of settings of the bard’s ever living texts, which he titles The Oxford Songs, (titled thus due to Summer’s support of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the likely identity of the author also known as William Shakespeare.) In addition to the individual scenes, sonnets, and songs from Shakespeare in The Oxford Songs, Summer completed the opera Hamlet, in 2006 and The Tempest in 2013.
The Shakespeare Concerts
Begun in 2003 with concerts in Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Shakespeare Concerts presents recitals of music inspired by the immortal bard: from original English text settings to settings in translation by composers from the classical period to the 21st century. The mainstay of the series is the music of Joseph Summer, with premieres of two dozen of his four score Oxford Songs; settings, primarily, of text by William Shakespeare. In addition to concert performances, The Shakespeare Concerts is engaged in a long term project recording Shakespearean music. Previously released Recordings include The Tempest (“has something unique to say…(Summer’s) musical language is comfortably tonal but sophisticated, ceaselessly inventive, and often gripping; he’s a vivid musical storyteller. It’s an embarrassment of riches – the marvelous group numbers keep coming, culminating in the penultimate scene which builds to a blazingly celebratory climax… It’s gorgeous.” – Opera News); Full Fathom Five (“I’ll go so far as to say, mindful that one must never declare ‘genius’ too easily, that the more I experience Joseph Summer’s art, the more I am inclined to apply the term” Fanfare Magazine); Orpheus With His Lute Made Trees (“glowing performances… radiant…” American Record Guide); The Fair Ophelia, (“A remarkable recording that contributes to the literary praise of William Shakespeare,” Sonograma Magazine); Shakespeare’s Memory (“21st-century world of kaleidoscopic influences like a beautifully transformed Schubert” Gramaphone); The Garden of Forking Paths, a string quartet by Joseph Summer, based on short stories by Jorge Luis Borges ("This passionate music invites you to dance and makes you feel you cannot refuse. It propels all who hear it into Summer’s and Borges’s fantastic world." Fanfare Magazine); So Many Journeys, (“nothing short of spectacular” American Record Guide); Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day, (“beautifully expressive and deeply emotional” American Record Guide) and our first release: What a Piece of Work Is Man showcasing eleven of Summer’s Oxford Songs, including three Hamlet soliloquies. Much Ado about Nothing, the eleventh recording by The Shakespeare Concerts, featuring the world premiere of a string quartet by Erich Korngold, will be released shortly.
Operas: The Tenor’s Suite; Hippolytus; And The Dead Shall Walk The Earth; Courting Disaster; Their Fate In The Hands Of The Friar; Gianetta; Hamlet;
Vocal music with chamber accompaniment: The Oxford Songs (about 100 settings of Shakespeare and other English language poets for sundry ensembles)
Other music of note: The Garden of Forking Paths (string quartet); Dance of the Mechanics (string quintet); Sonata for cello and piano; The Silver Swan (horn concerto); The Dumb Show (piano sonata)
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Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.
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