Sustain Vol. 2

Solo Piano and Chamber Works

Karen Tarlow composer
Chen-Hsin Su composer
John Craven composer
Gordon Monahan composer
Ron Nagorcka composer
Kenneth A. Kuhn composer
Jim Puckett composer
Sarah Wallin-Huff composer
Bill Sherrill composer
John A. Carollo composer
Santiago Kodela composer

Release Date: April 23, 2021
Catalog #: NV6345
Format: Digital
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano Trio

Two years after the release of SUSTAIN comes the long-anticipated follow-up, SUSTAIN VOL. 2. This fresh collection of works centered around the piano includes a range of contemporary compositional styles: tonal, atonal, and everything in between. This volume features a new cast of composers and performers, with contributions by Sarah Wallin-Huff, Karen Tarlow, Chen-Hsin Su, Bill Sherrill, Jim Puckett, Ron Nagorcka, Gordon Monahan, Kenneth A. Kuhn, Santiago Kodela, John Craven, and John A. Carollo. The album’s varied soundscapes and arrangements—including solo piano, piano and saxophone, and piano and strings—constantly surprise and delight the ear. A fitting sequel to the first installment, SUSTAIN VOL. 2 is steeped in the dynamic complexity piano music offers.


Hear the full album on YouTube

"There are some true gems here"

American Record Guide

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Toccata prestidigita Karen A. Tarlow Randall Hodgkinson, piano 6:13
02 Caprice "Hesitation" Chen-Hsin Su Lucie Kaucká, piano 3:25
03 Turning Up the Heat John Craven Lucie Kaucká, piano 6:22
04 Turkey Track Horizon Gordon Monahan Gordon Monahan, piano 8:05
05 Leaves Ron Nagorcka Randall Hodgkinson, piano 5:10
06 The Journey Is My Home Ron Nagorcka Randall Hodgkinson, piano 3:29
07 Of What Might Have Been Kenneth A. Kuhn Gabriela Diaz, violin; Yoko Hagino, piano 2:10
08 Nocturne Jim Puckett Lucie Kaucká, piano; Pavel Zlámal, tenor saxophone 3:12
09 The Reluctant Carnie Sarah Wallin-Huff Lucie Kaucká, piano 3:25
10 Toccata "Short 'n Sweet" Bill Sherrill Lucie Kaucká, piano 1:03
11 Piano Etudes, Book 1 "Maladies": No. 6, Incystence John A. Carollo Lucie Kaucká, piano 5:53
12 Bewildered Soliloquies (Live) Santiago Kodela Fidelio Trio | Darragh Morgan, violin; Deirdre Cooper, cello; Mary Dullea, piano 5:26

Track 1, 5-7
Recorded July 7, 10, 2020 at Futura Productions in Roslindale MA
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer John Weston
Assistant Engineer (Track 1) Travis Karpak

Track 2-3, 8-9, 10-11
Recorded May 12, 25, September 14, 15, 2020 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Session Producer Vít Mužík
Session Engineer Jan Košulič

Turkey Track Horizon
Recorded July 14 and 23, 2020 at LIVELab, McMaster University in Hamilton ON, Canada
Session Engineer, Editing & Mixing John Oswald
© Gordon Monahan SOCAN

Bewildered Soliloquies
Recorded live July 2019 at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland
Session Producer Michael Riordan
Session Engineer, Mixing Dave McCunne
Session Engineer, Mastering Bob Katz

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis, Quinton Blue, Chris Robinson, Jacob Smith

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Recording Sessions Director Levi Brown
Audio Director, Editing & Mixing (2, 3, 8-11) Lucas Paquette
General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Editing & Mixing (1, 5-7) Brad Michel
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Karen A. Tarlow


Born in the Boston MA area, Karen A. Tarlow now lives in Western Massachusetts and composes music on commission. She has written for a wide range of vocal and instrumental forces, including ballets, solo and chamber works, choral music and music for orchestra. Most recently (2011), she composed a new work for Mak’hela: The Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts; new music for the Da Camera Singers; and completed music for a series of multi-media ballets and puppet shows for children for Picture Book Theatre and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Chen-Hsin Su


Su Chen-Hsin was born in Chiayi City, Taiwan in 1989. He is a licensed doctor who graduated from the Department of Medicine at China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, in 2015. Su has been in psychiatry residency training programs at the Taoyuan Psychiatric Center, Taiwan since August 2017.

John J. Craven


John J. Craven (b.1971) was enthusiastically drawn to listening to classical music, music theater, and popular music as a child. He studied piano and flute and began to compose at age 11. He was a winner in the Fourth International Aaron Copland Competition for Young Composers at age 12. He studied piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music from 1989 to 1991. From 1992 to 1994 he received a B.A. in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa; in 1997 he completed a B.F.A. in music composition at SUNY Purchase. He returned to Peabody in 2009 to receive a M.M. in composition.

Gordon Monahan


Gordon Monahan's works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. As a composer and sound artist, he juxtaposes the quantitative and qualitative aspects of natural acoustical phenomena with elements of media technology, environment, architecture, popular culture, and live performance. The renowned composer John Cage once said, "At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven't heard before."

Ron Nagorcka


Ron Nagorcka (born 1948) composes in his hand-built solar-powered studio in a remote forest in Tasmania (the island state off Australia's south coast) where the natural world provides him with much of his inspiration. He has been exploring both music and nature since his childhood on an Australian sheep farm and studied music - including pipe organ, harpsichord, and composition - at the University of Melbourne and the University of California, San Diego. In the 1970s he was a prominent and influential figure in Melbourne as an innovative composer, teacher, keyboard performer and improviser with electronics. He was also one of the first non-indigenous musicians to master the didjeridu and pioneered its use in classical composition.

Kenneth A. Kuhn


Kenneth A. Kuhn (Ken) (b. 1954) is a retired electrical engineer specializing in electronic circuit design who had the privilege of growing up with a great appreciation of classical music. Over the years classical music enhanced mental skills valuable for Kuhn’s engineering career. Composing music and designing electronic circuits are very interrelated as each enhances the other. He began composing music in his youth in the 1960s and learned how to compose by carefully listening to the many classical composers. His favorite composers include Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Ken composes because, “There is music I want to hear but since no one has written it then I must write it myself.”

Jim Puckett


Jim Puckett is a career Worship Pastor serving in Richardson, Texas. He is an adjunct professor for the Southern Nazarene University College of Professional and Graduate Studies, and an adjunct member of the music faculty at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Sarah Wallin Huff

Sarah Wallin Huff


Sarah Wallin Huff is a music lecturer at California Polytechnic University of Pomona, teaching “History of Technology in Music,” for which she published an original textbook with Great River Learning in 2019. She received her M.A. in Music Composition at Claremont Graduate University in 2008, and was the Professor of Composition and Advanced Theory — as well as conductor of the Chamber Ensemble — at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita from 2012-2016.

Bill Sherrill


When Bill Sherrill (b. 1939) departed for college with piano and voice scholarships, there were fond hopes within his family of a musical career for him. College tennis and the study of Chemistry soon displayed and delayed those hopes. After college and during a working career which included stints as a Naval Flight Officer, Intelligence Officer, and Chief Administrator for large law firms, he kept in touch with music by singing in varied oratorio and symphonic choruses. He retired early to study music and has been composing ever since. He also serves as a Church Musician which provides a ready venue for conducting, composing, and arranging.

John A. Carollo


John A. Carollo was born in Torino, Italy and brought to the United States by his adoptive parents. When he was in grade school, he studied classical piano and sang in the church choir. While attending college in San Diego CA, he studied music and psychology. During this time, Carollo took piano lessons and began composing his first piano works. He graduated from San Diego State University being granted a master’s degree in clinical psychology.

Santiago Kodela

Composer, Guitarist

Santiago Kodela is an award-winning Classical Guitarist & Composer working in the areas of concert, solo instrument, chamber, and choral music. His works explore various aspects of sound and harmony, adventuring intensely into the areas of iso-rhythms, metric modulation, and chord harmonization. In 2022 the album PINNACLE VOL. 2 was awarded the 2nd Prize Silver Medal by North-American Global Music Awards in the classical category. Furthermore, his piece Delicate Soliloquies was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2nd Composition Competition by the Dutch Guitar Foundation by a jury integrated by Steve Goss, JacobTV, and Nikita Koshkin.

Fidelio Trio

Violin, Cello, Piano

The …virtuosic Fidelio Trio… (Sunday Times) are Darragh Morgan, violin, Adi Tal, cello and Mary Dullea, piano. Shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, the Fidelio Trio are enthusiastic champions of the piano trio genre, performing the widest possible range of repertoire on concert stages across the world; they are broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, RTÉ Lyric FM, WNYC, NPR and featured on Sky Arts documentaries; they have an impressive list of commissions and first performances from the leading and newest composers and have a large discography of highly acclaimed recordings.

Their extensive discography includes Ravel and Saint-Saëns for Resonus Classics; Philip Glass Head On; Korngold and Schoenberg (Verklärte Nacht arr. Steuermann) for Naxos; the complete Michael Nyman Piano Trios for MN Records; multiple releases on NMC, Delphian Records including portrait CDs for composers such as Luke Bedford and Michael Zev Gordon. Their recent release of French Piano Trios for Resonus was a Gramophone Magazine Critic’s Choice.

Keen to ensure the future development of the piano trio, The Fidelio Trio work closely with composition and performance students at institutions across the UK and all over the world including the Peabody Conservatory, Curtis Institute, NYU, NAFA Singapore, and Stellenbosch Conservatorium South Africa. They have been artists-in-residence at St. Patrick’s College Dublin City University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and the State University of New York, SUNY.

The Fidelio Trio are constantly commissioning new works, giving first performances, and importantly, further performances to introduce them into the repertory. Composers that the Trio have worked closely with include Toshio Hosokawa, Charles Wuorinen, Johannes Maria Staud, Michael Nyman, Gerald Barry, Donnacha Dennehy, Joe Cutler, Evan Ziporyn, Simon Bainbridge, Judith Weir… to name but few.
Inspirational musicians The Fidelio Trio have collaborated with include Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Richard Watkins (horn), Joan Rodgers and Patricia Rozario (soprano), Rachel Roberts (viola), and with spoken word, author Alexander McCall Smith and T.S. Eliot prizewinning poet Sinéad Morrissey.

2017/18 saw tours of USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe and China, many festival appearances including a Schubert cycle at Kilkenny Arts Festival. Collaborations included new piano trio commissions from Kevin Volans and Alexander Goehr and a world premiere recording of two works by Philip Glass for his label Orange Mountain. They continued their residency at the National Concert Hall in Dublin; undertook a further tour of China and recordings included Gerald Barry’s Chamber Music for Mode Records and a second instalment of French Piano Trios (Chausson, Fauré and Satie) for Resonus Classics. 2018/19 season sees multiple performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto including with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, a further USA East Coast tour, a BBC broadcast recital for Spitalfields Festival and multiple CD releases.

They are Artistic Directors of their annual Winter Chamber Music Festival at Belvedere House, Dublin City University and continue to be passionate in their advocacy for the piano trio across the world.


TOCCATA PRESTIDIGITA (“Fast Fingers”) was originally commissioned by and written for pianist Monica Jakuc Leverett in 1996, with a performing edition finalized in 1998. For this PARMA recording, Toccata is dynamically and excitingly performed by the wonderful pianist Randall Hodgkinson. The approximately seven minute work features traditional Baroque techniques such as quick motor rhythms, invertible counterpoint, and chord patterns. Some more modern elements include a touch of blues, rubato, ragtime syncopations and jazz chord timbres, along with a nod of homage to George Gershwin, all in a broadly suggested sonata form.

— Karen A Tarlow

A melodic and virtuosic piece for piano, in which the original theme is developed in an imaginative manner, interspersed with contrasting themes. The original theme is reproduced and reinforced by chords, and ends with space for imagination.

— Chen-Hsin Su

TURNING UP THE HEAT was first composed in 1999, and has since been revised in 2003, 2008 and in 2020. On the one hand, it is a musical composition that consists of lighthearted playfulness with occasionally mounting dramatic moments. Freer, relaxed ideas can give way to brief bursts of acceleration and drama. Further, sometimes there are elements of jazz combined with pointillistic effects and crisscrossing arpeggios. The larger structure consists of a loose sonata form, (A-B-A´ plus coda) that is pulled by tonal and modal harmonic shifts.

Over the years I have found it puzzling to decipher the meaning of the title and its relationship to the composition. I ask myself: “Turning up the heat” is said often in modern day speech, but what does it mean in relation to the piece? I first thought that perhaps I meant for the title to have little meaning. The title simply came to me. Does the title match the piece? Perhaps Turning Up the Heat can have whatever meaning a listener wants to attribute to it. In fact, perhaps it tells a story that can be different in scope for each listener or performer.

— John Craven

TURKEY TRACK HORIZON utilizes the piano as a sculpture of sound and space, and thus musical landscape, constructing a lyrical and sculptural musical structure by delineating the high, middle and low registers of the piano in both time and space. Thus, the high register is used as an isolated melodic instrument, followed by layered canonic note sequences revealing emerging harmonies that eventually lead to a climactic “downbeat” in the last part of the piece. The overall form of the piece is based on a conceptual abstraction of a syncopated “funk” rhythm, extrapolated to an elongated time-based framework: withholding the metaphorical “downbeat” until the ultimate “four, and,” but the “downbeat,” represented by the low register bass notes of the piano, does not arrive until the last quarter of the entire eight-minute duration of the piece. In this sense, the piano’s low register is used as a sculptural, spatial, and harmonic metaphor for the “rhythmic downbeat” of the entire piece.

Turkey Track Horizon is named for a cowboy history relating to the village of Val Marie, Saskatchewan and the neighboring Grasslands National Park, which was the location of a dance production for which the piece was composed – Bill Coleman’s “Grasslands – Where Heaven meets Earth” (2004). Val Marie lies on the Saskatchewan side of the U.S. border, north of the state of Montana, and was historically the Canadian town serving as a destination for the Great Western Trail of the 19th century, where cowboys drove their cattle from Mexico through Texas, Wyoming and other western states selling the cattle along the way. Heads of cattle were acquired for the cattle drive at the Turkey Track Ranch in the Texas Panhandle, and ranches in southern Saskatchewan are named to commemorate the lore of Turkey Track.

— Gordon Monahan

This piece was commissioned by Shirley West who was inspired by a bible verse:

“In the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2

Shirley also sent me a picture of leaves depicted on the front cover of the piece’s score “as they are special showing God’s handiwork with all the intricate shapes and markings on them.”

The opening measures establish a theme which sets the words “and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations” to a melody. This becomes the theme whose variations are spread widely over the keyboard as the piece progresses. I imagined leaves on a still day, leaves that fly around, leaves that fall or rise.

— Ron Nagorcka

This piece was commissioned by Shirley West and is a Requiem for her brother Robert John Luxmoore (1940-2014). The title is from his haiku:

The Journey is My Home
Arriving and Leaving
Going Nowhere Else

Robert (Bob) Luxmoore (1940-2014) was raised and educated in Adelaide, Australia before earning a PhD in Soil Physics at the University of California Riverside in 1969. He had a 28 year career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee where he researched soils and whole-plant physiology and was recognised as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1988. The theme of the piece is derived from his name.

In 2007 Bob and his wife Annette Watson acquired land nestled between Whetstone Mountain and Little Brushy Mountain in southern Morgan County Tennessee. They placed conservation covenants on the land and, with their neighbors, successfully opposed proposed fracking in the area. Bob was also a gardener, became a vegetable canner, and enjoyed cooking during retirement. He learned numerous bird songs, and followed the spring and autumn bird migrations through parts of eastern Tennessee.

I did not know Bob, but I certainly would have liked to. From the obituary in the newsletter of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and from those at his funeral, I gain the impression of an intelligent, committed, well-loved and slightly eccentric man; in much of his research well ahead of his time. It was an honor to be asked to write something in his memory.

— Ron Nagorcka

This short work is a musical representation of deeply personal feelings of something that might have been but tragically wasn’t. Inspiration came from looking at pictures of the Strnad exhibit at the AEIVA center at The University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2019 concerning the Holocaust and in particular of the picture of Paul and Hedy Strnad who might have become a famous dress designer had she and her husband been able to escape to the United States.

The music is an adaptation of the composer’s Impromptu No.1 for piano transposed down from the original D minor to a darker A minor and also that the violin is not pushed in its upper register. The melody was altered for a very emotional violin performance and the piano part altered for accompaniment with original harmonies changed to bittersweet.

— Kenneth Kuhn

This jazz-influenced duet experiments with chord extensions and textures in the upper and lower range of the tenor saxophone. The simple melody produces memorable lines providing a platform for various chordal colors and intriguing voicing between the two instruments.

The piece was actually composed as a diversion from a larger, more intense project that I was in the middle of composing. I detoured from that project and composed the core of this piece very quickly and it was the perfect antidote for the stress of my larger project. I sought to express both the serenity and the intense “loudness” of the clear, quiet, West Texas night’s sky. Ironically, this “diversion” has, to date, been my most performed work each year receiving performances at multiple conferences and competitions in the United States and Europe, featured by Access Contemporary Music, and is a university recital favorite.

— Jim Puckett

THE RELUCTANT CARNIE is a quirky, vintage-style miniature for solo piano, originally composed in 2017 to accompany various selections of background music for use in a bingo game app. Pianist Randall Hodgkinson has said that the work “is charming, a little Satie sensibility set in the wild west.” While perhaps simple and straightforward in scope, The Reluctant Carnie nevertheless maintains an evocative charm with its sad swagger and temperamental moodiness.

— Sarah Wallin-Huff

This brief piece for piano had its genesis in a graduate composition class as a work assignment. Up to that point I had focused on choral writing, and my new instructor was determined to make me write for any instrument rather than choral! My general goals for this piano work were to keep it energetic, to make it moderately difficult, and hopefully to create a short “showpiece” that could be used as a concert encore.

— Bill Sherrill

PIANO ETUDE NO 6 (INCYSTENCE) was composed for Nathanael May, pianist, who recorded my Piano Suite No. 2 in 5 movements on Volere. He was suffering from a nasty cyst as I was composing a set of 6 piano etudes that make a book called “Maladies.” As I was beginning to compose the first work my friends were beset with maladies, hence the title of the Book of Etudes. This study requires constant fluidity in both hands. Perhaps one of my most difficult to master works, the performer should instill a sense of motion and energy that confirms its musical nature.

— John A. Carollo

BEWILDERED SOLILOQUIES draw inspiration from the amazing corners of the human mind. Each instrument represents a soliloquy, a unique and distinguishable voice. The junction of these compounds into a musical discourse. A conversation both dazzling and perfectly familiar. The voices echo thoughts that meander and replicate freely within the mind. Sometimes in perfect synchronization, but mostly at its own pace and frequency.

— Santiago Kodela


Toccata Prestidigita (excerpt)

Karen A. Tarlow


Su Chen-Hsin

Turning Up The Heat (excerpt)

John Joseph Craven

Turkey Track Horizon

Gordon Monahan


Ron Nagorcka

The Journey is My Home

Ron Nagorcka

The Reluctant Carnie

Sarah Wallin Huff

Bewildered Soliloquies

Santiago Kodela

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