Dimensions Vol. 4

Works for Orchestra

Liova Bueno composer
Keith Lay composer
Octavian Nemescu composer
Ashlee T Busch composer
James Lentini composer
Christopher Jessup composer

Brno Contemporary Orchestra
Pavel Šnajdr conductor

Release Date: March 24, 2023
Catalog #: NV6506
Format: Digital
21st Century

DIMENSIONS VOL. 4 gathers together a diverse collection of works for large ensemble by six lauded contemporary composers. These powerful yet intimate creations expand the boundaries of traditional chamber music while preserving the unique timbre of each individual instrument. The collection includes works like Shallow Streams by Ashlee T Busch, in which quick-moving wind, string, and percussion lines dance over the calm “riverbed” of the piano. A Distant Place by James Lentini employs eight instruments including harp and guitar to portray the driving spirit that compels us to chase our dreams. Meanwhile, Piccola Serenata from composer Liova Bueno is a 21st-century take on a style of music composed and performed in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, intended as light entertainment at social gatherings. These are just a few examples of the sheer breadth of DIMENSIONS VOL. 4.


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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Piccola Serenata Liova Bueno Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 7:49
02 Children on the Playground: Joyful Play Keith Lay Milan Paľa, violin; Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 5:44
03 Children on the Playground: Yearning Keith Lay Milan Paľa, violin; Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 6:43
04 Children on the Playground: Follow the Leader Keith Lay Milan Paľa, violin; Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 5:13
05 Cristiascensiocello Octavian Nemescu Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 8:11
06 Shallow Streams Ashlee T Busch Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 7:57
07 A Distant Place: I. Secret Nights James Lentini Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 5:39
08 A Distant Place: II. Journey to a Dream James Lentini Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 6:30
09 Svítání Christopher Jessup Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 6:00

Recorded April 27-38, May 31, June 21, August 16-17, 2022 at Janáček Theatre Recording Studio in Brno, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Assistant Session Engineer Lukáš Nabělek (1, 5, 6, 7)

Editing, Mixing
Lucas Paquette (1, 6)
Jan Košulič (2-4, 9)
Melanie Montgomery (5, 7-8)

Additional Editing
Ethan Fields (1)
Melanie Montgomery (1, 2-4)
Lucas Paquette (9)

Mastering Brad Michel

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Sullivan, Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Assistant Martina Watzková

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

Artist Information

Liova Bueno

Liova Bueno


Liova Bueno's music is performed in concerts and music festivals internationally, from Europe to the United States and across Canada to countries in Central and South America. He has received commissions from and has collaborated with various ensembles, including Cuarteto de Bellas Artes (Mexico), Vox Humana Chamber Choir (Victoria, BC), the Victoria Choral Society (Victoria, BC), the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Brno Contemporary Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Illinois Modern Ensemble (Illinois), the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Juvenil and members of the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional (Dominican Republic), and members of the Victoria Symphony. He has worked with various conductors and soloists including Ovidiu Marinescu, Noreen Cassidy-Polera, Darwin Aquino, Stanislav Vavrinek, Pavel Šnajdr, Brian Wismath, Pierre Strauch, Mark McGregor, and the Dunn/Ward Duo. 

Keith Lay


The New York Times' head critic Anthony Tommasini raved about Keith Lay as "a composer to watch for," and Gramophone magazine has described his music as "unapologetically emotional.” Lay explains, "My life's goal is to share my reverent wonder about sound and the connections to our nature made available through listening. Every new piece is a joyful opportunity to construct a fresh musical method, technique, or invention."

Octavian Nemescu


Octavian Nemescu (1940-2020) was born in Pascani (Romania). He studied composition with Mihail Jora at the Conservatory of Music in Bucharest, obtained the Ph.D. in Musicology in 1978, at the Conservatory in Cluj, under the guidance of Sigismund Toduta. The title of his doctoral thesis was: “The Semantic Capacities Of Music,” published as a book, at Editura Muzicala Publishing House, Bucharest, 1983. He was an assistant and then lecturer at Brasov University (School of Music) between 1970-1978.

Ashlee T. Busch


Ashlee T. Busch is a composer, performer, remixer, arranger, and educator based in Grand Rapids MI. Busch most enjoys collaborating with other artists in poetry, dance, installation art, video, and more. Such collaborations have included residencies with East Coast and Midwest universities, as an artist with Grammy-award-winning PARMA Recordings, publishing with mixed ensemble music education publisher Leading Tones LLC, publishing with digital choral music company Zintzo LLC, and collaborations with ensembles premiering her works across the United States.

James Lentini


Award-winning composer and classical guitarist James Lentini is a recipient of the Andrés Segovia International Composition Prize, the Atwater-Kent Composition Award (first prize), the McHugh Composition Prize, a grant from "Meet the Composer," a Hanson Institute of American Music composer-performer grant, and multiple awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Christopher Jessup


American composer and pianist Christopher Jessup is an award-winning artist of formidable prowess. Jessup has garnered international acclaim, with critics praising his “imaginative handling of atmosphere” [Fanfare Magazine] and “high standard of technique” [New York Concert Review]. Furthermore, he has performed at Carnegie Hall countless times, soloed with distinguished orchestras across the globe, and collaborated with some of the finest artists and ensembles of our time.

Brno Contemporary Orchestra

Brno Contemporary Orchestra


The Brno Contemporary Orchestra (BCO) was founded in 2011 with the aim of performing the world’s contemporary music and selected 20th-century works in Czechia and Czech music throughout the world. The ensemble includes top-level professional musicians employed in the leading Czech orchestras. It draws on a large pool of permanent collaborators who perform in various lineups according to the needs of each project.

Pavel Šnajdr


Pavel Šnajdr is a Czech conductor and composer. He is a graduate of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU), Brno in composition (which he studied with Alois Piňos) and conducting (with Emil Skoták). Beyond working with symphony orchestras, he has been engaged by music theatres including the J.K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, the Prague State Opera and the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, and currently conducts opera at the National Theatre in Brno.


Piccola Serenata (Small Serenade) is a 21st-century take on the type of pieces composed and performed in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, intended as light entertainment at social gatherings. Such pieces typically contained a variety of contrasting themes: as inspired by this style, Piccola Serenata contains many shifts in mood—some subtle and some surprising. Melodies and harmonic language are played with in ways intended to evoke the sounds of the past in a modern setting, but with various elements designed to tickle the ear as the listener is led along a meandering musical path.

The initial ‘seed motif’ begins as a searching, sweeping call-and-response between violin and cello, over a rhythmically textured backdrop filled with growing urgency. As the motive continues to develop, it is at times almost at rest, only to be swept up again in various forms: comedic quirkiness gradually becoming surreal and unsettled; soulful meandering towards the temptation of repose; brooding attempts to find its way yet again on the twisting path. The first theme’s triumphant re-appearance leads to a shimmering, intense climax only to dissolve once more into motivic tendrils. A satisfying—although possibly unexpected—end to the excursion awaits…

“Joyful Play”
Our violin soloist, Milan Pala, portrays an eight-year-old alpha kid leading a mini-mob of friends, the string orchestra, on a playground. They are conjuring up something grand and vivid together. Each of the five sections of the orchestra (Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, and Bass) represents a friend in the group. The soloist leads, sparks, and inspires these other kids’ imaginations into a pretend game. Collaborating in their competition of ideas and prowess, they whip their shared story into something hugely dramatic, with roles rich with megalomaniacal glory so typical of kids. The cadenza leads them back down to near reality, and the fun continues with a recapitulation of the opening themes. Milan imbues this first movement with boyish, almost puckish, uncontainable energy.

The second, slow movement, “Yearning,” leads us on a solitary, inward journey of soaring reflection and feeling. The tender melancholy and loss of childhood we feel as we move into adolescence begs for alone time in nature. Sunsets embody the profound beauty of letting go; the slow disappearance of their warm colors symbolizes the acceptance of what is. The luminous sonorities of diatonic clusters come and go like brilliant layers of clouds at multiple altitudes. Milan’s sweeping solo phrases fly through those clouds, seeking warmth from the sun’s orb—a delicate, soaring deliverance. Finally, the ensemble pushes upward with a final, intense climb to the highest altitude tremolo. Answered with a soothing release and falling into rest, “Yearning” ends with Milan’s final harmonic, which connects, attacca, into the last movement.

“Follow The Leader”
The last movement, “Follow the Leader,” is, as it sounds, a fast frolic based upon a kids’ taunt known worldwide. Back with his friends on the playground, Milan cajoles and sometimes runs away from the group, taunting them to follow. They chase him but a single step behind, imitating his every turn. Carefully timed entrances avoid each voice stepping on the next, producing a close, stretto canon, like a flock of finches in flight. Each chase ends in a section of happy chaos of chatter and assessment, providing a clear rondo form. If you listen, you’ll find out if they ever caught Milan or not.

Children On The Playground was composed in 2000 for my friend, Alex Dean, who premiered it with the United States Air Force String Orchestra on August 28, 2002. That year, it won the Riverside International Composition Contest for reading in New York City. A few years later, it was chosen from a select pool of 20 winning entries from a field of 500 submissions over 11 years to win the Riverside Grand Prize. That Lincoln Center concert, performed by their beloved concertmaster, Cenovia Cummins, and conducted by George Rothman, enjoyed a rave review by The New York Times head music critic Anthony Tommasini.

— Keith Lay

Cristiascensiocello is probably the first piece composed for and dedicated to Octavian’s son, Cristian Nemescu. I think that, maybe, all his works from 2007 until his death was dedicated to Cristian.

Cristian (Cristi, as we call him) was our single son, a very gifted young director who, in 2006, age of 27, worked on his first feature film: California Dreamin’. After a long series of awards obtained in different festivals for short films, he had the opportunity to direct his first feature. And he was very happy and passionate about his work. On August 24 a car involved in an illegal race destroyed the life and dreams of three wonderful young men who regularly traveled in a taxi. Three families cried in despair—a mourning which, for some of them, never stopped. Octavian Nemescu could no longer tell anything about his son without crying out loud. So, the great cycles “The Book of Hours” and “The Music of the Minutes of a Fatal Hour” are dedicated to his memory, as well as a lot of works composed in the meantime.

CristiAscensioCello is a “lamento.” It contains sadness and despair, questioning and anger…and, at the end, you may notice a pale hint of a flute intervention from The Mamas & The Papas’s “California Dreamin’ ” – a goodbye to Cristi!

— Erica Nemescu

In the summer of 2015, I came across some old photos from a very special trip I took with my parents when I was 10. We drove up from Los Angeles to a lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and spent a week in the little valley where my parents had met each other back in the 1980s. One day, my dad and I hiked up the mountain trail until we reached the top of a little stream. We grabbed some walking sticks off the side of the trail, slung our shoes over our backs, and waded into the shallow water.

Over the next several hours we tripped and fell and slid down the stream until it reached the wide, deep lake. This is one of my most cherished childhood memories. When considering how to make a piece of music out of this memory, I wanted to recapture the organic devolution of the stream as it made its way down the mountain.

It began small, shallow, and quick–skipping its way over the rocks. By its end, it had calmed and spread itself wide across overflowing banks. It was such a mirror image of myself at that moment—I remember this light-hearted and jovial time of my childhood from the perspective of an adult.

Shallow Streams begins just like its namesake—quick-moving lines in all instruments over a steady, reliable riverbed in the piano line. The winds, strings, and percussion perform short phrases of different metric lengths that come together and break apart like water. Every once in a while, the lines match together as both the music and water thicken to signal their next stages of evolution. By the time we reach the end of the piece, each line is slow, melodious, and richly interweaving harmonically —the stream finally reaching the lake.

Shallow Streams is dedicated to my mother and father, Sharon and Donald Busch.

— Ashlee T Busch

A Distant Place is a chamber work for eight instruments that include flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, harp, and guitar. I chose the instruments carefully, with primary consideration given to individual and combined timbral possibilities. Though this is not a concerto, the guitar is featured in several solo passages and carries much of the thematic content of the piece. The title refers to distant places, real or imagined, that we remember from our past, or would like to visit in our future. The “places” can be geographical locations or internal states of being. Often, when we think of a particular time and place in our past, we can remember or “feel” the psychological state of mind we were in at that time. When we dream of a place we have never been, perhaps in our future, we sometimes imagine what it would look and feel like, as well as how we would relate to our imagined surroundings.

The first movement, “Secret Nights,” is a remembrance of times past growing up in the Midwest, when I would often spend many hours alone in the evening, practicing the guitar, or composing music. I remember the peaceful feeling I had at those times, dreaming of what the future might hold, and where it would lead me. Those thoughts determined many aspects of this movement, including the decision to begin and end with solos for the guitar.

The second and final movement, “Journey to a Dream,” was inspired by my recollection of moving to Los Angeles, which for many Midwesterners, is a dream in itself. Dreams, however, have a way of being different than you imagined them when they finally become realities—not in a positive or negative way, but in ways that are unpredictable. Though I don’t consider this movement to be programmatic in any specific sense, the intent is to portray the driving spirit that one must have when pursuing their desired dreams.

— James Lentini

Named after the Czech word for “sunrise,” composer Christopher Jessup’s Svítání opens up with suspenseful interplay between winds and piano, a tension that builds throughout and gives way to a grandiose ending. While Svítání appears to serve as a musical simulation of a dark night transitioning to daybreak, Jessup hopes this piece will speak for itself, and that its listeners will find their own meaning in the music.