Bowed Colors 2

solo & chamber works

Paul Osterfield composer
Sean Hickey composer
Joseph Gregorio composer
Christopher Jessup composer
Deon Nielsen Price composer
Heidi Jacob composer
Jonathan Sheffer composer

Brett Deubner viola
Allison Brewster Franzetti piano

Release Date: April 14, 2023
Catalog #: NV6517
Format: Digital
21st Century
Solo Instrumental

On BOWED COLORS 2, violist Brett Deubner tackles a vibrant collection of Bach-inspired compositions for the viola. A bonafide virtuoso of international acclaim, Deubner set his sights on the works of seven American composers, and the result is a dynamic album of showstoppers for the alto voice of the string family. Baroque structure unites with contemporary fervor in this program, and Deubner’s solo viola (occasionally accompanied by piano) entwines both, brimming with vigor and precision.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Ablaze Paul Osterfield Brett Deubner, viola 6:08
02 Longitude Sean Hickey Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 7:25
03 Suite: I. Lament Joseph Gregorio Brett Deubner, viola 3:51
04 Suite: II. Air Joseph Gregorio Brett Deubner, viola 3:43
05 Suite: III. Jig Joseph Gregorio Brett Deubner, viola 2:55
06 Suite for Viola and Piano: I. Introduction Christopher Jessup Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 2:18
07 Suite for Viola and Piano: II. Interlude Christopher Jessup Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 1:02
08 Suite for Viola and Piano: III. Scherzo Christopher Jessup Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 2:18
09 Suite for Viola and Piano: IV. Vocalise Christopher Jessup Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 1:44
10 Suite for Viola and Piano: V. Conclusion Christopher Jessup Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 3:08
11 Stile Antico for Solo Viola: I. Chromos Deon Nielsen Price Brett Deubner, viola 3:08
12 Stile Antico for Solo Viola: II. Tonos Deon Nielsen Price Brett Deubner, viola 4:05
13 Stile Antico for Solo Viola: III. Concitato Deon Nielsen Price Brett Deubner, viola 2:22
14 Metamorphosis I Heidi Jacob Brett Deubner, viola; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano 8:07
15 Short/Suite: I. Toccata Jonathan Sheffer Brett Deubner, viola 5:53
16 Short/Suite: II. Sarabande Jonathan Sheffer Brett Deubner, viola 2:56
17 Short/Suite: III. Rondo Jonathan Sheffer Brett Deubner, viola 1:54

Recorded September 9-12, 2022 at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon NY
Producer Brad Michel
Engineer Ryan Streber

Editing, Mixing & 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
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

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

Artist Information

Paul Osterfield


Composer Paul Osterfield was born in Nashville TN in 1973. Spending his formative years in Northeast Ohio, he composed and performed as a cellist throughout middle school and high school, in addition to studying violin, piano, and conducting. His early efforts as a composer were recognized in 1990, when the United States Copyright Office and the Library of Congress awarded Osterfield first prize in their Young Creators’ Contest. The following year, that winning work was performed by the Cleveland Orchestra on their Family Key Concert Series.

Sean Hickey


Born in Detroit MI in 1970, Sean Hickey’s earliest music education began at age 12 with an electric guitar, a Peavey amp, and a stack of Van Halen records (the early ones of course). He studied jazz guitar at Oakland University, later graduating with a degree in composition and theory from Wayne State University. His primary instructors were James Hartway, James Lentini, and Leslie Bassett. After moving to New York, Hickey pursued further studies with Justin Dello Joio and Gloria Coates. His works include a symphony (Olympus Mons), concertos for clarinet, cello and mandolin, two string trios, a string quartet, a flute sonata, a woodwind quintet and trio, numerous pieces for solo instruments, church, theater and orchestral music.

Joseph Gregorio


Composer and conductor Joseph Gregorio has received commissions from ACDA, Cantus, The Esoterics, and Choral Chameleon, and was awarded a 2015 Commissioning Grant from the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music. Gregorio’s music is published by Areté Music Imprints, E.C. Schirmer Music Company, Walton Music, and Imagine Music Publishing. He is the director of choirs at Swarthmore College and was the founding director of Ensemble Companio, which he led from 2011-2016 and which won the 2012 American Prize in choral performance. Gregorio has also served as assistant conductor of the San Francisco Bach Choir and has taught music theory and musicianship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Temple University.

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.

Deon Nielsen Price


The deep humanitarian concerns that permeate much of Deon Nielsen Price’s music is represented in her duo War Ends-Song Endures, a tribute to the valiant spirit of Ukrainians, premiered in 2023 at the Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention in Texas by flutist Rik Noyce and commissioning pianist Mary Au. Named the "Tom Brady of Composers" (New York Times 12/24/2022), Price feels honored to represent octogenarian composers who are still professionally active. During her truly banner year of 2023, several long-term projects came to fruition with premier performances, album releases, new recording sessions, and two compositions that were finalists for The 2023 American Prize: Ludwig’s Letter to Eternal Beloved, song cycle in the category Vocal Chamber Music; and Ammon and the King, Immigrant Speaks Truth to Power in the Opera/Theater category.

Heidi Jacob


Heidi Jacob’s music has been described by BBC Magazine as “compositions ...of complex mesmerizing beauty,” by David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a musical adventurer,” and by Gramophone Magazine as music with “.....forthright expressiveness [that] exposes a multitude of stylistic associations.” A composer, cellist, and conductor, she is a graduate of both the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, with a D.M.A. in composition from Temple University. She has performed as a cellist throughout the United States and Europe and has recorded as a cellist and conductor for the Capstone Records, Albany Records, and Navona Records.

Jonathan Sheffer


Jonathan Sheffer is a Grammy-nominated composer and conductor whose diverse career in music spans the worlds of classical, opera, dance, and film and television. Born in New York City, Sheffer graduated from Harvard University, where his teachers included Leonard Bernstein, and later attended The Juilliard Extension School and the Aspen School of Music. Sheffer’s range of works comprises television and feature film scores, works for orchestra, solo piano, concertos, musicals, and short operas. In addition to several scores for Hollywood films, including Encino Man, Pure Luck, A Shallow Grave and others, his most recent films include the documentaries Mann v. Ford (HBO) and the German/Israeli film, The Decent One, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.

Brett Deubner


Born in San Francisco, violist Brett Deubner has established himself as one of the foremost violists of his generation. As a sought after soloist who has performed with orchestras on five continents, Deubner has redefined the role of “solo artist” and has given the viola a new standing in the world of classical music with his virtuosity, commitment to championing new music, and his mentoring tomorrow’s young artists.

Allison Brewster Franzetti


The 2014 and 2018 Latin GRAMMY® Nominee for Best Classical Album and 2008 GRAMMY® Nominee for Best Instrumental Soloist without Orchestra, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti has received international acclaim from critics and audiences alike for her stunning virtuosity and musicality, both as a soloist and chamber musician. Her performances include the live Latin GRAMMY® Awards television broadcast, the GRAMMY® Awards Classical Music Tribute to Earl Wild and Lang Lang at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, the Robert Schumann Festival at the Marcella Sembrich Museum in Lake George NY, the Campeche Festival in Mexico, and at the opening of the VI International Festival of Music at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


I composed Ablaze for violist Diana Mathews, who requested a piece that would be a “show-stopper.” The ritornello sections are fast, frantic, and loud, as if on fire. The intervening episodes contrast with the main idea, but there is still an underlying sense of urgency, like embers striving to erupt in a full blaze.

— Paul Osterfield

Longitude, a single-movement work for viola and piano, was commissioned by violist and composer Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, and premiered by her and Juan Carlos Fernandez-Nieto in January 2014 at the former’s Master’s recital at the Manhattan School of Music. Later in the month it had its public premiere at the Czech Center, also in New York. The pair went on to perform the work several times over the next few years. This is its recording premiere.

I’ve often found inspiration in extra-musical concepts in nature and science that have altered our world. The discovery of longitude – a geographic coordinate of an east-west position – was one of the great discoveries of the past half-century. Though first postulated by the ancient Greeks, it wasn’t until 18th-century English produced the chronometer that the earth would be draped by invisible meridians that allowed for easier travel and a uniform way of telling time once adopted.

I’ve also found inspiration from the winsome and cloying sound of the viola, and have written a fair amount for the instrument. This is the first such work dedicated to it, and where the piano part is of equal – or near-equal – importance. It is cast in a broad single-movement that features sonorous, double-stopped chords on the viola.

I am honored to have this work recorded by two of my favorite musicians and dear friends, Brett Deubner and Allison Brewster-Franzetti, each of whom are dedicated to exposing the work of contemporary composers and building their respective careers around a living, breathing modern repertoire.

— Sean Hickey

Suite was born out of a 2005 collaboration called “The Viola Project” between the departments of Viola Performance and Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music – a partnership that paired composers with violists for whom they were to write new works. I wrote Suite for violist Wendy Clymer, who premiered it in 2005. I revised the piece in 2010 to expand the “Jig,” which I had come to feel was too short in its previous incarnation (it used to end at what is now the fine). The first movement, “Lament,” is free in tempo and meter, with ornaments that evoke ululations. “Air,” the second movement, conjures the mood of a gentle country folk song. The final movement, “Jig,” is a metrically lopsided takeoff on the traditional “gigue” that often concluded solo suites of the past.

— Joseph Gregorio

Suite for Viola and Piano is an homage to Sergei Prokofiev. In this piece, I emulated Prokofiev’s unique way of juxtaposing thorny textures with warm, cantabile melodies. The piece starts off with a dramatic fanfare, the viola and piano both competing for the spotlight and refusing to let one outshine the other. Next, a brief yet haunting “Interlude” serves as a springboard into a giddy “Scherzo.” This is starkly contrasted by a poignant “Vocalise” for solo piano, the viola standing somberly in silence. Finally, things come to a thrilling close in the fiery “Conclusion” with an ending that is sure to give listeners a jolt.

– Christopher Jessup

While pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California, with the program’s heavy emphasis on Western musical history, I was immersed in the music theory of ancient Greece, and in exploring musical examples from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Fascinated by contemporary possibilities using the ancient tetrachords, I expounded on the chromatic tetrachord in “Chromos” and used five of the diatonic tetrachords in the folk-type melodies of “Tonos.” The third movement, “Concitato” is inspired by the agitated style developed by Monteverdi in the early 17th Century to depict battle scenes and intense emotions, as in his “Il Combattimento de Tancredi e Clorinda.” Monteverdi uses rapid quatrains of repeated sixteenth notes to portray excitement, whereas my tempestuous repetitions are in contemporary irregular groupings of 5’s and 7’s.

At the same time, I was collaborating with cellist Eugene Bondi, a member of the esteemed USC Gregor Piatigorsky Masterclass. I composed Stile Antico in 1975, for Eugene and unbeknown to me he took it to the masterclass where the entire session was spent dissecting the work. Mr. Piatigorsky even added two notes to introduce the second movement, “Tonos.” A few days later, when I happened to meet Mr. Piatigorsky walking across the campus, I introduced myself as the composer of Stile Antico. He responded that the work is very fine and that the class had a good time with it. Eugene always referred to the “fast and wild” passage in the first movement, “Chromos,” as being yapping dogs! That passage occurs four times in the movement, the 1) original, 2) retrograde, 3) inverted, and 4) retrograde inversion.

With her insistence in 1990 that I arrange the work for violin, Ayke Agus performed it on national and international tours throughout the 1990’s with the Echosphere Quartet. She added the plucked notes in the second movement “Tonos” that, along with the melody and drone on the open strings, allow the soloist to play a three-part texture.

The first performance of Stile Antico for Solo Viola was by David Walther, violist with The Debussy Trio, on their concert produced by the National Association of ComposersUSA Los Angeles Chapter in Hollywood CA on January 23, 2012.

— Deon Nielsen Price

Originally for Cello and Piano, Metamorphosis I is arranged for Viola and Piano, following a rich tradition of transcriptions of music for viola that were originally for cello.* The work juxtaposes two contrary compositional impulses from the 20th and 21st century; techniques from minimalism and, broadly speaking, serialism. The opening piano gradually introduces the 12-note row that appears again in double stops by the viola. The row is loosely used throughout the work, most prominently in the dissonant middle portion composed of repeated and evolving minimalist rhythmic and melodic cells. The rows original, retrograde and retrograde inversion forms are presented in a lyrical fashion to conclude the work over quasi- tonal, triadic textures.

*While the obvious registral changes of an octave above were made; some notes, articulations and other changes vary from the original version for cello.

— Heidi Jacob

Short/Suite was composed on a commission from the Swedish soprano saxophonist Anders Paulsson, part of a commissioning program he began during COVID. His aim was to create a cohort of composers willing to donate work that would generate income from Facebook to support artists whose income was severely depressed by the pandemic.

My reference for a solo work was the Bach violin sonatas and partitas. Stylistically, the piece moves forward in time. In the first movement, “Toccata,” I wanted to see if I could create a work in a tonal universe, restricting myself to one key. Like Ravel in his Bolero, I was able to maintain that until the very last, when an urge to modulate became overpowering. In the second movement, “Sarabande,” a floating melody in triple time, no phrase is ever repeated. And the “Rondo” last movement is a brief attack of atonality.

When a call came for scores from Brett, with Bach as inspiration, I suggested this work, knowing I would have to make numerous small adjustments to fit the viola: the keys, some leaps, articulation. All have been remade to reflect the technical needs of a string player.

— Johnathan Sheffer

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