David Amram – So in America will be released on March 16, 2018

The phenomenon of legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist DAVID AMRAM defies easy definitions. Always ahead of his time in anything that he created, and immersed in jazz, folk, world music, film and theater music, as well as in contemporary classical music, he was praised by The Washington Post as “one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced”, while The Boston Globe hailed him as “the Renaissance man of American music”, and The New York Times proclaimed him “multicultural before multiculturalism existed”. Being first and being ahead of his time comes naturally to David Amram – a pioneer of the jazz French Horn who simultaneously amassed the highest number of performances of the Brahms Horn Trio, while fascinating the crowds at folk and world music festivals, writing several books, composing scores for films and plays, touring worldwide, collaborating with iconic figures like Jack Kerouac, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Eugene Ormandy, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Betty Carter, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Paquito D’Rivera and Tito Puente, and at the same time also making his mark as a celebrated prolific composer of classical music, having written over 100 works in the symphonic, operatic and chamber music genres. “Being first” also came into play when Leonard Bernstein appointed David Amram as the first ever composer-in-residence of the New York Philharmonic. Being “ahead of his time” also led David Amram to pioneer, together with Jack Kerouac, the first ever Jazz/Poetry readings in New York City in 1957. Amram’s legacy is a huge collection of so many milestones and inroads, that have established him as not only one of the most eclectic composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, but also as a guiding light, role model and enormous source of inspiration for younger generations.

This album presents selected chamber music compositions written by David Amram between 1958 and 2017, and includes four world premiere recordings. The internationally-acclaimed performers – violinist Elmira Darvarova, saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky, pianist Thomas Weaver, violist Ronald Carbone, cellist Samuel Magill, The New York Piano Quartet and The Amram Ensemble – all of them devoted champions of Amram’s music, are joined on this album by David Amram who accompanies.

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New Release: “Songs of Darkness and Hope” by The Messalonskee Public Schools Choral Program

“Songs of Darkness and Hope” was the culmination of a project conceived and created by choral music teacher Pam Rhein of the Meesalonskee Public Schools – Rural School Unit #18 in Oakland Maine for the “Shoah Student Education Initiative” of the Maine State Holocaust and Human Rights Center in the state capital of Augusta. The songs are composed from poems written by interred children found on the walls of concentration camps after WW2, along with a few camp work songs found in the Center’s historical archives.

Sung by over 400 students from 5th grade through high school, combined choirs and select auditioned choirs conducted by high school choral teacher Kevin Rhein, the creation of this album was a moving experience in education which changed the lives of those involved, students and teachers alike, many of whom were moved to tears upon hearing the preproduction master. Both Pam and Kevin Rhein, husband and wife, were selected as Maine State Music Teacher of the Year. The uniqueness of this album is due to many aspects relating to the holocaust and human rights, so very important in our world today. It is safe to say that few albums of this nature and significance have ever been produced in such a rural school district, with some of the pieces stunningly performed due to the quality of the music educators in this school district.

Available now at Amazon.

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New Release: “Provenance” by the Kinnara Ensemble / J.D. Burnett

The past two decades have marshaled an upspringing of professional choral ensembles in the United States, enriching the artistic environment for choral music lovers and professional singers alike. A product of that new landscape, the fully professional Kinnara Ensemble has forged a bold path in the busy musical marketplace in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Kinnara Ensemble was founded in the fall of 2008 by a handful of recent Westminster Choir College alumni who missed the musical fulfillment they enjoyed as students. Ten years later, Kinnara Ensemble, comprising singers from throughout the nation, releases this album commemorating our provenance and the ensuing path of musical and human exploration. Kinnara Ensemble strives to honor the capacious choral tradition – that rich inheritance – with exemplary choral experiences that speak to the modern soul.

Kinnara Ensemble’s first album, Provenance, is a bold step out for this recent arrival on the choral scene. The ensemble tackles a wide array of choral repertoire: di Lasso, Brahms, Poulenc, Paulus… and the austere, stunning, and rarely recorded Lamentations of Jeremiah by Alberto Ginastera.

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New Release: “Infinite Piazzolla” by Quinteto del Fuego

Quinteto del Fuego consists of five internationally renowned artists, whose artistic accomplishments place each one of them among the very best of their generation. Stéphane Chapuis (bandoneon), Elmira Darvarova (violin), Lionel Monnet (piano), George Vassilev (guitar) and Irina-Kalina Goudeva (double bass) are fantastic virtuosos of their instruments who bring exquisite musicianship, refined taste and sublime perfection to their mesmerizing charismatic interpretations.

The triumphal success of their concerts in Europe and the United States has solidified the reputation of Quinteto del Fuego as one of the very rare formations which cherish every note of the musical conversation connecting and binding them to the extreme core of the composers they champion. Their unrestrained passion for Astor Piazzolla’s music, coupled with their unerring instincts and deeply-felt affinity for the composer’s intentions, allow them to intertwine their individual vision with the unique original idea of the composer, resulting in unprecedentedly high-voltage performances and electrifying interpretative achievements. This is their debut CD recording of masterpieces by Astor Piazzolla on Affetto/Naxos.

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New Release: Peace Worshipers – Amjad Ali Khan

Peace Worshipers

PEACE WORSHIPERS represents the culmination of a collaboration between Amjad Ali Khan, the Titan of the sarod, straddling two centuries, universally venerated as one of the greatest living Indian musicians in any genre; his sons, disciples and widely acclaimed sarod virtuosi in their own right, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash; and the distinguished American violinist Elmira Darvarova, herself a historical figure as the first woman concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York. This recording emerges from Amjad Ali Khan’s deep and long abiding commitment to peace and tolerance both in the larger world as well as in the smaller communities of city, neighborhood, and the circles of family and friends – a commitment which has taken him to the United Nations and the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo as well as the greatest concert halls and performing venues around the world.

This album is the fruit of an approach that these artists have championed in their trilogy of collaborative recordings, SOUL STRINGS, then AMALGAM and now PEACE WORSHIPERS – boldly sharing their respective traditions and genres with each other while keeping the integrity and character of those traditions intact and exploring the idiom and styles of the other with fearless, ferocious energy and generous enthusiasm. In this final volume, alongside the compositions of Amjad Ali Khan, are works from regional folk traditions in India and Europe.

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New Release: Phillip Ramey – “Music for French Horn”

Widely recognized as one of the world’s best horn players, Philip Myers also inspired as well as commissioned most of the pieces on this historically significant album with world premieres of horn music by American composer Phillip Ramey, whose works have been performed by such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and whose Horn Concerto (with Philip Myers as soloist) was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for their 150th anniversary.

This release presents world premieres of works for solo horn, for two horns, and for horn in different combinations with piano and/or violin, stunningly performed by hornists Philip Myers and Howard Wall, whose long-time partnership as New York Philharmonic musicians extends into fantastic chamber music collaboration, also including splendid contributions by pianist Virginia Perry Lamb and violinist Elmira Darvarova (a former Metropolitan Opera concertmaster). Some of the works are newly recorded, while others are only now receiving their premiere on CD after first performances over twenty years ago, with the Trio Concertant  recorded live, and the Dialogue,  and the Sonata-Ballade  restored from archival material. All of the works on this disc are magnificently performed contributions to the horn repertoire.

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