ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY
So classical music is dead, huh? Tell that to the outstanding, inspiring, talented, and very much alive composers who were selected for this year’s PARMA Anthology.
I suppose that classical music proper—a style that was identified ex post facto and applied to a particular time period that had a (somewhat) defined beginning and end—is indeed a closed book, not unlike baroque music or for that matter rock & roll or disco (though you don’t often read about people decrying the death of baroque music, do you?).
It seems what we’re really talking about here, at the core of all the hand-wringing and garment-rending about the state of the industry and the changes that both follow and form the direction we all take, is quite simple: music. Not classical, not rap, not free jazz, not country, but just music. Let’s be done with the classifications and stratifications and get down to brass tacks: there are composers who are creating phenomenal works, new amalgamations of styles and genres, new conceptions of form and structure, new methods of expression and execution, and anybody talking about the death of anything is clearly not paying attention.
The criteria for this year’s Anthology were basic and clear: all applicants had to be 30 years old or younger and must actively be studying composition, while the submitted pieces must be scored for 1-4 instruments, using violin, viola, and/or cello and have a duration of no more than 10 minutes.
The reason for this was that we wanted ensembles and performers to have easy access to new compositions such as these, pieces that are modest in size and scope (if not in musical language or ambition), programmable, performable, and optimized for public presentation, and, to paraphrase the old adage about Chicago voting, to play them early and often. After all, music is written to be heard, not to sit on a shelf or in a hard drive… it’s not wine, and doesn’t necessarily become better by sitting in a dark place.
As a final note, I would like to extend a warm congratulations to the Grand Prize Winner of the contest which yielded this collection, Tina Tallon. Tina’s piece selective defrosting is an intense, inspired work which progresses from a glacial stasis to a heated finale, and represents not only the quality of works submitted to the Competition but also the fearlessness which with so many modern composers approach their work and art. As the Grand Prize Winner, selective defrosting was premiered at this year’s inaugural PARMA Music Festival.
PARMA’s goal here, as with all of our projects and recordings and endeavors, is to shine a bright light on music that is engaging and enervating. We’ll leave the categorizations to others.
Enjoy the music!
CEO, PARMA Recordings
ABOUT THE JUDGES
The panel of judges and editor of the 2012 PARMA Student Composer Competition served an invaluable role in the early processes of this Anthology. The scores received for the inaugural competition served as its source material, and were thoroughly vetted for professionalism, innovation, programmability, and performability by editor Chris Brubaker and judges Richard Brooks, John Page, and Timothy Davis.
Timothy A. Davis brings a variety of administrative, corporate, and new music experience to his role as CEO of the Boston New Music Initiative. Recognizing the need for a strong network across musical disciplines, Tim’s motivation in founding BNMI reflects his long-standing commitment to furthering the careers of composers and musicians. He has served as a judge for composition competitions with the National Federation of Music Clubs and on judging panels for BNMI’s Calls for Scores. As an educator, Tim provides private composition instruction, and he worked as an instructor of theory and aural skills at the University of Iowa, where he earned Pi Kappa Lambda honors in graduating with a doctorate in composition in 2009. He also holds degrees from Boston College and the University of Massachusetts.
Sergio Cervetti’s works range from instrumental and vocal music to electronic works that often reflect his South American, French and Italian heritage. His vocabulary draws from an early brush with twelve-tone and minimalism, and his current approach is flexible and free. Critics have said that Cervetti’s style blends folk elements, European tradition, and minimalist aesthetics; they also often comment that his music displays a range of sonorities that are truly novel.
Cervetti, who was born in Uruguay and became a U.S. citizen in 1979, graduated from the Peabody Institute after studying with Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grove; and was subsequently invited by the DAAD to be composer-in-residence in Berlin after winning a Caracas Festival prize for Five Episodes. After taking residence in New York City in 1970 he taught at Brooklyn College, worked for Virgil Thomson, and studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky and Alcides Lanza at Columbia University. In 1972 he joined the faculty of New York University Tisch School of the Arts where he taught music history, composition and choreography until 1997.
Alan Beeler completed his graduate study in theory and composition at Washington University, where he received an M.A. and Ph. D. He studied composition with Robert Wykes, Robert Baker, and Harold Blumenfeld, theory with Leigh Gerdine, and musicology with Lincoln Bunce Spiess and Paul Amadeus Pisk.
Beeler has taught music theory, composition, and oboe at Washington University and Eastern Kentucky University, where he was Professor of Music Theory and Composition. His many compositions include works for solo piano, chorus, chamber ensemble, string orchestra, full orchestra, and voice.
ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY
ABOUT THE JUDGES