2019 was one for the books, and we’re already forging ahead into a new year filled with concerts secured in multiple continents, groundbreaking new projects, and an award ceremony topped by none other. That being said, we’d be remiss to not take a moment and recognize the events, people, and music of 2019 that has brought us all to where we are right now.
We’d Like to Thank the Academy
Two PARMA projects on nearly opposite ends of the music spectrum have something in common now: THE ARC IN THE SKY (Navona Records) by two-time GRAMMY Award-winning choir The Crossing, Donald Nally, and composer Kile Smith, and SOMETHING’S HAPPENING! A CHRISTMAS ALBUM (PureSprings Gospel) by best-selling female gospel artist of all time CeCe Winans, both received nominations for the 2020 GRAMMY Awards. THE ARC IN THE SKY, up for “Best Choral Album,” is part of a multi-album collaboration between PARMA and The Crossing, while SOMETHING’S HAPPENING!, up for “Best Gospel Album,” features our orchestral production work with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. We’re thrilled to see both albums receive this well-deserved recognition!
Taking the Stage
From commissions and China tours to Call for Scores performances, PARMA artists brought their music to stages around the world in a variety of contexts. Composer and Navona artist Gregory W. Brown had his music commissioned and performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, in a performance where Brown’s love of music and visual art came together in memorable success.
Back stateside, Sirius Quartet combined brought their characteristic virtuosity and edge to the performance of contemporary string quartets in the heart of NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen. Coming off the heels of a successful few days of recording sessions, Sirius gave audiences a sneak peek of the innovative pieces that make up PLAYING ON THE EDGE, released six months after the concert.
July 2019 saw us back in NYC, this time at one of classical and contemporary music’s household names: Carnegie Hall. Navona Records’ MOTO series has brought dozens of composers together both on albums and onstage at Carnegie Hall, where each album in the series has its release concert. Trio Casals, MOTO’s “house band,” is quite at home on the Carnegie stage, having brought each of MOTO’s albums to life there, including the most recent MOTO QUARTO.
2018 was the start of the PARMA China Tour concert series, where PARMA sends performers based in locations from the United States, Croatia, Athens, and more to the halls and eager audiences of major Chinese cities. 2019 kicked things up a notch, with nine ensembles ranging from oboe-guitar duo and string quartet to our first orchestra on tour. Each spent over a week traversing the nation and delivering original music, arrangements of traditional Chinese tunes, and more to listeners of all ages.
Call for Scores: Past, Present, and Future
Three Call for Scores initiatives were sent out this past year, and dozens of composers and performers were involved in the recording, production, and performance of music from jig-inspired cello to classic full orchestral performances. While our recording team was capturing music in locations from Croatia to the Czech Republic and Greece to New York City, the team back at PARMA’s headquarters was finishing final touches on Call for Scores albums ready to be released. 2019 saw us record with artists including Sirius Quartet, Dieter Flury, Tommy Mesa, the Zagreb Festival Orchestra, the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, Lindsey Goodman, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Trio Casals, Kühn Choir of Prague, Vox Futura, Ergon Ensemble, Lukáš Klánský, and many more.
One of the most rewarding parts of the Call for Scores program, aside from creating terrific music, is forging new relationships with artists and recording musicians, and watching the relationships build between the artists involved in a piece. 2019’s Call for Scores initiatives connected the PARMA network with the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Tommy Mesa, Dieter Flury, Ergon Ensemble, and more. We look forward to continuing to foster these new relationships and mutually bring more handpicked music into the world.
Many albums that resulted from a Call for Scores initiative were released this past year. Listen on and discover:
- BENEATH THE TIDE
- VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR II
- EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS
- MOTO QUARTO
- QUADRANTS VOL 3
- PLAYING ON THE EDGE
Outside of our Call for Scores program, we still kept busy recording for our artists around the globe. From a few days in Siberia with the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra and maestro Vladmir Lande, to weekends back in Boston with our friends at Futura Productions, new music was being captured left and right.
Amidst the busy year of sessions (with well over 100 pieces recorded), we took time to record in a new location: London. The London Symphony Orchestra recorded John A. Carollo’s SYMPHONY NO. 3 during a week in April, and we captured the experience with the LSO and John in a documentary:
In the News
In 2019, PARMA artists received over 1,000 reviews and features for their album releases, by sources ranging from Gramophone to BBC Music. 2019 wrapped up strong with some “best-of” features by I Care If You Listen, Textura, and Chicago Tribune.
A New Life for Serbia’s Oldest Orchestra
2019 ended on a triumphant note, for three of our artists, a century-old orchestra, and a Balkan nation. PARMA discovered the story of the Subotica Philharmonic Orchestra, a group founded in 1908 which operated through periods of triumph and dormancy, and most recently moments of disbandment. Seeing both the history to be preserved and the potential to draw from the orchestra, we worked together with former members of the orchestra and team to bring the Subotica Phil back to life. These efforts were rewarded with an inaugural concert at the end of the year, featuring performances of works by PARMA artists Helen MacKinnon, John A. Carollo, and Michael J. Evans.
Unfortunately, 2019 saw loss within the PARMA family. We wanted to take a moment to remember Leonard V. “Chic” Ball (1947 – 2019), composer of the 2019 Ravello Records album WORLDS TRANSLUCENT. We hope to preserve him in memory, knowing that his life and legacy is forever captured within his music.
We strive to honor the past and tradition while setting firm sights on the future — in music, in the development of new ensembles and partnerships, and in how we look at our own history. 2020 is already shaping up to be a memorable year, with big events and shifts happening in both our own experience and in the broader music industry. Onward!