Well, it’s nice to say we can look at 2020 in the rear view mirror now. We’ve made it to the end of a long, strange year, and we can see light at the end of the tunnel with the availability of a vaccine and a hopeful return to normalcy.
After a year like no other, it’s time to acknowledge the accomplishments of our artists, the ways the music industry came together to lift each other up, and the progress that came from adversity.
With that, here’s 2020 at PARMA in review.
Despite challenging circumstances, many artists found ways to continue making new music this year, and we were proud to be part of their process. We presented a wide range of releases across our four labels, from contemporary flute collections to orchestral compilations, and new interpretations of repertoire to the latest from today’s composers. Through our targeted focus on placing music in playlists and syndicated programming, our artists received millions and millions of streams across our catalogs.
We’ve also kicked off a group of new projects through our Call for Scores initiatives. Teaming up with musicians from Trio Casals to the Zagreb Festival Orchestra and more, we’re locking in plans for new releases. Through our Call for Scores initiative, we were also proud to place composer Brittney Benton’s “Nightfall” in a concert with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, and will be placing another piece (to be announced) in concert with the Subotica Philharmonic Strings.
It’s an honor to be honored again. This past November, Navona Records’ CARTHAGE by The Crossing, director Donald Nally, and composer James Primosch was nominated for Best Choral Performance in the 2021 GRAMMY Awards. This is The Crossing’s fifth nomination and their second with Navona, following the nomination of THE ARC IN THE SKY in the 2020 GRAMMY Awards.
COVID-19 Response and Relief
We can’t discuss 2020 without acknowledging the pandemic, which changed the personal and professional landscape for pretty much everyone. Though it doesn’t totally lessen the grave impact of the virus, we have seen humanity, as it is known to do in times of crisis, come together to support one another.
We are inspired by businesses and organizations who gave so much like New Music USA, who raised over $500K in their relief fund for musicians. We were proud to do our own part by raising funds for our local artist community through the Seacoast Relief Fund for Musicians, and by providing pro-bono seminars and mentorship for students, educators, and all needing guidance in these unprecedented times.
Adjustments needed to be made; pivoting was absolutely necessary. We continued our remote recording session attendance, to keep composers safe during the pandemic. Artists gracefully pivoted to remote teaching and online performances. For the latter, we were glad to offer a platform for artists to do just that.
Introducing: The PARMA Live Stage
In March 2020, we established the PARMA Live Stage, an interactive virtual theater to house benefit concerts, video premieres, and performances from artists’ home studios to the UNESCO World Heritage Building of Villa Tugendhat. Since its inception, we’ve hosted over 50 concerts and events, all available for the public to tune in.
“In these challenging times I salute the imagination and enterprise of PARMA’s Live Stage program, providing as it does opportunities for musicians to perform and for music lovers to enjoy a ‘virtual’ event. It was a pleasure to have my Soliloquy included and I again appreciated Vit Muzik’s great identification with my work.”
– Lionel Sainsbury
“Please thank Goran and Edmund on my behalf for presenting this wonderful concert and including my Lullaby in such a beautiful church. The combination of violin and organ was fascinating and PARMA’s audio was exquisite…. I am very grateful to have been a part of this concert presented by such outstanding artists…. Much thanks to PARMA!”
– Bruce Reiprich
In February 2020, we announced a project that had been worked on behind the scenes for years now. PARMA, CEO Bob Lord, and our friends at the Zagreb Festival Orchestra recorded and produced the musical elements of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony. The illustrated children’s book and symphony is the first release of its kind for Brown, a lifelong musician.
The music of Wild Symphony came roaring to life in August 2020 to critical acclaim. The children’s book’s release followed on September 1st, published in dozens of countries through Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Classical music publisher Boosey & Hawkes distributes the printed music.
PARMA’s connection with Dan goes way back: Bob Lord first connected with Dan in 2006 at a Portsmouth Music Hall event, and began producing for him in 2015. In 2018, discussions about Wild Symphony began, and together, Dan and PARMA unleashed this labor of love that Dan had dreamt up back in 1989. You can read the rest of the story in Bob’s words here.
Khachaturian Violin Competition Prizewinner Awarded Recording Contract with PARMA
In June 2020, 19-year-old violinist Diana Adamyan was selected as the prizewinner in Armenia’s 2020 Khachaturian Violin Competition. PARMA CEO Bob Lord was one of the seven members on the jury for this year’s competition, and noted in particular her poise and top-notch performances. As part of her win, the world-class Armenian musician has been awarded a recording contract with PARMA Recordings, and is now in the planning stages of recording her first commercial release with Navona Records.
PARMA Welcomes Brad Michel to the Team
The PARMA family grew this year! In June, we welcomed our friend and partner, GRAMMY-winning producer Brad Michel, on as our Senior Producer, North America. Brad’s 30+ years of professional recording experience include hundreds of productions. He has worked on PARMA projects since 2017 and is highly regarded by composers and session performers alike.
We’re looking forward to making more great music in 2021 with Brad at the helm.
We pause to take a moment to remember the lives of great artists whom we lost in 2020. We’re honored to have been a part of their stories in any way.
Marga Richter (1926–2020): Read a personal tribute to this musical force from her friend, composer Rain Worthington.
Gerald Warfield (1940–2020): “Gerald Warfield was the SCI General Manager position from 1977 to the present…. With his unique combination of personal history, temperament, and commitment, it’s hard to imagine someone better suited for the role he has served in SCI for so many years.” – Mark Phillips, President, Society of Composers, Inc.
2020 is a year none of us are about to forget. As we keep in mind what was lost and what was learned, we look forward with hope and optimism for what’s to come. Now, on to a new year of making music.