[Playlist last updated March 8, 2020]
Hello! I’m Emily Garcia, a Marketing intern with PARMA Recordings this spring semester.
A little bit about me: I’m a professional violinist and fiddle player with a passion for performance. As I’m nearing the end of college and looking ahead to my future career, I’ve been faced with the challenge of keeping my work and music life separate. Fortunately, my internship at PARMA means there is no need for this separation! Here, while working hard to promote the music of astounding musicians across the world, I am immersed in my passion. Interning for PARMA is an honor and privilege to say the least.
One aspect of PARMA’s artist roster that I especially appreciate is the diversity, both in the gender and cultural identity of composers and performers. In honor of International Women’s Day, I’ve put together a playlist celebrating the many women, both artists and composers, that PARMA has worked with.
The playlist starts off with a musical landscape created by composer Libby Larsen. Emergence: II. Reactive is a dynamic, complex arrangement from the album THE CROSSROADS PROJECT and performed by the Fry String Quartet. What excites me about this piece as much as the music itself is the story behind it—THE CROSSROADS PROJECT grapples with the issues of climate change and the instability of our world as we know it today. It is not, however, a purely morbid collection. As the title suggests, Larsen’s Emergence pieces are contemplative, empowering works that invite listeners to rise and respond to the struggles being seen in our world. As we celebrate the achievements of women during this month, what could be more fitting than a piece by a female composer calling on her audience to change the world?
Blackbird is off the album SKY-BORN by American composer Mara Gibson. This piece captivated me from the first second with the brisk energy of the staccato strings. Blackbird is an emotional and musical journey—sometimes the strings fly anxiously up and down the scales, and at other times the notes are quietly and tentatively sustained. No matter what is happening at a given moment, however, the entire piece will leave listeners anticipating what could possibly happen next.
Straying away from strings and into the world of choral music, a third piece I would like to highlight is Clay Jug, the title track off of Minnesota composer Edie Hill’s 2017 album. What I found most striking was the relationship between text and sound in this piece. At times the melody moves rapidly and rhythmically with the text; at others, the text is sustained as each voice swells in a unified chord. The text, by fifteenth-century Indian poet Kabir, describes the wonders of the Universe contained inside the metaphorical clay jug. The choir comes together at the very end to proclaim the final truth: “The God whom I love is inside.”
I hope you enjoy the playlist, and that you continue to celebrate the accomplishments of these female musicians this March and beyond!