Performer, composer and recording artist Greg C. Brown picked up a guitar in 1982, and since then it has shaped his life. After playing in metal and rock bands in the eighties and early nineties, Brown turned his attention to classical guitar. Brown received formal instruction from various teachers, performers and composers, including Pepe Romero (California State University, San Diego), Douglas James (Appalachian State University), Keith Stevens (James Madison University), Christopher Berg (University of South Carolina), Thomas Patterson (Arizona State University), Martha Masters (Loyola and President of the Guitar Foundation of America) and Anthony Glise, who was nominated for a Pulitzer-prize for composition. His musical interests moves beyond the borders of the US, across Europe and into Asia; Brown cites such diverse influences as Beethoven, Eddie Van Halen, Paganini, and the countless composers of traditional Spanish, Flamenco, and Chinese music. Recording artist Benjamin Verdery of Yale University advised Brown to “think outside the box” and draw from his varied interests and personal experiences to create his own style.
Brown showcased his new compositional style with his first CD, Collected Works for Guitar, released in 1996, which included his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. In 1997, Brown was commissioned to write another piece for guitar and orchestra. Brown’s tone poem Transylvania premiered with the Charlottesville Chamber Orchestra and is the title track of Brown’s second disc, released in 1999. Brown’s third disc, Distant Places, best displays his diverse talent. The disc includes Arabic, Asian, and American influenced works for solo guitar, a rhumba, two orchestral pieces and the return of his electric guitar. As Brown matured in his compositional voice, he has felt more comfortable integrating techniques from his electric days and expanding knowledge of world music.
His next CD, Sojourns in Solitude was released in 2006. This acoustic album is half steel string and half classical with a newly re-mastered Transylvania as a finale. In 2014, Mr. Brown released a CD containing most of his Chamber Music, called 2014. Also available for download, the medley Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective from the Zojoi Video Game series of the same name for which he composed music. His CD, “Recuerdos de Espana” was released in Spring 2016 and features Greg’s love of the music from Spain. 2017 was a big year for Mr. Brown. He released his first ever all blues CD called “Just Tell Me Why” and was selected to participate in the Benjamin Verdery (Yale) Masterclass/Concert Series in Maui. In the Fall, Greg will be released another chamber music CD called “Wanderings” which will feature two tracks on ukulele as well as another electric rock album called “Another Dose”.
2018 has been very productive so far for Mr. Brown. To date he has remastered his old thrash metal band “Age of Fire” for a 30th anniversary release plus 2 new tunes. His first self titled CD will be out in May. This disc will contain recordings that haven’t been available in 20 years, a smattering of tracks throughout the years and 20 minutes of new music. This collection only contains works for guitar, either solo, duet or in trio form. Greg will also be performing in Canada and New York city in the fall.
Brown has been a member of the Guitar Foundation of America, the Charlottesville Classical Guitar Society, the College Music Society and the Society of Composers, Inc. He taught guitar at Mary Baldwin College from 2004-2006, and is currently teaching privately in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, where he resides. He is a graduate of the Music, Video and Business program at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. His music has been heard on TV, Film and Video Games and has been transcribed into braille. Mr. Brown’s recordings are distributed globally through The Orchard and wherever files can be downloaded. His compositions are available through Les Productions D’Oz. In 2015, Brown started his own publishing company, Greg C Brown Guitar Publications to distribute his orchestral and other works.
With her Navona debut I CLOSE MY EYES IN ORDER TO SEE, accomplished Canadian flutist Sara Hahn demonstrates her exceptional sensitivity for emotional nuance coupled with great virtuosic capability, but most of all: the healing power of music itself.
Hahn, currently the Principal Flutist for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, is rightly known for her refined and beautiful tone, and I CLOSE MY EYES TO SEE indubitably attests to this. But extraordinarily, there is even more to Hahn's musicianship: An exquisite ability to get right into the heart of a composition.
No doubt this is in part due to the highly personal selection of pieces: The album's eponymous opening track, I Close My Eyes To See, was dedicated to Hahn by composer Arthur Bachmann, written to commemorate her mother's hard (but eventually successful) battle with cancer.
Indeed, the compositions of this album center around perhaps the greatest, and most universal, challenge of the human condition: overcoming Fate's hardships. In this spirit, the individual musical pieces represent emotions such as fear, sadness, the desire to bargain, and depression and anger are reached with the help of mental fortitude and spirituality – all culminating, inspiringly, in acceptance and optimism.
Sara Hahn's interpretation of these wildly diverse sentiments is nothing short of riveting and, towards the album's cheerful conclusion, supremely uplifting. In this sublime feat, pianist Laura Loewen and alto flutist Sarah Gieck, who both accompany with fitting delicacy, add great musical depth.
I CLOSE MY EYES TO SEE is an aesthetic feast for the ears, no doubt; but its true strength lies in having encapsulated not only a timeless constant of the human experience – suffering – but also a viable, feasible way to overcome it.
DREAMS LAID DOWN brings to life the works of several acclaimed composers, evoking a tender, reflective atmosphere. Inspired by sources from the Beatles to the poetry of Rinehart’s wife, the album creates an intimate aural experience that is as personal to the listener as it is to the artist himself.
The title track, composed by Michael Karmon, is named after a book of poems by Rinehart’s wife Janice Notland. Karmon animated six of her poems with thoughtful, evocative compositions. Contrast this with composer John Oliver’s Ancient Heroes Suite. Oliver, inspired by ancient music conventions, worked with dance-oriented rhythms in experimental time signatures that recall melodies resonating through ancient halls, while filtering them through a modern context.
Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Juan Lennon, written by New Brunswick composer Richard Gibson as a wedding gift for his daughter Julia, reimagines parts of a song originally written by John Lennon. Exploring shifts in key signatures, major and minor modes, and alternate harmonization, Gibson takes the pop song and breathes his unique perspective into it. The album is rounded out with works by two more well-established Canadian composers. Guitarist-composer William Beauvais contributes his improvisatory and rhythmic Beginning of the Day and Vancouver's David Gordon Duke explores the full range of guitaristic colors in his Soliloquies and Dreams.
DREAMS LAID DOWN tenderly beckons for the listener’s attention with the lilting strains of classical guitar. Showcasing Rinehart’s inspired musical gifts, the gentle performance warmly invites audiences into a serene listening experience.
The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich is a work for orchestra composed between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky. The premiere was a huge success and received an ovation that lasted well over half an hour.
Conducted by Maestra Kathryn Cavanaugh - Executive Director and Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice Orchestra
MIND & MACHINE VOL. 2 is the second electro-acoustic compilation to be released on Ravello Records. Each of the seven composers featured on MIND & MACHINE VOL. 2 offers his or her own striking exploration into the means by which technology can be used to alter time and form to create entirely new musical experiences.
This diverse assortment of composers have all taken different paths to reach that goal. The sounds of nature are manipulated or integrated into pieces such as Tom Prescott’s The Singing Forest and Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz’s Les Crapauds de la Fontaine, while Joshua Tomlinson’s Convergences utilizes the natural elements of metal and wood. Julius Bucsis takes as his source material the work of renowned composer Igor Stravinksy for Some Writings of Spring, using Schenkerian analysis and various audio processing techniques to reinvent The Rite of Spring. Cory Fant deliberately worked outside of the studio to create the sounds in his Vox Ballet without using synthesizers, while Lou Bunk’s Cut and Joshua Harris’ a tiny fleck of blue crying light into the void both each use pianos – albeit very dissimilar ones – in their individual manipulations of time and space.
If there is one common trait that the works on MIND & MACHINE VOL.2 share, it is their ability to capture the immediacy of sonic experience and, regardless of context, to subtly create an entirely new musical narrative, again reinforcing the limitless possibilities inherent in the realm of electro-acoustic music.
Peace and war, East and West, past, present, and future: find all this and more in BLACK SWAN OF PIANO, the latest album by award-winning composer and pianist Marta Brankovich. Brankovich, dubbed the “Black Swan of Piano” by the Miami Herald, invites listeners to explore the rich history of Serbia, her home country, in this captivating collection of piano works.
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G Major), K. 525
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso"
Schubert: Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 114 "The Trout"
Visit LaMusicaFestival.org for more information about the 2019 season.
A central theme in Dr. Dennis Kam’s album SEVERAL TIMES is, predictably, time. Not so predictable is how time is used, manipulated, and developed throughout. Dr. Kam explores beyond expectation, using repetition and connectivity to experiment with form. This creates a unique sonic experience that pushes the boundaries of tonal and rhythmic conventions.
Ed Martin's Ravello Records debut JOURNEYS could not be more aptly titled. This album of highly original piano compositions invites the listener on a voyage through mysterious realms where the limits of the sensual and the intuitive dissolve – a journey that is at times epic, and at other times epically quiet.
The album commences with Three Pieces for Piano (2006), a modernist melange whose gamut ranges from dissonant serenity to rhythmic agitation. They're perfectly, intimately rendered by pianist Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, who performs the entirety of JOURNEYS with great clarity, structural insight and precision, never losing touch with the primal, emotional appeal of the compositions.
Swirling Sky (2014), dedicated to the pianist, displays the collaboration between the performer and the composer at its most fruitful. Martin has sculpted and captured the peculiar sensation of looking at clouds in the sky with seeming effortlessness; Astolfi performs them with a paradox combination of lightness and depth that is most appropriate.
The album's namesake and centerpiece, however, is the recent, eleven-piece piano cycle Journey, composed in 2015-2017. In more traditionalist terms, one might call this "variations on a theme" – and one would fall horrendously short, considering the vast artistic and psychological scope of the work. The starting point, Soul, whose main idea centers around a humble minor third, is subsequently transformed in the most diverse of ways: The motive appears, recognizable but ever-changing, in deep sorrow in Lament, desperate to the brink of madness in Vexed, collected in Revelation, and cheerfully delusional in Manic. Eventually, a new thought – Conviction – leads to a Metamorphosis and ultimately culminates in the final Transcend, the cycle's (and album's) musical catharsis.