Liquid Melancholy, featuring virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, exudes a kaleidoscope of colors and moods while showering listeners with attractive melodies in a program of music by James M. Stephenson, one of America’s most popular and prolific present-day composers.
Eclipse encompasses world-premiere recordings of inventive, virtuosic, and impassioned chamber works, written in a present-day musical language by the strikingly original American composer and pianist Mischa Zupko. Joining him are two close friends and accomplished colleagues, the sublime violinist Sang Mee Lee, who chairs the string department at the Music Institute of Chicago, and internationally renowned cellist Wendy Warner, a protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich. Zupko wrote some of the works expressly for these artists.
Enterprising chamber group Fifth House Ensemble, noted for its “conviction, authority, and finesse” (The New York Times), joins forces with swinging and virtuosic Mediterranean folk band Baladino and 2014 Rome Prize-winning composer Dan Visconti for an exhilarating, boundary-breaking collaboration.
Flourishing American composer Stacy Garrop’s first album of orchestral music features the world-premiere recording of her Mythology Symphony, a five-movement work inspired by famous female figures from Greek mythology. Characterized by Garrop’s talent for lyricism and vivid storytelling, the symphony receives a typically vibrant and compelling performance by Billboard-charting international conductor Alonda de la Parra leading the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) Symphony Orchestra of Roosevelt University.
Celebrated new-music sextet eighth blackbird, whose last three Cedille Records albums garnered Grammy awards, continues to soar with Filament, a sizzling selection of four-world premiere recordings, plus a concert performance of Philip Glass’s influential Two Pages.
Acclaimed lyric soprano Patrice Michaels, "a formidable interpretative talent" (The New Yorker), conceived and headlines this inventive, wide-ranging two-disc project of 26 songs where classical music and jazz find common ground in ways that will delight fans of both musical genres.
Visionary chamber-music group Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago aims for the stratosphere with Excelsior, its adventurous debut album on Cedille Records. The title refers to an experimental, extreme-altitude U.S. Air Force project of the Cold War era.
Renowned violinists Jennifer Koh and her distinguished mentor Jaime Laredo illuminate captivating connections between student and teacher, and composers across the centuries, in Two x Four, an album of four double-violin concertos, performed with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble conducted by Vinay Parameswaran.
Gaudete Brass makes its Cedille Records debut with Chicago Moves, an album of new and diverse American works for brass quintet. All were composed in the last six years, and all but one were written expressly for the Chicago-based ensemble of young brass virtuosos and receive their world-premiere recordings on the new CD.
Conducted by Christopher Bell, Chicago's Grant Park Chorus is "as fine a symphony chorus as any to be found anywhere in the nation" (Chicago Tribune). Celebrating its 50th season, the chorus makes its a cappella CD debut with an all-American program of eight imaginative, moving, and sometimes whimsical works written between 1975 and 2005, including four world premieres.
This imaginative program, devised by the dynamic Lincoln Trio, features works by six celebrated contemporary American female composers. Four of the pieces are world-premiere recordings: Lera Auerbach's Trio, Stacy Garrop's Seven, Laura Elise Schwendinger's C'è la Luna Questa Sera?, and Joan Tower's Trio Cavany. Writing for ChicagoClassicalReview.com, former Chicago Sun-Times critic Wynne Delacoma called the program (played live at a 2010 concert), "an afternoon of bracing, highly varied music written by some of contemporary music's most talented composers — male or female" offering "a window to what's happening on the contemporary music scene."
In Eleanor’s Words: Music of Stacy Garrop offers world-premiere recordings of three works by “a rising composer who . . . excites the enthusiasm of performers and audiences alike” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).
Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, has been hailed as the first American poet since Robert Frost to garner great critical acclaim and broad popular appeal in equal measure. "His poems generate surprise, inviting the reader to anticipate each new one as if it might be the best one yet" (World Literature Today). In Collins's poetry, "even the most commonplace things never turn out quite the way you think they will" (Newsweek).
On Rhapsodic Musings, Koh brings her "deep musicality and an ear for the fine points of composers’ styles" (The New York Times) to works from the dawn of the 21st century by Elliott Carter, John Zorn, Augusta Read Thomas, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
American Choral Premieres is the latest testament to the choir’s mission and stellar reputation.
With its music director and conductor Paul French, the mid-size, mixed-voice ensemble performs world-premiere recordings of sacred and spiritual pieces by nine recent and contemporary composers including Alan Hovhaness’s Four Motets, Op. 268; George Rochberg’s Behold, My Servant; Easley Blackwood’s A King James Magnificat, Op. 44; and William Ferris’s Lyrica Sacra.
Chicago a cappella returns to disc with Christmas a cappella: Songs From Around the World, a sparkling selection of seasonal songs by contemporary composers and arrangers, including seven world premieres.
Chicago's acclaimed Music in the Loft series showcases chamber music's stars of tomorrow. Composers in the Loft presents five diverse works - four in world premiere recordings - by the series' former composers-in-residence: Ricardo Lorenz's Afro-Cuban flavored Bachangó for solo piano; Carter Pann's eclectic Differences for cello and piano; Pierre Jalbert's in turns rhythmically driven and mysterious Trio for violin, cello, and piano; Stacy Garrop's String Quartet No. 2: Demons and Angels, tracing a true-life descent into madness and murder; and Vivian Fung's Miniatures for clarinet and string quartet, inspired by the music of China's Uighur people.
"[A] splendid sampling of Kurka's orchestral works. . . . The pieces recorded here reveal a prodigious imagination coupled with relentless energy." (La Scena Musicale)
Each of the composers represented on this recording is a Chicago composer, but you won't find a "Chicago School" here. These are seven unique individuals whose lives have been touched in different ways by this heartland center. Some were born and educated here, then moved away; others came from abroad and adopted Chicago as their home; still others spent virtually their entire productive lives in this city. All write music that is imaginative and earnest. Their subject in these works is the flute paired with another instrument. Throughout the recording, the flute (or piccolo), like a gracious hostess at a party, moves with suppleness between its musical guests, entering into dialogues on widely disparate topics. The result is a delightful assortment of Real Music.
American Works for Organ and Orchestra offers a sonic extravaganza of neglected masterpieces by noted American composers. Here are four works that showcase the spectacular sonority of full organ combined with large symphonic ensemble.
More than four decades after its 1958 debut, American composer Robert Kurka's hilarious, satirical opera The Good Soldier Schweik returns to active duty with a complete, world premiere recording on Cedille Records.
The youthful Pacifica Quartet makes its recording debut with new and vintage quartets by veteran American composer Easley Blackwood. Formed in California in 1994, and now based in Chicago, the quartet is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago and the Music Institute of Chicago. The Pacifica Quartet received the coveted Naumburg Chamber Music award in 1998 and made its Naumburg-sponsored debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in March 1999. Of that performance, the New York Times wrote, "Its sound, individually and as a group, is pure, lyrical, and educated . . . They all move on the same strong, supple band of time."
The flute takes center stage on this CD of orchestral works by five American composers of the twentieth century, including the world-premiere recording of a 1996 piece by Chicago's Lita Grier, an award-winning composer who recently began writing music again after a long absence.
The roaring '20s cover photo for Cedille Records' disc of American composer Leo Sowerby's symphonic music shows bumper-to-bumper traffic heading south on Michigan Avenue in the direction of Orchestra Hall, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. If any of those motorists in their now-classic cars were headed to a symphony concert, the odds are high they would hear something by Sowerby (1895-1968).
American composer and pianist Easley Blackwood continues to branch out in attractive new directions. On this CD, Blackwood Plays Blackwood, he performs world premiere recordings of his own recent piano compositions. Challenging to perform yet easy to listen to, these new works blend traditional forms with inventive harmonies.