Collaborating as Duo Sureño since 1999, Nancy King and Robert Nathanson share a passion for commissioning and performing new music. As a duo, they have toured extensively throughout the United States, Germany and Austria, with world premieres most recently in Wilmington, NC and Honolulu, Hawaii. This CD represents an almost twenty-year journey, exploring the beauty of the human voice blended with the guitar, as expressed through the music of today’s most compelling composers.
Nancy King, soprano, is an associate professor and coordinator of vocal studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, artistic director of Opera Wilmington, and an active performer and guest lecturer. Recent concert appearances include Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Wilmington Symphony, Brahms’s Requiem with the UNCW Choirs, and a Southeastern North Carolina tour of Bach concerts with Chamber Music Wilmington. King has appeared as soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Toronto Classical Singers; Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus in Eugene, Oregon; Orff’s Carmina Burana; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Canteloube’s Chants D’Auvergne; and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Wilmington Symphony. Operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Hannah Glawari in Lehár’s Merry Widow, Cunegonde in Bernstein’s Candide, Rosalinda in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. King was also a member of the GRAMMY Award-winning Oregon Bach Festival Choir from 1998–2004, under the direction of Helmuth Rilling.
Robert Nathanson, classical and baroque guitarist, is an active recitalist and orchestral soloist, now focusing on chamber music, with concerts throughout the United States, as well as performances in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, and Canada. He has been performing as part of the Ryoanji Duo (guitar and saxophone) and the North Carolina Guitar Quartet since 1992 and as part of Duo Sureño (guitar and soprano) since 1999. A champion of new music, Nathanson has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works by David Kechley, William Neil, Jing Jing Luo, Ernesto García de León, Leo Brouwer, John Anthony Lennon, Ernesto Cordero, Marilyn Shrude, Shih-Hui Chen and others. He has hosted several New Music Festivals, inviting composers and performers to the campus of University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he is Professor of Music, to perform, record and conduct master classes. Since 2010, Nathanson has been the Artistic Director of PRO MUSICA, a concert series celebrating the music of living composers, sponsored by and performed at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC. In March 2016, his most recent CD, Sea of Stones: New Guitar and Saxophone Music by David Kechley, was released by Innova Records, where he serves as both performer and producer. Nathanson has also released Images, a CD of new music for guitar and saxophone, and At the Edge of the Body’s Night, a CD of new music for soprano, saxophone and guitar. Nathanson has also recorded two solo CDs, New York Sally and Exposure, on the Liscio Recording label.
Swiss saxophonist and composer Laurent Estoppey devotes himself mostly to contemporary music and arts. Nominated in 2016 for the Herb Alpert Music Awards, he has premiered nearly two hundred compositions by living composers. Estoppey divides his performance time between written and improvisatory music, touring throughout Europe, North and South America, and South Africa, and working with such international conductors as James Levine, Marek Janowski, Christian Zacharias, Kazuki Yamada, Neeme Järvi, Diego Matheuz and Heinz Holliger. He is a member and artistic director of Switzerland-based ensemBle baBel and COLLAPSS (music, dance, poetry, and visual arts in Greensboro, NC) and has collaborated on many interdisciplinary projects with musicians such as Christian Marclay, Elliot Sharp, Ikue Mori, Eugene Chadbourne and Nick Didkovsky. Discography includes more than twenty recordings featuring on Claves Records, Aussenraum Records, Insubordinations (CH), Thödol (F), Out and Gone and NOVA (USA). As a composer, Estoppey works in various settings and contexts, including concerts, sound installations and video art works. His pieces have been performed in festivals and conferences such as SCL, SEAMUS, NASA, and the World Saxophone Congress. As an educator, Estoppey is regularly invited to lead improvisation workshops for musicians of all levels and all instruments, as well as master classes in saxophone, improvisation and contemporary music. He is a reference artist for Italian saxophone maker Rampone-Cazzani, a D’Addario Performing Artist and a Rovner Ambassador. www.laurentestoppey.com
Helena Kopchick Spencer is principal bassoonist of the Oregon Mozart Players and Opera Wilmington Orchestra, second bassoonist/contrabassoonist of the Eugene Opera Orchestra and Long Bay Symphony, and chamber musician with the Brierwood Ensemble and the Transformations Duo (flute/bassoon). She has also performed as a substitute/extra bassoonist and contrabassoonist with the Cabrillo and Oregon Bach Festival Orchestras and the Eugene, Oregon, and Colorado Symphony Orchestras. Spencer earned degrees in musicology and bassoon performance from the University of Oregon and the Cleveland Institute of Music, with additional studies at Michigan State University and the Aspen Music Festival & School, where she held a three-year fellowship in contrabassoon. She has taught bassoon and music history as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon and adjunct faculty at Willamette University (Salem, OR), and is currently Assistant Professor of Music History and Affiliated Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi, violin, has appeared as a concert soloist, chamber and orchestral musician throughout Eastern and Central Europe and the USA, including performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Isaac Stern Auditorium, and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Her concert tours included appearances in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Austria, and Italy. As a concerto soloist, she has appeared with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, and University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra. Žeželj-Gualdi’s musical collaborations include work with Evgeny Rivkin, Levon Ambartsumian, and contemporary composers Augusta Read Thomas and James MacMillan. She earned her Violin Diploma with highest honors at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia. While in the U.S., Žeželj-Gualdi earned a Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Georgia. She is a founding member of the Balkan Quartet and serves as Violin and Viola Instructor and Artistic Director of the Community Music Academy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, as well as the Artistic Director and founder of the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition. Žeželj-Gualdi plays on a Giuseppe Pellacani violin from 1969, on loan from Ronald Sachs Violins.
Award-winning composer and concert producer William Neil was the first composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the first residency of its kind with a major American opera company. His opera, The Guilt of Lillian Sloan, was premiered by Lyric in June of 1986. Neil has composed for celebrated musicians including John Bruce Yeh and Chicago Pro Musica, guitarist Michael Lorimer and soprano Barbara Ann Martin, and has produced award-winning concerts at the New Music Chicago Spring Festival. His Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra, commissioned by the Abelson Foundation, was premiered in Prague by the Czech National Symphony, conducted by Paul Freeman, has been recorded and released on the New Albany label. Neil’s numerous honors include the Rome Prize, the Charles Ives Award, grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council, fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the American Symphony Orchestra League, and awards from ASCAP and BMI. In 2008, he served as the McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum for the city of Winona, MN. Recent premieres for Neil include his piano trio, Notte dei Cristalli, by Trio Malipieroat at the Teatro alla Specola in Padova; Symphony No. 1 (Sinfonia delle Gioie) in October of 2016 by the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, directed by Alexander Platt; Out of Darkness Into Light by the Pro Musica Ensemble at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, in March of 2017; Nocturne No. 1, Prelude No. 3, and Tango No. 2 by Italian pianist Giacomo dalla Libera at Morely College in London; and Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra by clarinetist Fàtima Boix Cantó and the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra in Santa Barbara, CA. Recently, he has produced sound design for the In Tandem Theatre Company production of Beast on the Moon and The Glass Menagerie in Milwaukee, WI. www.williamneil.net
Andrew York is a GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist and composer, his music and playing appearing on four GRAMMY-winning recordings. His compositions blend the styles of ancient eras with modern musical directions, creating music that is at once vital, multi-leveled, and accessible. York has released CDs on Sony-U.S., Sony-Japan, King Records (Japan), Telarc, GSP, and Delos labels; his work has also been included on Rhino Records “Legends of Guitar”and numerous other compilations. His authenticity has inspired a worldwide following, with an international concert touring schedule that spans more than thirty countries. York received his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, and is the only USC graduate in the school’s history to twice receive the Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award—in 1997 as a member of Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and in 2003 as the sole recipient. Andrew is a member of the Triple Nine Society.
Jing Jing Luo, a native of Beijing, China, is a prolific composer and performer celebrated in both her homeland and the West for her distinctive and original musical language. She was recently named as the composer-in-residence by the American League Orchestras and Music Alive with the Princeton Symphony (2015–16), and is the recipient of a Discovery Grant Award for Female Composers, supported by the Virginia Toulmin Foundation from the National Opera Center America (2015–16). Luo’s numerous commissioning awards include a Rockefeller Foundation Composer Residency Award at Bellagio Conference Center (2001), a Commissioning Award from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation (2006), a joint Fellowship from the Asian Council on the Arts, the New York State Art Foundation’s Individual Artist Fellowships, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation (1982–93) and second prize in a national symphonic composition competition (for piano and orchestra) in China (1984). Competition honors include third prize in the Fanny Mendelssohn International Composers Competition in Germany (1993), for her work Mosquito; ASCAP standard awards (1994–2017); eight Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships; and winner of the Dale Warland Singers Reading Competition and Commissioning Award by the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (1995), for An Huan, a Chinese Requiem. Luo’s music can be heard in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, England, Greece, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and Hong Kong, and is published by the China National Publishing House, New World Records, Innova, CRI, Innocent Eyes & Lenses, Subito Music Corporation, and C.F. Peters. Luo earned a B.A. from Shanghai Conservatory, a composition diploma at Columbia University, a M.A. at New England Conservatory, a Ph.D. in advanced electronic music composition at Stony Brook University, and a Masters degree in Education at Cleveland State University. Luo was a Visiting Professor in Music Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2001–04. www.jingjingluo.com
David Kechley began composing as a teen after years spent listening to his composer and music professor father Gerald at the piano. At age 19, his Second Composition for Large Orchestra was premiered by the Seattle Symphony, and since then, his works in a variety of genres have received more than 1,000 performances by orchestras, chamber groups, and college music ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. Kechley’s music draws from twentieth-century classics and from vernacular, popular, and ethnic music. Time spent in Kyoto, Japan, profoundly affected his compositions. His pieces are marked by a distinctive style, but his musical narratives are known for sharp contrasts between lyricism, virtuosity, and dramatic gesture. Kechley’s work has been recognized and applauded for nearly 40 years by such organizations as the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Born in Seattle, Kechley was educated at the University of Washington, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Case Western Reserve University. He also followed his father into music education, teaching at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, then teaching and chairing the Music Department at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, until his recent retirement as professor emeritus.
photo by Belinda Bizic Keller
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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
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