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New Recordings by UW Music Faculty

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on April 12, 2019 - 2:25pm

Recent recordings by UW Music faculty represent a broad array of musical influences and interests.

Richard Karpen
Nam Mai/Strandlines
A new CD on the Neuma label, “Nam Mai/Strandlines,” captures work by the faculty composer with the Vietnamese-Swedish collective The Six Tones and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Two compositions are featured here: “Nam Mai,” commissioned by SSO in 2014-15, and “Strandlines,” a 2006-07 composition arranged for solo guitar and live electronics and performed by the Swedish guitarist Stefan Österjö. "The two works share a radical approach to musical composition, which has brought Karpen into intense collaborations with a number of musicians from very different traditions over the past fifteen years,"Österjö writes in the liner notes for this disc. "With a wish to explore forms of musical creation emerging from the very fabric of the sounding material – rather than from the abstraction of the written score – this music is largely conceived through joint exploration, and through the kind of responsive listening often associated with the processes of composing electronic music." (Neuma) 

Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello
The UW faculty cellist’s new Sono Luminus release, Vernacular, features music for solo cello by Icelandic composers Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Thuríður Jónsdóttir, Halldór Smárason, and Hafliði Hallgrímsson. A combination of new works composed especially for Thorsteinsdóttir and a return to an earlier composition, Solitaire, by Halldor, the disc represents a homecoming of sorts for the Icelandic-born musician. “This project is a compilation of pieces by composers that not only share my mother-tongue and culture, in language and music, but also bring their unique perspective and expression in their compositions,” the cellist writes in her liner notes to this disc. “From the moment that I played Solitaire for the first time, I felt a connection, not only to the music but also beyond the music. The more recent pieces are collaborations with Halldór, Páll and Þuríður and I couldn't’ have asked for more generous artists to come into my life and allow me to explore my voice through their music.” (Sono Luminus) 

Melia Watras, Viola
Schumann Resonances
Robert Schumann’s Märchenbilder (Pictures from Fairyland), Op. 113 is the centerpiece and artistic jumping-off point in Melia Watras’s CD Schumann Resonances, released on Seattle’s Planet M Records in February 2019. Featuring new works by Watras and UW faculty colleagues Cuong Vu and Richard Karpen as well as Schumann’s masterwork, this CD inspired by fairy tales and folklore features appearances by guest musicians Galia Arad, voice; Winston Choi, piano; Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion; Michael Jinsoo Lim, violin; and Cuong Vu, trumpet. An April 2019 review on the music and culture blog An Earful declares: "Besides having a burnished tone and monster technique, violist Watras has a gift for contextualizing the music of the past,” and concludes that “with Schumann Resonances, Watras continues to prove herself a curator, performer and composer of unique abilities.” (Planet M) 

Studio Jazz Ensemble
Tain’t What You Do in Room 35
The sixth recording by the Studio Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Harry James Orchestra leader Fred Radke features music by Harry Betts, Frank Fisher, Jim Cutler, Tom Delaney and others, arranged for big band. Saxophonists Stuart MacDonald and Sam Kartub, pianist Daniel Oliver, trumpeter Cameron Nakatani, and drummer Wyatt Gardner play pivotal roles in this eight-song ensemble outing, recorded in September 2018 by Reed Ruddy and Andrew Ching with Dan Dean at Sage Arts Studio in Granite Falls, Washington. (University of Washington)