Music for Strings

Paul Reale

Christopher Guzman, piano
Yordan Tenev, violin
Daniel Moore, viola
Sonya Nanos, cello

Guillermo Figueroa, conductor
Jon Robertson, conductor

World Premiere Recordings



"An excellent recording of dynamic works..."
Pan Pipes, Sigma Alpha Iota [Winter 2021]
"In an absorbing album of music, Paul Reale displays his Prospero-like command of sound and imagination. So many of his ideas are so excellent you wonder why no other composer ever thought of them before, like assigning different solo string instruments for each movement of his Concerto Grosso, which itself is a brilliant baroque-minded take on the Romantic colorist composers."
Gramophone [February 2020]
"All the works are very fine... The general style tends toward neoclassicism, and the harmonies and melodies remind me of what might have happened had Bartok been born in England... This strikes me as a not very easy feat to accomplish and makes the pieces well worth exploring and re-exploring... There’s never any pastiche, never any sense that an inner logic disappears in favor of isolated, beautiful moments."
Haskins, American Record Guide [September/October 2019]
"Following a thorough listening and study of composer Paul Reale’s latest MSR CD, “Caldera with Ice Cave,” I find it is definitely worthy of hearing again as a top shelf item in my music library. Reale to his great credit has an immense respect and appreciation for his roots, the work of the composers who preceded him historicallyWhile thought provoking, his CD is not in general dark and foreboding or acrimonious. Its content thereby invites rehearing or visiting a live performance."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [November 2019]
"If you like [Britten, Stravinsky and Prokofiev], you will like this music. It is dynamic and always on the move... I can see the quality in the writing, and each piece had elements that were appealing... [The orchestra] play very well, and the engineers have recorded them very naturally."
David Barker, MusicWeb International [August 2019]
"All the works are very fine. The general style tends toward neoclassicism, and the harmonies and melodies remind me of what might have happened had Bartok been born in England... it’s as if the basic content and gesture of such material appears transformed as the basis of a thoroughly modern music in around 1945. This strikes me as a not very easy feat to accomplish and makes the pieces well worth exploring and re-exploring... There’s never any pastiche, never any sense that an inner logic disappears in favor of isolated, beautiful moments."
Haskins, American Record Guide [September/October 2019]
4 stars: Superb string writing from an American master. "[a] splendid recital... Reale’s harmonies in [American Elegy] are particularly elegant, although in every work I’ve heard they never are less than interesting, and his music continually goes off in unexpected directions to keep the listener on his toes... Hextet stands out as a particular gem among the many lustrous works the Reale has presented to the music world... [In Reale’s Concerto] The integration of the piano with the string orchestra is also very convincing... I also find that Reale’s harmonic language, which pulls the listener in one direction and then another, to be one of the most gripping of that of any composer currently active... This work, along with the others, I sincerely believe is more than good enough to stand the test of time... [Dancer’s Dream] produces a powerful and moving effect upon the listener... [The Concerto Grosso], full of colors and contrasts, is brilliantly conceived and constructed from start to finish... Paul Reale, as far as I know only a performer—and a very fine one—on the piano, writes extraordinarily idiomatically for strings, and knows very well how to extract the manifold colors residing within them. These works represent some of his finest work to date, although he sets a high standard with every piece he writes. The works are superbly performed by pianist Christopher Guzman along with the string soloists, violinist Yordan Tenev, violist Daniel Moore, cellist Sonya Nanos, and the entire string ensemble led by Guillermo Figueroa and Jon Robertson... the effect of the entire disc is very pleasing regardless. This is truly wonderful music!"
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [July/August 2019]

One of the most versatile and respected artists of our time, renowned conductor, violinist and violist Guillermo Figueroa is the Principal Conductor of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Colorado, Music Director of the Lynn Philharmonia and the founder of the acclaimed Figueroa Music and Arts Project in Albuquerque. He has previously served as Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) and of the Puerto Rico Symphony, which he conducted to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and in Spain. International appearances include the Toronto Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Baltic Philharmonic, Orquesta del Teatro Argentino, Xalapa, Orquesta de Cordoba and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile. In the United States, he appeared with the New York City Ballet Orchestra (serving as Concertmaster), with the Juilliard Orchestra and with the symphony orchestras of Colorado, Detroit, Fairfax, Memphis, New Jersey, Phoenix, San Jose, Santa Fe and Tucson. Figueroa has collaborated with numerous leading instrumental soloists, including Joshua Bell, James Galway, Horacio Gutierrez, Hilary Hahn, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Elmar Oliveira, Itzhak Perlman, Rachel Barton Pine, Pepe and Angel Romero and Janos Starker; operatic tenors Plácido Domingo and Ben Hepner; and with the Emerson String Quartet and Fine Arts String Quartet. Figueroa has conducted premieres of works by noted composers, including Ernesto Cordero, Miguel del Águila and Roberto Sierra. A strong advocate for new music, he and the NMSO won the Adventurous Programming award from the League of American Orchestras. A renowned violinist, his recording of Ernesto Cordero’s Violin Concertos (Naxos) received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2012. Figueroa was a Founding Member and Concertmaster of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, making more than 50 recordings with them for Deutsche Grammophon. Also highly accomplished as a violist, he performs frequently as a guest of the American, Amernet, Fine Arts and Orion string quartets. Figueroa has given the world premieres of four violin concertos written for him: Mario Davidovsky’s Concertino at Carnegie Hall with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Harold Farberman’s Double Concerto at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra; Miguel del Aguila’s Violin Concerto, commissioned by Figueroa and the NMSO; and Ernesto Cordero’s Insula - Suite Concertante with the Solisti di Zagreb. He has appeared at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards, Festival Groba and Music from Angel Fire. Figueroa has recorded Bartok’s Violin Sonatas with pianist Robert Koenig (Eroica Classical Recordings) and an album of violin showpieces with pianist Ivonne Figueroa (NMSO). He studied violin and viola with his father and uncle at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico; at the Juilliard School with Oscar Shumsky and Felix Galimir; and conducting with Harold Farberman in New York.

Jon Robertson enjoys a distinguished career as a pianist, conductor and academician. His career as a concert pianist began at age nine with his debut in New York’s Town Hall. As a child prodigy and student of the renowned pianist and teacher Ethel Leginska, he performed throughout the United States, Europe and in the Caribbean. Already established as a successful concert pianist, Robertson was awarded full scholarship six consecutive years to the Juilliard School, where he earned Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in piano performance as a student of Beveridge Webster. In addition to his piano studies, he also trained in choral conducting with Abraham Kaplan and orchestral conducting with Richard Pittman of the New England Conservatory of Music. After completing a master’s degree at the Juilliard School, he was appointed chair of the Department of Music at Oakwood University in Alabama. Among the accomplishments during his tenure was a highly acclaimed a tour of the college choir and Huntsville Symphony to Los Angeles performing the Verdi Requiem. In 1970, Robertson returned to Juilliard as a Ford Foundation Scholar to complete his DMA, after which he directed another acclaimed performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Oakwood University choir and American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. In 1972, Robertson became Chair of the Thayer Conservatory of Music at Atlantic Union College. At Thayer, he instituted the Thayer Preparatory Division and founded the Thayer Conservatory Orchestra which resulted in a tripling of enrollment. Robertson also created the Music Outreach Program, which targeted inner city African-American and Latino students at designated schools in Los Angeles. With funding from donors, music students from UCLA gave private lessons to students enrolled in music programs. As a result of the program’s success, Robertson was the recipient of the President’ Award for Outreach Programs. A frequent award winner, Robertson recently received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Loma Linda University for the cultural development of the Inland Empire region of San Bernardino. Robertson is currently Dean of the Lynn University Conservatory of Music (formerly The Harid Conservatory) in Boca Raton. Under his leadership, the Conservatory has joined the ranks of major institutions of music, boasting a faculty of world-renowned performers and scholars, with an impressive international student body.

Pianist Christopher Guzman regularly performs as soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe and Asia in a broad range of styles, from Baroque to the avantgarde. Guzman is a prizewinner in numerous international competitions, including the Walter M. Naumburg Competition, Seoul International Music Competition and Isang Yun Competition. He also won the Grand Prize and several special prizes at the 10th Concours International de Piano d’Orléans in France, and as a result regularly performs in Paris and throughout the Loire Valley. Guzman’s career has brought him to the world’s great venues, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. He performs regularly with many of today’s noted musicians, including Ilya Gringolts, Antoine Tamestit, David Fray and Jeremy Denk, and with members of the world’s finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic. He appears regularly on the New York Philharmonic’s Philharmonic Ensembles chamber music series and the Chicago Symphony’s chamber series. Guzman also collaborates with new music ensembles giving numerous premieres, including works by Donald Martino, Nico Muhly, Paul Schoenfield and Christopher Theofanidis. An active recording artist, he has released Vienne et après which features German and Austrian music from the past 100 years (Tessitures) and the highly acclaimed Chopin’s Ghosts (Naxos) which features music of Paul Reale. Born in Texas, Guzman began studying piano at age nine and cello two years later. He worked primarily with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School, with Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin and with the late Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory. Guzman is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. [ ]

Paul Reale has a catalogue of compositions large and diverse. It includes 12 piano sonatas (of which No.6 The Waste Land received a New Ariel Music Competition prize), three piano concertos and nine concertos for various instruments, including the Columbus Concerto for organ and winds, composed for the 500th anniversary of the “Discovery of America”. Reale is presently sketching a fourth piano concerto to be entitled Cuban Concerto, which will feature elements of big band and conga drummers. He has also written song cycles and several other vocal and dramatic works. His Two Madrigals was a finalist in the 2009 Cincinnati Camerata Choral Composition Contest. Among Reale’s orchestral music, Caldera with Ice Cave reached the semi-finals of the 2015 American Prize competition. His chamber music is also distinguished, and has been widely performed and recorded. Seven Deadly Sins for violin and piano was released in a series of recordings on Naxos of his complete works for violin, in addition to Chopin’s Ghosts for cello. In 2017, Reale’s clarinet trio Le Bonheur de Vivre was chosen by the Pierrot Ensemble for Volume 1 of their series on Ablaze. His Simplexity for string quartet was a winner in the Seattle Composers’ Alliance String Quartet Competition in 2014. As an author, Reale has written both aesthetic and analytical articles on 20th century composers, from Ives to Boulez. Over the course of his career, Reale’s music has retained a distinctly fresh, original voice. While his compositional language is as identifiable as Chopin, it is impossible to pigeonhole him into a convenient cliché. His vast output continues to fascinate and draw listeners to return to his music again and again. Reale began his education at Columbia College studying English literature and science, but in 1967 received a degree in composition under the tutelage of Otto Luening and Chou Wen-Chung. His decision to enter the teaching profession prompted further study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he came under the influence of George Rochberg and George Crumb. A dedicated educator, Paul Reale received the Charles and Harriet Luckman Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1995, and since 2004 is Professor Emeritus at the University of California Los Angeles.

Under the artistic direction of Guillermo Figueroa, the Lynn Philharmonia enjoys tremendous public support and critical acclaim for its subscription series concerts in the Wold Performing Arts Center. The Philharmonia also regularly performs concerts in the community, showcasing various musical genres including opera, pops, musical theater and works with the chorus. Guest conductors have included John Nelson, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Silverstein and Dean of the Conservatory, Jon Robertson.

Violin I
Yordan Tenev Concert Master
Shiyu Liu Principal
Zongjun Li
Natalia Hidalgo
Askar Salimdjanov
Zulfiya Bashirova

Violin II
Melanie Riordan Principal
Yuhao Zhou
Gerson Medina
Yue Yang
Shuyi Wang
Ricardo Lemus

Daniel Moore Principal
Kayla Williams
Thomas Wong
William Ford-Smith
Changhyun Paek

Sonya Nanos Principal
Georgiy Khokhlov
Clarissa Vieira
Michael Puryear

String Bass
Yu-Chen Yang
Jordan Nashman
Evan Musgrave

Seth Burkhart

Recorded 9-10 January 2019 at Wold Performing Arts Center, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence™ recording: Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price, Candlewood Digital LLC. Piano Technician: David Balko.
PAUL REALE (b.1943)

HEXTET (2017)
I. Tarantella
II. Zombies
III. Walpurgisnacht

I. Fire
II. Ice

DANCER’S DREAM (2018 version)

I. Overture
II. Lord of the Flies
III. Dies Irae

AMERICAN ELEGY with Chimes (2018)

MSR Classics