David Morgan, Susan Mutter, James Wilding

Diane Yazvac, piano; James Wilding, piano; Ken Heinlein, tuba; Caroline Oltmanns, piano; François Fowler, guitar; David Morgan, bass; D. Jack Ciarniello, piano; Rex Benincasa, percussion

World Premiere Recordings



"From the Great Lakes involves four diverse compositions, but they are united in several ways, foremost by the superb, soulful horn playing of Stacie Mickens.... I sincerely enjoyed Wilding’s rhythmic and melodic composition that invites me to recall my many forays into contemporary jazz, such as the music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. This work also involves a beautiful soul searching solo by Mickens on her horn before it concludes."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry grove Music Review [November 2020]
"[Stacie Mickens shows] ways in which the horn can not only be used in a chamber-music setting but also be set against some unexpected instrumental combinations in a very engaging way."
Mark J. Estren, [December 2020]
"Stacie Mickens’s playing is superb; her musicality has a sort of confidence that makes one feel entirely secure in her hands (give the precarious nature of the French horn, that’s no mean compliment). This is a most enjoyable disc, well recorded and presented."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [November/December 2020]
One of the joys of my six years in northeast Ohio was collaborating with the performers and composers of the Great Lakes region. The talent pool is deep and the creative output is prolific, diverse and enthusiastic. Three of the four pieces on this album, Distill, Melencolia and When Penguins Fly, were composed for me; these are their world premiere recordings, along with the first recording of Susan Mutter’s Ages on horn. This album serves as documentation of these uniquely moving pieces and represents my time as part of this exceptionally artistic community. [Stacie Mickens]

Horn player and composer Susan Mutter has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theater, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Mutter has also been teaching Suzuki piano for more than twenty-five years, and since 2006 has included autistic children.

South African composer James Wilding’s mastery of structure and lyricism along with his use of ethnic instruments and folk tunes captures audiences across North America, Europe and Africa. His music, which has been described as “tumultuous, immersing itself in detail,” is connected to art, photography, literature and stories. As an engaging pianist, Wilding performs with great sensitivity, and with a tone that has been described as “by turns crisp and robust, and gentle and soothing.” Wilding is on the faculty of the University of Akron.
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Composer, improviser and double bassist David Morgan has collaborated with jazz, pop and classical artists. He has released two albums of his compositions and his music has been recorded by the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. He writes frequently for wind ensemble and several of his orchestral works are available on the Centaur label. When Penguins Fly was recorded in its wind ensemble version on the album Made in Youngstown, along with two other works by Morgan. He is on the faculty of Youngstown State University. [ ]

Horn player STACIE MICKENS has performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera and others. She previously held playing positions in symphony orchestras in Akron, Wheeling, Youngstown, Lansing, Dearborn, Southwest Michigan, La Crosse, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Dubuque and several others, and is a frequent recitalist, soloist and chamber musician. Originally from Iowa, Mickens is on the faculty at the University of North Texas College of Music and has held teaching positions at Youngstown State University, Luther College and Winona State University. She received degrees from the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Luther College. Her horn teachers include Adam Unsworth, Bryan Kennedy, Douglas Hill, Patricia Brown and Daniel Malloy, Jr. Her piano teachers were John Strauss and Cathy Corkery. For these recordings, Mickens plays a Kortesmaki Schmidt model double horn (2004) and a Kortesmaki descant horn (1995), using a custom Kortesmaki mouthpiece cup with an Osmun G1 rim.

Pianist Diane Yazvac is a faculty member at Youngstown State University. A sought-out collaborative pianist, she has accompanied artists from all over the United States, China and South Africa, as well as countless student and professional musicians. Yazvac is also a private piano teacher and church organist.

Caroline Oltmanns’ impeccable musical phrasing and engaging stage presence have attracted audiences both in the United States and abroad. Oltmanns has recorded six solo albums on the Filia Mundi label. On the faculty at Youngstown State University, Oltmanns is a Fulbright Scholar, International Steinway Artist and a Steinway Spirio Recording Artist.

Ken Heinlein is principal tuba of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and CityMusic Cleveland. Heinlein is on the faculty at Baldwin Wallace University and Kent State University.

Guitarist François Fowler has performed in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and has received national and international prizes, including finalist in the 2001 Guitar Foundation of America International Guitar Competition. He is on the faculty at Youngstown State University and has recorded on CBC records, Canadian Music Center, Clear Note, Novalis and independently.

Pianist and recording engineer D. Jack Ciarniello is on the faculty at Youngstown State University and owns TakeNote Productions. He acknowledges a wide range of musical influences including Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Plant, Albert King, B.B. King, Antonio Vivaldi, Eric Clapton, Duke Ellington and Ludwig van Beethoven, among others.

New York percussionist Rex Benincasa has played on hundreds of television programs, radio soundtracks and commercial recordings, and with various baroque, classical and modern music groups. Benincasa has also performed for numerous classical and Latin dance companies, made dozens of Broadway and special show appearances and has recorded for several albums and movie soundtracks.

Recorded 3-7 June 2019 at Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, Ohio. Producers: D. Jack Ciarniello and Stacie Mickens. Recording, mixing and mastering engineer: D. Jack Ciarniello, TakeNote Productions. Assistant engineers: Isaac Hraga and Brendan Gage.

Piano technician: John Mancino.
AGES for horn and piano (2008)
I. Six
II. Fifteen
III. Thirty-four
IV. Sixty-six
V. Ninety-two

DISTILL for horn and piano (2005)

MELENCOLIA for horn, tuba and piano (2013)

WHEN PENGUINS FLY for horn, guitar, bass, piano and percussion (2018)

MSR Classics