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Neoclassical Suite is a column that will present 7 recent, distinctive tracks of the neoclassical-modern classical-contemporary -and beyond!- music field. 

The Players

Fritz Myers

(neoclassical, soundtrack)

Fritz Myers is a composer and song-writer whose credits include the films Little Sister, White Reindeer, Sushi Girl, and The Harrow and the podcasts Serial and Making Gay History. His unique voice blends American minimalism, early 20th century expressionism, and contemporary electronic music. He works across genres releasing remixes and reworks, songs, film scores, and concert music. He lives and works in New York City.

Jesse Woolston

(neoclassical, contemporary)

Jesse Woolston is a multimedia artist and composer hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. His visual art explores the incandescence of shapeshifting geometry, soundtracked by his own musical works — electronic in nature but indebted to the traditional elements of minimalist piano composition, reminiscent of early works by Erik Satie. –

Thomas Hewitt Jones

(neoclassical, violins)

Thomas Hewitt Jones is an award-winning composer of contemporary classical and commercial music. Winner of the 2003 BBC Young Composer Competition, his music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes, Oxford University Press, Banks Music, the RSCM, Encore Publications, Universal Music, and is frequently heard on radio, TV and the cinema in the UK and abroad.

Thomas has written three ballets which toured the UK in 2008–2011 with Ballet Cymru, most notably a dance setting of Dylan Thomas’ masterpiece Under Milk Wood. His choral and instrumental music is frequently performed worldwide. He has also written numerous Christmas carols, including What Child is This? (OUP, 2012). Recent large-scale works include Wildflower Meadows, a song cycle commemorating the First World War, and the Christmas cantata Incarnation, released on Regent Records, both with words by regular collaborator Paul Williamson.

Commercial commissions have included work in America and scores for films in the UK, as well as music for the London 2012 Olympics Mascots animated films, with stories by Michael Morpurgo and narration by Stephen Fry. Thomas has also composed the music for a new musical version of Rumpelstiltskin which premiered at The Egg, Bath in December 2014. Recent performances include the premiere of a new set of songs charting the history of Bath with words by Paul Williamson (Bath Abbey, 2015), and the UK premiere of choral and orchestral work Panathenaia at the British Museum, commissioned by Hugo Ticciati.

Blurstem 

(feat. Rosen Poem, Alex Berglund)

(neoclassical, piano, ambient)

Minneapolis composer Chris Bartels has been writing ambient music under the name Elskavon for a decade, and Blurstem was born as a piano-centric offshoot of the project.

He and his wife were gifted an old spinet piano when they bought a house in 2015. Always slightly out of tune, a little dusty sounding, and very much imperfect, the instrument has its own character. But it wasn’t until Chris cut up an old sweater and taped it to the strings, so as to avoid waking up their children at night, that his love for that character really took form.

While piano is certainly a part of the Elskavon sound, Bartels was writing so many new songs on this spinet that he felt the need to start a whole new project. Blurstem was birthed. While the sound is a not-so-distant relative of Elskavon, the heart of it is a minimalist, raw, and intimate feel.

With a debut album set to release in 2019, and with nearly every song being some sort of improvisation late at night after the rest of his family is asleep, Bartels has gathered a team of talented artists to put their collaborative touch on the album – including Lowercase Noises, Hotel Neon, Brique a Braq, and Kyle McEvoy.

Oli Jogvansson

(neoclassical, orchestral)

Oli Jogvansson, is a Faroese composer based in the Faroe Islands. He is best known for writing music for different international record labels such as Walt Disney Records, Sony, Universal Music and Avex Group. His biggest release so far has been co-writing the theme song “Better in Stereo” for Disney hit series Liv&Maddie. “Better in Stereo” was released as a single performed by Dove Cameron who plays the main character in the series. The song became an international hit and was number one on the Billboard Childrens Charts for 4 weeks in a row and topped the iTunes soundtrack charts around the globe for weeks.

Other songs Oli has co-written include “Future Sounds Like Us” featured in Disney series “Shake it Up” and 3 singles “The Girl I Used to Know”, “I Don’t Wanna let Go” and “FYI” for American actress/singer Stefanie Scott. He was also a part of the song “IT”, which featured on Japanese superstar Namie Amuro’s album “GENIC” released in 2015. The album was number one on the Japanese Billboard Chart and number two on the Album World Chart behind Muse.

During the years, Oli has also written quite a few instrumental pieces. The melody often have one of two things; being either emotional/melancholic or visual as you can imagine a landscape scenery by listening. Voyage is his first release as an artist and contains 12 orchestral pieces performed by three different orchestra’s. Eight pieces by “Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra”, three by “Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt” and one by “Budapest Scoring Orchestra”. Oli has worked with various experienced people from the music industry to keep the level of the music as high as possible. The collaboration spans from Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Denmark and the Faroe Islands.

The pieces on “Voyage” are recorded in the period 2014-2017. Two of the pieces “Laura’s Theme” and “Forever Gone”, respectively won their categories in the UK Songwriting Contest in 2017 and 2015. Jamie Serafi, Oscar nominated composer (2016) gave his version of why he chose the pieces as the Instrumental Award winners:

Oumi Kapila

(neoclassical, contemporary, modern classical)

Soon after settling in Los Angeles in 2014, British-born Australian composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Oumi Kapila was introduced to Filter frontman, Richard Patrick, (Filter, Nine Inch Nails) for the purpose of a songwriting collaboration. Acknowledging Kapila’s potential, the management and label enlisted him to co-write, co-produce, and engineer the remainder of an album in progress. Crazy Eyes was released in early 2016, and due to his talents extending beyond the studio, Oumi was recruited as the guitarist for the accompanying world-wide tour. Speaking of Kapila, Patrick says, “he’s the new Trent [Reznor].”

This nearly immediate success should come as no surprise, as Oumi began accumulating accolades prior to his permanent move to the US. At thirteen, as a promising young musician with a foundation in classical music and guitar, one of his teachers invited him to join his band, providing his earliest taste for performance. By the time he was 15, Kapila had been awarded first place at a classical eisteddfod, playing the music of Astor Piazzola. After a formative experience hearing Steve Vai’s celebrated 1990 release Passion and Warfare, and witnessing the live show, Oumi switched gears from classical to focus on electric guitar. After high school, he attended the illustrious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he majored in jazz performance and was one of six young finalists selected to compete for the prestigious, country wide James Morrison Jazz Scholarship.

At age 21, while visiting LA, Oumi continued to rack up accomplishments—scoring a film and becoming a sideman for Freddie Ravel (Earth Wind and Fire), playing venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Temecula Jazz festival. From there, he went on to contribute to the 2012 Billy Ray Cyrus album Change My Mind, and was personally invited by Cyrus to join the band as lead guitarist. Back on his home turf in 2013, Oumi won ‘Best Instrumental’ at the Australian Independent Music Awards, with the flamboyant guitar piece The Adventures of Johnny Stenchfoot. The piece featured Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) on bass, and paid homage to some of his rock guitar influences including Richie Kotzen, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker and Steve Vai.

Ever the chameleon, Kapila worked with Combichrist creator Andy LaPlegua and German music label Out of Line to produce that band’s eighth studio offering in 2016, contributing on bass, synths, and guitar, as well as mixing, This Is Where Death Begins, and embarked on a joint European tour with Filter and Combichrist shortly thereafter. Continuing his impressive level of productivity, Oumi was commissioned to produce, mix and write for the Red Bull Glimpses initiative, an ambitious recording which took place at Woodshed Studios, Malibu, and was comprised of full orchestra, choir, and live band, together with an assembly of aerospace engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin.

In 2018, he was one of eight composers invited to attend the 21st Annual BMI conductor’s workshop under the direction of Grammy winning, master conductor Lucas Richman, concluding with a performance of film and classical works with full orchestra. His recent compositions for media include music for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Life, The X-Files, Gotham, 15:17 to Paris, Outlaw King, The Mule, World of Warcraft, Playstation, Xbox, Rio Olympics, and The People vs OJ Simpson. Matt Danner (Disney, Warner Bros) describes him as an “extremely bright and talented composer,” while Richard Fortus (Guns and Roses) calls Kapila “a tremendous player-very unique tone and voice.”

An obvious multi-tasker, Oumi has focused his energy on creating a body of work to define the realms of sonic mayhem he has felt lurking within. The resulting culmination of his rock, industrial, classical, electronic, and jazz backgrounds, is the genre crossing, provocative debut album, Bending Stress, released in January 2019. Not one to come up for air, Kapila is set to release Fix, an album of original classical works in the first quarter of 2019. He is currently working on recording an EP with the Budapest Scoring Orchestra from his studio located in Studio City, Los Angeles.

Lotte Pen

(neoclassical, electronic)

Lotte Pen stands for a new generation of classical musicians. Pen, award winning saxophonist and music composer, has played in concert halls in Tokyo, Berlin, Paris and New York. Before taking part in a number of bands and projects, she followed a classic conservatory education that she considers particularly inspiring – ‘especially when you talk about it composers like Steve Reich, Debussy or David Lang have’- but also as restrictive. ‘What I learned from pop music is the freedom that you can embrace, that you do not have the have responsibility to comply with the unwritten laws of classical.’

Pen was selected as the best producer from East Netherlands for ‘Nieuw Electronic Waar 2018’ and her track “Tabernacle” was picked up by an Italian

documentary maker who uses it as a soundtrack. Lotte Pen composed music for children dance society ‘De Stilte’ and ‘Tuinfeest-Literair Festival’ in Deventer, Netherlands.

Pen performed live among other things at Theater Bouwkunde and the Vondelpark in Amsterdam.

The Music

Christos Doukakis