18

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

The Players

ABBOTT

(neoclassical, contemporary)

Abbott’s story does not start as a child with virtuoso fingers flying over piano keys. His story starts in his youth with YouTube tutorials and a passion for film music.

What follows are a degree at the Artez Conservatorium in the Netherlands, commissioned work in the Mecca of film-music Los Angeles and music compositions and productions in Hamburg.

The sound of Abbott is inextricably linked to the artist. “I’m always trying to convey a certain feeling for myself and I do my best to aim that towards my audience” says the Dutchman.

Abbott takes his listeners by the hand and joins them on an emotional odyssey. The outcome of this journey is Neo-Classical but more theatrical. Influences range from Max Richter to Jóhann Jóhannsson and are blended with the ideas and concepts of the artist. Abbott’s compositions are organic and dark, melancholic and intimate, and are marked by his love towards film music. While following the rules of the genre his songs also work self-sufficient. This is proven in his debut album which captures his remarkable talent in 12 songs.

Alder & Ash

(neoclassical, cello, experimental)

Alder & Ash is cello taken to its absolute extremes of calm and violence. Montreal-based instrumentalist Adrian Copeland brings together elements of modern classical, noise, and doom, exploring the dichotomies of minimalism and maximalism, stillness and cacophony, terror and chaos.

Copeland composes on the cello, aided by the instrument’s remarkable range – not only the typical, smooth legato and pizzicato, but a host of extended techniques, as well: scordatura (detuning strings), col legno (striking the strings with the bow), ponticello (metallic, shrill overtones), and percussive sounds created from the cello itself.

The project has a broad, unorthodox variety of influences, which comes through in the final product. While the music is grounded in minimal classical and post-rock, it also reveals colours of black metal, industrial, classical impressionism, and ambient music.

The first Alder & Ash album, Psalms for the Sunder (2016) is visceral at its core; it delves into unexpected textures and musical ideas that range from bombastic and cacophonous, to more subtle and nostalgic. As the title suggests, Psalms is a study of downfall and collapse — in that tension and space it finds not only cacophony, violence and decay, but also beauty and calm.

Soon after its release, US-based label Lost Tribe Sound signed Copeland for a second album (and re-released the first album as part of a limited-edition subscription series). Clutched in the Maw of the World was released in 2017 to critical acclaim. It picks up the ideas of Psalms and pushes them further, exploring novel textures and ideas, and expanding the frontiers of Copeland’s previous work.

In Autumn of 2019, Alder & Ash released his third album, The Crowneater on the Montreal-based Mendicant Records. The production and songwriting is considerably more heavy, with a big focus on reinterpreting metalcore and industrial, all while maintaining his signature balance of minimalism and maximalism.

Emile Von Schomberg

(neoclassical, solo piano, contemporary)

The song was mainly written in a dark room at 2 in the morning, in a period of transition with nostalgy to the past, a difficult period in the present, and uncertainty towards the future. A chaos of emotions expressed in silent but impactful pianosounds.

Denise Young

(neoclassical, grand piano, cinematic)

Denise is a composer, pianist, producer, arranger, and music publisher on the record label, Dancing Horses Music. She lives in Southern California and 4th studio album was released on 12/12/2019.

Denise grew up in the suburbs just outside St. Louis, Missouri. Playing by ear at age 4 and beginning formal lessons at age five, she started composing original music in her early teens. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy (a double major in music and psychology), and a Master of Arts. She composes original piano-centered instrumental music that combines a contemporary style with arrangements that often include bass, cello, violin, vocalizations, percussion, acoustic and classical guitar, English horn, clarinet, and other wind instruments. Her music can be heard on radio stations around the world and often plays on Balmorhea stations. Her musical influences include, Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, Chopin, and Beethoven.

Her musical accomplishments include three studio albums of original music and original scores for three short films, two shown at the LA Short Film Festival and one full length documentary, Broadway Treasures (2019). Her music has earned two nominations for Best Piano Album by Zone Music Reporter, and one nomination for Best New Age album by Just Plain Folks. On the Zone Music Reporter top 100 radio airplay chart, her album Something You Dream Of… charted at number two, and her album Passionata charted at number three.

Just Nathaniel

(modern classical, orchestral)

My name is Nathaniel. I’m a professional violinist by trade, and have played with orchestras my entire life. I went to music school for violin performance and spent four years with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach as a violin fellow with Michael Tilson Thomas.

I am a full time composer and producer, and I mainly score for film, podcasts/radio, audiobooks, science centers, planetariums and educational projects. I’m also an avid songwriter, and utilize my lifetime of instrumental training to bring real instruments into my productions. I professionally play the violin, viola, piano, electric/acoustic guitar and drums. I love to create huge orchestrations paired with pop sensibility, creating my own unique sound. (www.nathanielwolkstein.com)

Ryan Whyman

(feat. Yas Khaleghi)

(neoclassical, operatic)

Since the beginning of Ryan Whyman’s musical journey at age six, it has been obvious that he has a unique musical gift. Since performing his first composition for his second grade classmates, he has yet to stop touching people’s hearts with original music inspired by diverse styles and traditions. Whyman’s imaginative and emotionally compelling compositions and orchestrations left one audience member so moved after a performance he told Ryan that listening to them, “makes me want to be a better nurse.”

Whyman’s award-winning musical projects have ranged from The Whyman Project, a chamber jazz ensemble which he himself performed in, to compositions for choir and orchestra to a collaboration with internationally renowned rapper, poet and spoken word artist Watsky. These varied ensembles give a sense of the many influences that make Whyman’s art so special; though it blends many genres, his musical voice is the common thread that weaves his repertoire into a connected whole.

Jeremy Cullen

(neoclassical, soundtrack)

Jeremy Cullen is a New Zealand composer and pianist whose music draws on his experience as a composer for film and theatre, his classical training and his work as a sound design. His first album Scenes Vol. 1 was described by American Record Guide as “A series of exquisite miniatures: interesting, expressive and surprising melodies, couples with traditional sounding harmonies that often lead the ear to other places than expected.” (Rob Haskins)

As music editor, he has worked on film-scores such as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s soundtrack for the documentary West of Memphis.

The Music

Christos Doukakis