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

Note: All Bio/about sections provided/written by the artists.

The Players

Alessandro Paganelli

(crossover classical, cinematic)

‘Nuda Veritas’ is a highly cinematic composition with beguiling strings and according to the press release, “is the first part of Five Movements, a series of dance films inspired by paintings and poetry that explore different phases of life, curated by Shannon Maynor (San Francisco Ballet)”.

“Alessandro Paganelli is a composer and guitarist based in Berlin.

Born from a musical family, Paganelli studied for over 13 years in conservatories throughout Europe while subsequently working as solo guitarist. Additionally, with his ensemble consisting of strings, piano and classical guitar, he recorded the EP Drifting, shortly followed by the EP Nebula, and a solo Album SUM. He also created music for various commissions (including Ameritz Music-Great Britain, Ostereo -Great Britain, Movement Head Quarters Ballet Company -USA, Choreographer Shannon Maynor -Berlin).

His music explores the individual’s internal search of self: “When I compose, I always search for a key to access the place wherein a bridge between the sound and the listener is created, allowing communication between the composer, the performer and the audience: a conversation that goes beyond words and enables us to feel a reflection of ourselves through sound..” (Alessandro Paganelli)

Arttu Silvast

(indie-classical, ambient)

The first single from a four-track ambient/neoclassical EP by Finnish pianist, composer and music producer Arttu Silvast is an ethereal blend of ambient and neoclassical to dream and mind-travel…

“Self-styled as an indie-classical composer, Arttu Silvast is a pianist, composer and music producer who specialises in combining sonic space with emotional texture.

Having worked as a music journalist and a music editor for the Finnish Broadcasting Company in Helsinki, Arttu Silvast also spent several years living in Bangkok that had a permanent effect on his musical consciousness.

Since moving back to Helsinki, Arttu Silvast composes music for documentary films, TV series and commercials, working as a freelance musician. Citing Brian Eno, Vangelis, Ólafur Arnalds and the late great Jóhann Jóhansson as his key influences, the release of his debut solo album ‘Polarity’ in 2021 was a very exciting new chapter for this artist.. (Arttu Silvast)

Jonathan Roberts

(crossover classical, cinematic, ambient)

‘Lost and Found’ is taken from Jonathan Roberts’ recently released debut EP ‘Mountains‘, a major-league composition with anthemic progression, and addictive ambient soundscapes, ideal for fans of Erased Tapes-era Ólafur Arnalds & Hans Zimmer. 

“Originating from the Peak District and based in the North West, Jonathan Roberts is a composer and pianist who writes a combination of beautiful, yet haunting, piano melodies and cinematic soundscapes.

With a background in classical and popular music, Jonathan creates refined orchestral scores with modern synth sounds and thematic melodies..”(Jonathan Roberts)

Jonathan Grow

(neoclassical, solo piano)

An emotive solo piano piece, that according to Jonathan Grow “is in the style of early 1900’s French classical composers. Composed for solo piano, it was inspired by the story of Marie-Laure, a young girl in the novel All the Light We Cannot See who was caught in the Second World War in Saint Malo, Brittany, France”. The beauty of melancholy…

“Jonathan Grow is an American pianist and composer. Composing primarily piano and orchestral composition for production libraries and solo projects, he also works in tv, advertising, and occasional film scoring. His passion is telling stories through the medium of music. ” (Jonathan Grow)

Rob Burger

(neoclassical, solo piano)

‘Figurine’ is an ideal taster from his upcoming piano-based style album, dropping 2022; A soothing solo piano piece destined for eternal romantics!

“A lifelong musician, Rob began learning piano at four years old and would go on to study under jazz luminaries like Max Roach, Archie Shepp, and Yusef Lateef at the University of Massachusetts. As if his formal education wasn’t impressive enough, his informal one consisted of frequent visits to New York City creative hubs like The Knitting Factory and The Kitchen, where Burger became a fly on the wall to legendary artists like Arthur Russell, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson (with whom he would eventually work). Burger later switched coasts, and made a lasting impression upon the Bay Area’s music scene with his group Tin Hat Trio, all while developing his work as a session and film score composer.

When Tin Hat Trio disbanded in the early ‘00s, Burger found himself back in NYC, where he met Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) at a Neil Young tribute show. Since then, Burger has been an inextricable component of Beam’s live band and discography, contributing to every album from 2007’s The Shepherd’s Dog to 2017’s Beast Epic.

In the timespan between those albums, a growing family and a longing for quieter climes led Burger to Portland, Oregon, where he amassed an enviable collection of vintage keyboards in order to create 2019’s The Grid. Where that album braided the joviality of mid-century exotica with the controlled exploration of krautrock and kosmische, the new album Marching With Feathers further reveals Burger’s command of mood and texture without the need for stylized referentiality.

The album’s title was inspired by hikes that Burger would take with his family in the hillside surrounding Nashville, Tennessee. It was mid-2020 and the nation was just beginning to reckon with a global pandemic and an institution of racial injustice. On these walks with his family, Burger was struck by the image of his children collecting feathers and carrying them home in their pockets.

“People were up in arms,” explains Burger, “Marching refers to our deep need and drive for unification, and the work required to gain back control, to free ourselves and contribute to our communities. Feathers represent the peaceful way in which we convey our message, our needs, our yearning.”

This combined vision of strength and gentleness, power and vulnerability, is perhaps what makes Marching With Feathers so effective. By uniting these seemingly opposing concepts, Burger catches you off guard by carving trails that turn from mirage to stark reality at every bend. As the album draws to a close, the listener feels as though they are waking from a dream, pensive yet determined to rise, like a lost hiker reaching a vista – or a clenched fist full of feathers.” (Rob Burger)

Prof. Lacasse

(neoclassical, cinematic)

A tribute to Canadian pianist-composer André Gagnon, deceased in December 2020, written with his style in mind. It is, I believe, a touching piece with a mix of joyfulness and nostalgia. A flawless, neoclassical composition with top cinematic value!

“Serge Lacasse (aka Prof. Lacasse) has been a professional producer, arranger, songwriter and musician for many years in the Canadian music industry, including mixing and mastering engineer (see table below). In addition to having accumulated a nice catalogue of instrumental and vocal pieces of music (e.g. for museum exhibitions, advertising, etc.), he has collaborated as producer/songwriter/musician with artists signed to majors and national labels in Canada (Mitsou, Lynda Lemay, Tanya Tagaq, Descars, Héra Ménard, Nathalie Gauthier, Paule-Andrée Cassidy, etc.).

Following his success with his remix of La Bolduc’s “Ça va venir découragez-vous pas”, he recently produced two albums of piano music by Quebec artist Marc-André Pépin, including Tempus fugit nominated for “Best Instrumental album of the Year” at the 2018 ADISQ Gala. Similarly, Héra Ménard’s eponym album, also produced by Lacasse, was acclaimed as “Discovery of the Year” and nominated in the “Singer-songwriter” category at the Gala Country 2018. As his artist name suggests, Prof. Lacasse is also professor of musicology at the Faculté de musique, Université Laval in Quebec City.

Prof. Lacasse is a multi-instrumentalist: not only does he play the piano, but he is also an accomplished drummer and guitarist. He has been writing piano music since his early teens but only recently decided to propose it to the world. His first album, entitled Piano Evocations, features 13 intimate pieces exploring a variety of emotions in the post-classical style.” (Prof. Lacasse)

Dan Schrage

(neoclassical, new age)

The alternate version of Dan Schrage’s ‘Lara’, is a contemplative, solo piano experience with new age finishing touches. Touching piece!

“It had been a while since I had a piano in the house. I wrote a ton of music in my teens and twenties, spent a fair amount of time in music licensing for film and television (with some highlights), but I put the music thing on hold for a while and ended up selling my last piano (also my first) for lack of use when I bought and moved back into my old family home, not anticipating that I’d start writing again. Sacrilege, I know, but for what it’s worth, I came to my senses.

During 2020’s pandemic quarantine, and following the unexpected loss of my brother, I returned to the piano in earnest. I released some older recordings (e.g. “Jarrett”, “Steps”, “The Fall”), and embarked on a felt piano album that would later be given the name “Being in Time” (set to be released in July, with the lead single, “Just”, coming out on June 25th). The album is about love, loss, and some of the deeper things in between. It is my first proper album, and it all started with the writing of “Just”, a tribute to my late brother. The other pieces followed from a similar place, and serve as a kind of expression of my first experience with true loss, the grieving process, and ultimately trying to make sense out of this thing, which ironically feels so utterly unnatural. Each track was recorded in the living room of our old family Victorian. Needless to say, it holds a piano once again. It’s placed in the exact location of the upright I had growing up, and gets just as much use.” (Dan Schrage)

The Music

Christos Doukakis