Recording Project: Philip Thompson's Visual Arts-inspired Chamber Music
A Neighborhood of Chamber Music and Visual Arts
Will Zavala's documentary, Virgil Cantini: the Artist in Public, opens with a clip from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. We see Rogers introducing the segment, then the scene transitions to King Friday asking Cantini to describe his art. As the clip fades away, Philip Thompson's music creates the soundtrack for Cantini's art and the city it graces. The film and score provide an apt metaphor for this recording which is about creativity deeply rooted in the fabric of community. This recording project seeks to capture the pattern and feel of that fabric by focusing on Thompson's collaborations with artists Ryan Day (digital animation), Garth Zeglin (Robotic fabric scultures), Michael Morrill (painting), Will Zavala (film), and contemporary music ensemble IonSound Project. In order to capture the interdisciplinary scope of these projects the collaborators will create both a studio recording and an extensive online photo and video gallery under the auspices of PARMA Recordings.
A classically trained composer with an ongoing fascination for popular culture, Philip Thompson composes chamber music, orchestral works, opera, film, and electroacoustic music. His compositions reflect influences as diverse as Messiaen, Bill Evans, djembe drumming, prog rock, and the baroque doctrine of affections, all blended into a very personal style.
Thompson was born in Baltimore and grew up in Forest Hill, Maryland. He received his early musical training through Harford County’s excellent public education system and Peabody Conservatory’s preparatory school studying trombone and composition. Thompson completed his undergraduate work at Oberlin Conservatory and received his MA and PhD in composition and theory from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served as adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Chatham University teaching courses in music theory, appreciation, and technology.
IonSound Project comprises flutist Peggy Yoo, clarinetist Kathleen Costello, violinist Laura Motchalov, cellist Elisa Kohanski, and pianists Rob Frankenberry and Jack Kurutz. IonSound seeks to add to Pittsburgh's cultural life by programming innovative concerts, commissioning works of new music, collaborating with artists in a variety of disciplines, and exploring the boundaries between concert and popular music. The members represent some of the most in-demand young musicians in the Pittsburgh area. Collectively, they perform with such ensembles as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Wheeling Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and have also appeared with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Akron Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
PARMA Recordings is a New England-based music company specializing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and commercial recording as well as distribution, product design, strategic marketing, and licensing/publishing. Their work spans classical, jazz, rock, experimental, and more, and features artists such as Grammy-winner Richard Stoltzman, Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan, Pete Townshend of The Who, renowned percussionist Steve Gadd, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow among others.