dedicated to the support of living musicians and composers

Emerging Talent: Jennifer Castellano

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Jennifer Castellano Spectrum
© Jennifer Castellano 2011

Jennifer Castellano is a wonderful newly emergent composer and pianist. I first became aware of her work via the New Music Master Marvin Rosen at WPRB radio. Marvin and I share a motto, “support living composers”. But, that is all we share: Marvin is a talented pianist, radio host, and teacher. I am just a listener.

So, some time ago at Classical Discoveries, Marvin’s Wednesday program at WPRB, I learned about Ms. Castellano. I heard some of her music and I was overjoyed. Now, she has a self produced CD, Spectrum , available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jennifercastellano .

About Jennifer:

From
New York Women Composers-

“Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Manhattanville College and a Master of Music at Purchase College. She has studied classical piano with Donna DeAngelis, Catherine Coppola, and Flora Kuan. Teachers of composition include Mary Ann Joyce-Walter, Huang Ruo and Joel Thome. Besides her great love of birds, many of her compositions reveal her philosophy regarding the similarities between sound and color as well as music and visual imagery. Such works include Spectrum: Seven Preludes for Piano and Bionic Birds, an electronic, audio-visual presentation. Jennifer is a member of Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss, Piano Society and is Secretary/PR Coordinator for New York Women Composers.”

From Jennifer’s own web site:

Jennifer, who is both visually and hearing impaired, is a member of the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss, Piano Society, ASCAP and serves as Secretary/PR Coordinator for New York Women Composers. She is a member of the music faculty of The Mike Risko Music School and is a member of the recreation staff applying music therapy techniques at Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing facility that specializes in the care and treatment of medically complex children who require post acute, rehabilitive care.

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Jennifer and friends

Now, I am not a musician, musicologist or critic. I am just a listener. But, I can say that I have listened to the tracks and I find them to be really wonderful.

I asked Jennifer to send me her liner notes for this album. Here is what she has to say:

To Scriabin (2003)
In fall of 2003, the music and ideas of Russian pianist and composer, Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915), inspired me to write To Scriabin. This particular piece was my way to pay him homage as he was one of my musical influences. He based many of his later compositions on a chord which he called the “mystic” chord (spelled C F-sharp, B-flat, E, A, D). This composition is based on this same six-note chord.

Sketches (2009)
Sketches is a collection of three piano pieces, each suggesting a general image or picture to the listener. The work was written for Max Lifchitz, pianist, composer, conductor and founder of North/South Consonance, an organization devoted to performance and recording of contemporary music from the Americas. Max gave the world premiere performance of Sketches in April 2010 at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church in New York City. The first piece in the collection, “Escapade”, is a playful piece that takes the listener on a lighthearted adventure. The next piece, “Daydream”, is more relaxed and carries this title because of the manner in which ideas came to me. The last piece, “Tarantella”, is my way of paying homage to my Italian roots. The tarantella, is a lively, whirling southern Italian dance for couples usually in 6/8 time.

The Castle at Sunrise (2003)
The Castle at Sunrise refers to the magnificent castle located on the Manhattanville College campus in Purchase, NY. The Castle is called Reid Hall, as it was formerly owned by Whitelaw Reid (1837-1912), a politician and journalist who served as editor, president and chairman of The New York Tribune.

Conflicting Colors (2004)
Conflicting Colors was inspired by a painting, Contrasting Sounds, by the Russian abstract artist, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). This work was my first exploration of color and sound. The idea of colors conflicting is illustrated by the black keys of the piano sounding simultaneously against the white keys.

From a Dream (2002)
From a Dream is the first piano piece I wrote when I began composition studies with my first teacher of composition, Mary Ann Joyce-Walter. The main idea which forms the basis of this piece, came to me in a dream that I had the year before the work was written.

Spectrum – Seven Preludes for Piano (2006)
Spectrum, Seven Preludes for Piano was inspired by Spectrum V by American artist, Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923). The work consists of thirteen large panels, each contained a different color or shade of color. To me this work was a visual representation of a chromatic scale played one full octave up the piano keyboard. I decided that I wanted to make an audio representation of the seven colors of the rainbow, each represented by a different tonality or pitch center: A being red, B orange, C yellow, D green, E blue, F indigo, and G violet.”

Visit Jennifer’s album page at cdbaby and sample the tracks. Then, if you enjoy what you hear, support this living composer. She has a great future.

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