Sight, Sound and Beyond

Archive for September, 2011

My First CD Release

Cover Art by Imagine Music Publishing

The idea that I have my own CD recording is still sinking in.  If you asked me 2 years ago if I was planning to release a CD recording of my piano music I probably would have answered “Heck no! Where did you get that idea?”  So I thought I would share the story of how the CD came into existence.

The story begins with a pianist, composer and conductor named Max Lifchitz.  Max is the 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 my piano work entitled Sketches in April 2010 at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church in New York City. Max performed Sketches in a concert called Feminine Touches. The program featured works written by women composers from the Americas, many of which were by member of New York Women Composers, a music organization in which I serve as Secretary and Public Relations Coordinator.

My father and I attended the concert as well as my former composition teacher Mary Ann Joyce-Walter.  Sitting in front of us were Marvin and his wife Beata.  At that time I hadn’t the faintest clue who either of them were but as I was sitting waiting for the concert to begin, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned around and Joyce whispered excitedly: “Marvin Rosen is sitting in front of you.  He hosts a radio show out of Princeton NJ called Classical Discoveries.”  My father immediately made the statement: “Maybe I will introduce myself and try to try to get a slot on his show.”

I didn’t say two words to either Marvin or Beata.  To be quite frank, I didn’t know a lot of people there.  I am very good with names but cannot match them up with faces for the life of me.

After the concert was over, my father made the comment that I should contact Marvin and introduce myself and my music.  “Maybe he can play it on his radio show,” He commented.  I laughed and said: “Yeah right.  Why would he do that?  I am totally unknown.”

Little did I realize that little-known music was Marvin’s specialty. When I got home that evening from the city, I found a facebook message in my inbox from him, congratulating me on a wonderful job. Who knew that one facebook message would lead to the many events that followed.

My friends have been absolutely wonderful to me in supporting what I do. For example, I have two friends, Mary Wu, and Jennifer Micciche, that I have known since grade school. They have watched me pursue my passion of music while constantly encouraging me to keep going. My teachers, with whom I still have contact have been very supportive as well. These mentors include Joel Thome, Flora Kuan and Mary Ann Joyce-Walter. However, Marvin was the first person who stepped in from the outside of my social circle of friends and academic mentors that took interest in my work as both a pianist and composer. He began sharing my piano scores with his piano students and later that summer, he invited me as a guest on his radio show. Being that we both are pianists, we later on formed our own piano duo, Rosen & Castellano, playing works of the 20th and 21st Century.

After hearing his students perform my piano pieces in a special workshop, Marvin gave me the idea to put all these pieces on recording so that they would be available for the public. Since Marvin had extensive knowledge about the record business, he was a great resource for me. As you can imagine I had many questions about the process involved in making a CD recording.

I was also extremely fortunate enough to work studio engineer, Andrew Cardenas as well. As I had mentioned in an early post, I knew Andy while I was was a graduate student attending Purchase College. We edited, mixed and mastered the recording together at his studio in Peakskill, NY. Andy is also a knowledgeable source of information as he has had years of experience in the recording industry. He gave me much needed advice as well.

So that is the story in a nutshell. It may sound a bit sappy but I like sappy stuff. You are talking to someone who still enjoys watching the reruns of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood whenever I catch it on TV. Although, I have not seen it lately:(. What a great show that was.

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