In The Shadow of Mount Ararat

My knowledge of the Armenian Genocide was very limited until I met Alan Hovhaness and his last piano protege, Shoghere Markarian in the early 1980’s.

_mount-ararat

Mount Ararat

Christmas Eve 1997 with Shoghere

Christmas Eve 1997 with Shoghere

Shoghere and I became close friends until she passed away in 2007. A gifted pianist adored by Hovhaness, she premiered many of his piano works. She was also a teacher, the correspondent for the now defunct weekly, The Armenian Reporter, and a connoisseur of classic literature. Shoghere was obsessed with the Armenian painter Arshile Gorky and his incredible poetic letters to his sister Vartoosh, who like Komitas, (composer that greatly influenced Hovhaness) was scared for his life by the Armenian Genocide.

In the 1990’s she embarked on a mission to present these letters to a wider audience. I received invitations several times from her to perform solo piano works of Alan Hovhaness between her letter readings and to also play music for four hands (also of Hovhaness) with her.  During Shoghere’s readings I also improvised quietly in the background in Hovhaness’s style which was a total joy!  One of most notable performances we did was in 1996 during the Contemporary Armenian Artist Art Exhibition in Boston.

Poster

Contemporary Armenian Artist Art Exhibition in Boston

She also introduced me to singing of wonderful soprano Lusine Zakaryan.

I remember when in late 1999, during one of our casual meetings, she give me a CD titled “Oratorio In Memory of the Victims of the Armenian Genocide 1915” by Khachatur Avetisyan. Two weeks later I broadcast the complete work on my weekly program Classical Discoveries with a repeat presentation in 2010.

As a reporter she was present in 2002 at The Armenian National Committee meeting discussing the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and felt that it was important to the world to remember what happened.

Armenian

The Armenian Reporter May 04, 2002

Of course, my contact with Armenian communities was not limited to Hovhaness and Shoghere. From the time I recorded 2 CD’s of his music, I have performed many recitals organized by Armenian organizations as far as in Chicago.

Armenian music is often featured on Classical Discoveries. I have presented, for example, 2 operas by Armen Tigranian; Anoush and David-Beg, and many compositions by one the great Armenian composers, Avet Terterian, who is sadly little known here in the western hemisphere. To show how times have changed, I remember hearing Terterian’s music for the first time in the afternoon on WNCN, a wonderful commercial station from New York which is now sadly gone.

The strange thing is that I never presented a full program devoted to Armenian music, not counting programs and the special 24 hour Marathon devoted to Hovhaness – the American composer whose love for the music of his father’s homeland earned him a permanent place in the hearts of all Armenians.

As I am preparing my special program I cannot help to think about Shoghere and how happy and very proud of me she would be. I am dedicating this program to her memory and to those who lost their lives during the purge 100 hundred years ago.

Here are some details:

Program will air:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 5:30 through 11:00am
WPRB 103.3FM Princeton NJ, or on the Internet at: http://www.wprb.com/

 April 24, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, one of the worst in history where about 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire perished between 1915 and 1923.
In observance of the 100th anniversary of the genocide, I will present a whole program devoted to music by Armenian composers and by composers of Armenian descent titled “In the Shadow of Mount Ararat.”
One of the main features of the program will be the “Oratorio In Memory of the Victims of the Armenian Genocide 1915″ by Khachatur Avetisyan

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Check Classical Discoveries website a few days before the event for more details at:
http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/

You can join Classical Discoveries Event on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/events/1394051834249938/

You will find playlist after the broadcast at:
http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/playlists_2015_01.html#0422

Listen to archived program till May 10, 2015 at:
http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_music.html#0422

Little Known Treasures of Early Music for Easter

kiehrI just finished my special, very private holiday dinner and was sitting at my desk sifting through the CD’s  for this Easter Sunday, April  05 , 2014 – from 10:00am – 1:00pm –  early music special on WPRB, 103.3FM, Princeton, NJ

One of my favorite activity is listening to all the moving and beautiful lesser known works and sharing them with listeners on my weekly and occasional special programs.

Yes, this Easter Sunday is special and Jeannie, host of Sunday Jazz is taking a break to spend time with her family. As before, I will devote this time to music for Easter and to the days preceding it.

If you never listened  to my early music programs you will find out that the most works are a bit off the beaten track. You will not find here J.S. Bach, Vivaldi or Handel even though I love all of them.

Some of the works you will hear have interesting stories behind them, for example the totally forgotten Miserere of Tommaso Bai which was paired with the famous Allegri work during his lifetime.

To give you some idea, here is a list of some of the works which will be presented in “Little Known Treasures of Early Music for Easter”
Missa Resurrectionis by Italian composer, Antonio Bertali (1605-1669)
Missa Resurructio Christi by Italian composer, Andrea Rota (1593-1597)

rota
Missa Crux Fidelis by Spanish composer, Sebastian de Vivanco (c.1551-1622)
Miserere in C minor by Czech composer, Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)

baj

Miserere  by Italian composer, Tommaso Bai (16501714 )

Stabat Mater by English composer, John Browne (fl. ca. 1490)
Miserere
by Italian composer, Gaetano Veneziano  (1656-1716)
and more

laudario-di-cortona-n91-musique-vocale-paraliturgique-du-moyen-agebrilliant-classics-94872-label-brilliant-classics gaetcd-eton-choirbook

Classical Discoveries airs each Wednesday on WPRB at 103.3 FM Princeton or on-line at www.wprb.com

If you cannot listen the day of the broadcast,  you can listen to the archives for over two weeks after each show at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_music.html

and yes, next Sunday from 1:00 till 3:00pm I will be presenting another special: MUSIC FOR ORTHODOX EASTER

 

Sacred Bridges – 2015

It is the time of the year (during the time of the important Jewish and Christian holidays) when I present my  program Sacred Bridges. The focus of this program however is on spiritual music from multiple religious traditions and not just the two. From the end of March until the end of May, many religious denominations celebrate holidays. Sacred Bridges represents religious tolerance and interfaith interaction through music.

Composer Obadiah the Proselyte (ca. 1070) a Catholic priest, who converted to Judaism

Wojciech Bobowski known as Ali Ufki was born in Poland. Composed an Ottoman Psalter, based on the Genevan metrical psalter, and was considered one of the most important 17th-century figures in Ottoman music.

Ali Ufki /Genevan Psalter: Psalm 8

Here is a list of some of the works that I will  present in this year’s special:
De Profundis by Polish composer, Marian Borkowski (1934- )
Seven Last Words by American composer, Bern Herbolsheimer (1948- )
Complete Psalm XVIII, “I cieli immensi narrano” from Estro poetico-armonico by Italian composer, Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739) – my favorite recording with Coro e Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana with Edwin Loehrer conducting

 Benedetto Marcello used Hebrew melodies in his Estro poetico-armonico

Stabat Mater by Welsh composer, Paul Mealor (1975- )
Mizrach
by Israeli composer, Betty Olivero (1954- )
Toward the Night
by Japanese composer, Somei Satoh (1947- )

Passion Week (complete) by Russian composer, Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) – The last major sacred work composed in Russia after the imposition of Communism in its World Premiere Recording by the highly acclaimed Cappella Romana

Jewish/Lithuanian born Maximilian Steinberg joined the Eastern Orthodox Church upon his marriage to Rimsky-Korsakov’s daughter

plus music by: Jean Colin, Alan Hovhaness, Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Valentin Silvestrov, and many others

Classical Discoveries airs each Wednesday on WPRB at 103.3 FM Princeton or on-line at www.wprb.com

If you cannot listen the day of the broadcast,  you can listen to the archives for over two weeks after each show at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_music.html

Return of Marathonmaniac

Final moments at Viva 21t Century Marathon.  left: composers Daniel Dorf, back: Robert Moran, Susan T.Nelson and  Amanda Harberg

Final moments at 2014 – Viva 21st Century Marathon. left: composers Daniel Dorff, back: Robert Moran, Susan T. Nelson and Amanda Harberg

I am embarrassed to look at my blog and to see how long it has been since I wrote anything. Some might think that I disappeared which is of course not the case. Here I am!! I am back!!!

Between teaching, administrative duties at my school, and of course radio I really do not have much time left. Once again, I am promising that even if I do not have much time, I will post some pictures or music videos to keep the blog going.

I never will catch-up with all the blogs that I could have written during the last few years. Despite this, I will try to summarize things I still remember in a few sentences.

  • I became more active (at least during broadcasts of Classical Discoveries) on Twitter. If you want to follow me you can do so @MarvinRosen. You will find out during my radio broadcasts what music is coming next.
  • The Piano Duo “Venti Dita” CD became available on CD Baby in April 2013 and sold pretty well, meaning that we at least recouped most of our expenses.
  • Have done a few performances, concerts and some lectures about new music. Have been the subjects of a few newspaper stories.
  • In 2013 I received theDistinguished Musician Alumni Award from TCNJ.
  • Have finally meet one of my favorite, Slovak composers Vladimir Godár in New York.
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Composers: Peter Breiner and Vladimír Godár with Publisher & Editor of Music & Literature Magazine: Taylor Davis-Van Atta – guest on Classical Discoveries

So what did I miss with regard to my radio program?

  • Presented three more annual Viva 21st Century Marathons (two of three were actually 25 hour-long) – I hosted my 10th new music marathon this past December. *

With 10* to my credit (1 devoted to American composers and one to women), all live and hosted, some of my friends started call me a Marathonmaniac. Yes, I must be crazy to be on the air for 242 hours during 10 sittings. One of those days I will summarize how many new, 21st century compositions I have presented during all of my New Music Marathons combined.

* Actually 11th -24 hour but was devoted just to the music of Alan Hovhaness on his 100th hundred birthday year

I must say that being live on the air for 24-25 hours straight and playing that all wonderful music gets me so excited that I do not feel tired until about the 23rd hour. This is why I love it each year when my annual guests – composer friends like Daniel Dorff and Robert Moran (plus many that I have endless gratitude to but not mentioned here) visit me, especially close to the end and join me on the air talking about their recent, just written works.

Nothing can replace a live, unedited, spontaneous DJ trying to speak, after being on the air for many, many hours. This is one of the special, unique moments of live radio.  Someone told me that I was the first who dared to present a 24 hour live marathon devoted to compositions just written after 2000 when I did this back in 2007 (of course in addition to playing new music on Classical Discoveries each week for almost 18 years)

I am sorry to say this but many people have forgotten this already or have maybe chosen to ignore it, have simply very short memories, or are maybe playing politics. I do not know, but I am OK with this and very happy that there are others doing 24 hour Marathons featuring new music. We need these more often since we already have plenty of new music to present on many marathons.

In 2007 it was much harder to organize 24 hours of good, diverse new music but now it is a totally different story.

Maybe one day I will try to do 30 straight hours. Should I do it? Should I announce a challenge “The Game of XXI-Marathons”? Hmmmm?.

ana

Talking about new music news: Last Wednesday I presented the World Premiere Broadcast of the just premiered (February, 2015) Viper Concerto for Viper electric violin and orchestra by Serbian composer, Ana Milosavljevic composed in 2014!

  • Now I am working on my 3 specials:  “Sacred Bridges” (Wednesday, April 1, 5:30-11:00am), “Little Known Treasures of Early Music for Easter” (Sunday, April 5, 10:00am-1:00pm) and “Music for Orthodox Easter” (Sunday, April 12, 1:00-3:00pm).

So get ready. More blogs are coming (I hope)!

Those Magnificent Philadelphians!

You might think that the above title is referring to the famous Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Samuel Barber, or even Vincent Persichetti, but anyone who knows me would know that would not be totally the case. I am not trying to be disrespectful to them of course, but I’d rather focus on what is happening in Philadelphia now. We have many great musicians, composers and artists living and associated with the City of Brotherly Love.

Over the years some of them have visited the WPRB studio including Andrea Clearfield, George Crumb, Daniel Dorff, James Freeman, Jennifer Higdon and of course Alan Harler and Robert Moran, who are returning for a visit together this Wednesday, October 3  from 10:00am till 1:00pm for what promises to be an exciting 3 hours of programming!!  

Robert Moran at WPRB Studio during his 2011 interview

On the venue will be a discussion of the October 21, 2012 world premiere performance of Robert Moran’s Angus Dei and the commissioned, full-chorus version of the ethereal Trinity Requiem, with the Philadelphia Boys Choir and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, as well as of course other subjects related to music.

 

Alan Harler has been artistic director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia from 1988 and is only the 12th person to hold that position since the chorus’s founding in 1874.


He is an exceptional conductor with a global reach and is a strong supporter of new American music. During his tenure with the Mendelssohn Club, he has commissioned 48 new compositions. Yes, a man close to my heart.  I have attended many of their concerts for the last 15 years and was never disappointed. This will be Alan’s second visit to the WPRB studio.


Robert Moran is an American composer of operas and ballets as well as many orchestral, vocal, chamber and dance works.  He has been a “Classical Discoveries” guest several times over the years.

The Trinity Requiem issued on the Innova Label received the world premiere broadcast on Classical Discoveries in August, 2011 with a repeat broadcast during the 24-hour 9/11 Marathon.

This wonderful CD together with Moran’s 3 others issued on the Innova label as well as the Mendelssohn Club CD with music of Higdon, Clearfield and Primosh (also on Innova) will be offered as special premiums only on Wednesday, October 10 between 5:00am and 1:00pm during the special Fund Drive Edition of my program.

In a few days I will post more details about the Fund Drive and will also provide a  link to the list of special premiums offered only during the program.

Classical Discoveries airs each Wednesday on WPRB at 103.3 FM Princeton or on-line at www.wprb.com

If you cannot listen that day you have the option to record program via DAR.fm   (custom link:DAR.fm/classicaldiscoveries(wprb), or listen to the archives for over two weeks after each show at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_music.html

Robert Moran (*1937): Requiem: Chant du Cygne, for 4 Choruses and 4 Chamber Ensembles (1990).

Artistic Director Alan Harler Describes Andrea Clearfield’s World Premiere

The Kitten, Venti Dita and the Music!

It is  hard to imagine that there will be no more occasional sitting in front of the TV or enjoying the sounds of the garden in the evening with Beata and a glass of wine. Yes, I am going back to teaching this Monday.  I am sad about the passing of summer but am also exited about the new school year, especially that this year I will be teaching four classes of my favorite subject – music history. I am also looking forward to my upcoming recital and new CD of piano duos.

I did not do much of what I planned at all. I had no time for blogs, catching up with Facebook friends or extra trips to New York and the Amish County. My summer was devoted though to plenty of piano music and cats, two of my favorite subjects.

The Kitten!

On my last day of school we become  parents to a little, scroungy looking black kitten with white spots, who if would not be found by students in a Princeton University dumpster, would be crushed to death.

Pix day one

Now, after 3 months and dozens of sleepless nights, many broken flowerpots, chewed up hibiscus, 2 planters that became kitty litter boxes and dozens more emergency cleanups, our little kitten Pix, is taller and heavier than our biggest cat, Puszek. He provides us with joy and constant entertainment as well as a means for exercise for our other three other kitties that were sleeping over 20 hours a day.

Venti Dita!

Finally, after working for almost two years together with Jennifer, we came up with the name for our piano duo: Venti Dita. I think that this is a really cool, simple musical name – 20 fingers in Italian.

The biggest achievement and time-consuming activity this summer was the recording of our first duo CD devoted to contemporary music for piano 4 hands, at Purchase College, Purchase, NY.

When my wife commuted to work in Willow Grove in Pa. I always teased her that she picked the very early starting time of 5:30am to get good parking and to avoid traffic on the PA turnpike. The karma caught with me this summer when after my first trip to Purchase, I was almost late to our first recording session, despite the fact I left more than enough time.

Now it was her time for her to get back at me and remind me of the old times. After that first week I would leave home at 5am to pass the George Washington Bridge before it turned into a parking lot. My extra time would spent in a Diner having a hearty breakfast with Jennifer and yes, sipping good tea, especially since we would take only a short break for lunch that Beata packed for us in a small cooler so we would not waste time driving to another diner. Coming back home was also tied up to traffic patterns. Having dinner before leaving Westchester solved this problem and most times I had a smooth trip home.

I feel sorry for drivers that must put up with this kind of aggravation on the road every day. For last 15 years I take a train instead of drive to New York.

I am very lucky to live very close to my school as well as to WPRB, since the traffic around Princeton is not much better, especially now when NJDOT closed a few local roads, creating havoc for local drivers.

We had 3 recording sessions plus 3 sessions with our wonderful engineer, Andy Cardenas.  One recording session was extremely exhausting since we could  not use the air conditioner and the temperature outside soared to  98 degrees.

Yea!!!! We have a gold master and it sounds really great, but we still have many steps to take care before the CD can be released. Hopefully the recording will be out before the end of the year.  Cannot wait!!!

The Music!

Each year I devote much time in the summer to listen to music, but this summer I spent more time at the piano.

Besides hosting my both radio programs at WPRB, and yes, celebrating at the end of May the beginning of my 16th year on the air, I spent my summer preparing for the recording sessions as well as my upcoming piano recital devoted to contemporary music.

On the radio I presented a few special Early Music Editions, hosted a jazz program with music by classical composers inspired by jazz, and had a few guests such as the young Serbian composer-violinist Ana Milosavljević, Australian composer and conductor Sean O’Boye, Elliott Carter expert Joe Barron, and pianist Rosanne Vita Nahass who recently released a CD featuring the Concord, Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass.  by Charles Ives. Finally, I celebrated John Cage’s 100th Birthday with an unexpected 6-hour edition of “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde”.

My piano recital titled “Contemporary Piano Miniatures”, will be Sunday afternoon, September 23 at 3:00pm in Bristol Chapel at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and will include music from many countries. I will be joined in several works by my piano duo partner Jennifer Castellano, and will perform selections included on our upcoming CD.

And yes, this concert is FREE!!!!  So if you are around, please join me and if you are afraid of new music, here is your opportunity to try without risk. Princeton is a charming town in  early autumn.

If you listen to “Classical Discoveries” you will recognize the names of many composers. In addition, you will hear a complete performance of the work by my duo partner Jennifer I use as my opening theme.

I feel very lucky that I am in position as an educator, performer and radio host to expose new and unknown music to many.

Before I conclude, I would just like to remind you all that we must support our living composers today as they were supported by their contemporaries in earlier centuries.

If you want directions or more information please email me at Marvinarosen@gmail.com

If you are on Facebook and attend please sign the guest list at: https://www.facebook.com/events/438945242823380/

Classical Discoveries – First 15 years on the air

When I nervously walked for the first time to the WPRB studio at about fifteen minutes to six on Thursday morning, May 29, 1997 I had no idea that I would be celebrating 15 years on the air.

It was only days after a trip to Poland and finding out that I would be losing my position as Classical CD Buyer at the Princeton University Store. The new management did not see any value in promoting classical music and got better returns in selling t-shirts.

After all, who needed culture in a University town? A few “3 Tenors” CD’s strategically placed between trashy books was enough to make a better profits with the average tourists visiting town. It did not count that my small, eclectic department attracted buyers (attending workshops and University conferences) from all over the world and that these buyers roamed around the store spending money on other stuff.

When I walked into the WPRB studio I did not know that this would be the only good thing keeping me going for the next 2 years.

I am very proud of Princetonians. The news of the closing CD department caused a public outcry that caused the temporary reversal of the initial decision, but I paid dearly for it. I resigned from my position after 2 years, when I could not endure any more harassment (privately and in front of all other management staff) and psychological bullying, something I will never forget. I should have walked out when the original decision was made because after that whatever I would do was insufficient or wrong for management.

This is when in the mist of all things Classical Discoveries, an idea of the advertising guru for Princeton University Store, was born. Since WPRB’s advertising rates were (and still are) the best around and they were looking for summer Classical DJ’s, my position in both places could help. Unfortunately again, management was not interested in promoting CD sales while helping a local station at the same time.

I remember like yesterday my first day when after 15 minutes of training (yes, 15 minutes before WPRB went on the air) by a DJ named Tyler, I had been left on my own and remember that my voice was shaking.  Boy, was I nervous! I even forgot to stop the CD player and announced the next work while the first CD was still playing.

New t-shirt with Classical Discoveries logo

It took several months for my program to become what it is now and you can read about that in one of my first blogs ”More about me”

Like everything in life, I have had good times and bad times, but I will never regret the moment when I realized that during my first trying months on the air, I could make a difference for music and composers that are not household names. Over the years many of them, as well as some listeners have become my friends.

To this day,  planning my radio show is one of the most fun things I do every week, and it is still amazing to think that this all started during one of the most difficult times of my life.  It has never been a chore to get up at 4:00am, or to stay awake for 24 hours during one of my marathons.

During the last 15 years I have had many mishaps and disasters. Some of these were funny and some were embarrassing. These keep live radio exciting since you never know what may happen next. I was turned into an icicle when locked out at 5:15am outside of Bloomberg Hall for 50 minutes with a wind-chill factor of 0 during a Christmas break. I was also locked out,  outside of the studio for 45 minutes during a Fund Drive. Luckily the music kept playing and the phones kept ringing during this time!  I barely made it to the hospital for hernia surgery, being saved by Jon Solomon, after the next DJ following me could not make to the station, with a FCC agent breathing down my neck.

I lived through the station moving from the dungeons of Holder Hall to the new place in Bloomberg Hall in 2004. I was delighted when we moved because I stopped getting parking tickets!  I also lived through the time when we became member supported several years ago.  During my 15 years, there have been at least 12 classical directors and 14 station managers as well as countless numbers of student and community DJ’s, some of whom I remember and some I do not.

At ASCAP Award Ceremony with Paul Moravec and Beata

I remember December 15, 2005, when after 2 hours waiting for my turn, I lost my voice during my acceptance speech at the ASCAP Award ceremony in NY. Imagine, getting a radio award and losing my voice in front of an auditorium full of people. Thinking about this now, really makes me laugh!

In 2001 with help of a friend, I created my website, with the picture of my first piano CD as a logo. The  website and logo went through a face-lift in 2009. In 2007, following the example of the Christmas Marathon Giant Jon Solomon, I presented my 1st 21st Century Music Marathon.  In the summer of 2008, the new program “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde” was born (program designed to accommodate works that very often fall between the cracks and are difficult to classify as well as many electronic selections and more avant-garde works ignored by most radio stations).

Thanks to the help of friend and composer, Steve Layton and my wife, you can listen to archived programs for over 2 weeks after their first broadcast just by going to special page on my website, or if you prefer you can record and download the programs through Dar.fm – Digital Recorder.  These new features began just a few months ago.

Some weeks ago, I finally located a box of memorabilia that contained 3 notebooks of old playlists from 1997 till March 2001. I forgot so many things and going through each page brought back many memories.

Classical Discoveries two first playlists

The most important thing is that without a station like WPRB – a station that supports individuality, my program could not exist.  I know, that no classical manager on a regular commercial or NPR station would allow me to program 100% the music of my choice. Thank you WPRB for my last 15 years on the air.

When you read this blog, please remember that thou all DJ’s at WPRB are volunteers, the station needs your support to survive and pay its expenses.

I  would like to thank to all listeners that supported me through all those years. Your phones and letters were and are very important to me.

I cannot end this memory trip without giving a credit to my wonderful wife, Beata. Without her endless support and hours of hard work on my website this program would never be what it is. I also want to thank her for her endless patience with me in learning correct Polish and other Slavic language pronunciation. I am always asked if I speak fluent Polish. No, I don’t speak Polish at all.  The only thing I can say in Polish is not very suitable to write, a sentence I used to say while walking our dog.

Yes, It has been an exciting 15 years and all I can say is that I hope that in 15 years from now I will be celebrating 30 years on the air.

I hope, that you will be able to join me and celebrate my 15th anniversary this Wednesday, May 29 at 5:30am till 1:00pm. The combined Classical Discoveries and the Avant-Garde Edition will include listener requests and many works, which were officially presented as première broadcasts during the last 15 years.

As always, you can find more find more at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org  – home page for the program where new music lives for 15 years and where many discoveries begin.

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