The musicians of Ensemble Bravura love playing together, but that’s not all they have in common.
The title of the group’s debut album, “Finding Home,” reflects its members’ shared status as international musicians, said founder Philip Mann, music director of the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra.
The composers of the pieces on the album have all been influenced by Russian Jewish heritage, filtered through the American experience, and flautist Alexa Still, guitarist Jason Vieaux and pianist Tatiana Roitman Mann identify with this, a Mann said.
“It was this notion of these kinds of wandering musicians, these citizens of the world who develop their voices through their travels and their experiences. And that resonated with the musicians of Ensemble Bravura. I think a lot of between us felt that our stories were similar,” he said.
Available on the Sony Classical label this week for streaming, the album features artists who have impressed Mann throughout his career.
“It’s an opportunity to bring together some of my favorite artists from around the world to play together in an intimate chamber orchestra. And it’s an opportunity to showcase new repertoire,” he said. “These are all people that I have loved working with, that I have in very high regard.”
Still received his doctorate from the State University of New York Stony Brook and won competitions including the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and the East and West Artists Competition. At 23, she returned home as principal flute of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. His other awards include a Churchill Fellowship and a Fulbright.
Vieaux won a Grammy for his solo album “Play” in 2014. He has performed as a soloist with over 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Toronto, Houston, Nashville and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, working with conductors such as Giancarlo Guererro, Jahja Ling, Gerard Schwarz and Michael Stern.
Roitman Mann has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber artist around the world. His recording of the original big band version of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” was released in Naxos on the critically acclaimed “Jazz Nocturne — American Concertos of the Jazz Age” album. She is a sought-after collaborator with the principal performers of the world’s greatest orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestras.
“It’s just kind of a parlor crackerjack or chamber orchestra,” Mann said. He was elected a Rhodes Scholar, won the Vienna Philharmonic Karajan Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival, and was an American Conducting Fellow with the League of American Orchestras.
He has also served as assistant conductor for performances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw and Cleveland Orchestra. Previously Music Director of the Oxford City Opera, he held positions with the Indianapolis and San Diego Symphonies.
The album includes three world premiere recordings, “Air (for Flute and Piano)” by Aaron Jay Jenkins, and “A Time of Uncertainties (from Three Orchestral Essays)” and “Concierto del Luna, for Flute, Guitar and Orchestra “, both by Michel Fine.
Fine’s “Finding Home (from Suite for Strings)” opens the album, and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34” and Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring (Ballet for Martha)” complete the selection.
Alexander Bedenko on clarinet, Grace Park and Kiril Laskarov on violin, Elias Goldstein on viola and Maxim Velichkin on cello join Roitman Mann to perform Prokofiev’s piece.
“I think we have the best recording of Prokofiev’s ‘Overture on Hebrew Themes,'” Mann said, adding that “Appalachian Spring” is one of his signature pieces as a conductor.
The title of the album came to Mann when the band recorded “Finding Home”.
“It was so beautiful, just amazing,” he said. I realized that we all had something, that we all shared a similar history, and that we were all somehow finding our home, looking for our homes as these fleeting and ephemeral performance beings. transients which are the sum of our experiences.