New Focus highlights composer portrait albums

From the first releases on the label, a core element of New Focus' mission has been to feature composers, particularly American composers who were deeply invested in building on a lineage of contemporary composition in our community. Several exciting recent releases continue this committment. Mikel Kuehn, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, released his Object/Shadow in November, featuring performances of his meticulous, multi-layered music by Ensemble Dal Niente, Gregory Beyer, Craig Hultgren, and Daniel Lippel. David Smooke's eclectic music highlights his broad range, incorporating microtonal elements, a sophisticated approach to minimalist repetition, and deft orchestration into his composition. His "Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death", released in October, includes his own performances on toy piano, a performance by the acclaimed Loadbang Ensemble, and a work for the Peabody Wind Ensemble, where Smooke is on faculty. The New York based TAK Ensemble released a riveting portrait CD of the music of Taylor Brook, "Ecstatic Music", that was featured as album of the week on Q2 Music, WQXR's division devoted to contemporary repertoire.!/story/tak-ensemble-conjures-magical-realism-taylor-brooks-ecstatic-music/

Coming in 2017, New Focus will release an album of the music of Carl Schimmel, recorded with the support of a Copland Fund for Recording grant in 2014. Schimmel's music possesses a Haydnesque wit, a penchant for literary references and inspirations and mathematical structures, and a wonderful flair for character.