Album features pianist Kevin Cole and long-time NOI+F conductor David Alan Miller
The National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F), a program of the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, released its fifth album of American music as part of their ongoing, nationally unique partnership with Naxos Records. Led by conductor David Alan Miller, a frequent NOI+F collaborator, it features the first recording of a new critical edition of George Gershwin’s Concerto in F. The concerto is performed by renowned pianist and Gershwin interpreter Kevin Cole. The album also includes Joan Tower's "Sequoia," John Harbison's "Remembering Gatsby" and Walter Piston's Symphony No. 5.
“The four works on this album feature an incredible tapestry of American voices," says Richard Scerbo, director of NOI+F. "Working alongside artists like Joan Tower, Kevin Cole and David Alan Miller illustrate the enormous impact this partnership brings to our students and listeners.”
One of the nation’s leading summer festivals, NOI+F brings together emerging orchestral musicians from across the country for a month of music-making and professional exploration. The partnership between Naxos and NOI+F launched in 2015 and offers a rare chance for young musicians to be featured on an international music label. The partnership has produced four recordings, with the album “Ruggles, Stucky, Harbison (2017)” earning a nomination for the 2019 Grammy in "Best Orchestral Performance.
Anchoring the recording is a new critical edition of George Gershwin’s iconic Concerto in F created by scholars and researchers at the University of Michigan’s Gershwin Initiative. Since the concerto’s premiere in 1925, the score underwent many revisions that were often inauthentic to the composer's musical intentions. This new edition, played masterfully by Kevin Cole (who is hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "the best Gershwin pianist in America") uses Gershwin's manuscripts and recordings to reinstate the composer’s true artistic choices.
"I am beyond excited to present Gershwin’s Concerto in F for the very first time the way Gershwin intended it, and in collaboration with the greatest Gershwin interpreter of our time, Kevin Cole, and the brilliant, mind-bogglingly virtuosic young performers of the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic," says conductor David Alan Miller.
Joan Tower and David Alan Miller work with NOI Philharmonic performers. Photo by David Andrews.
Joan Tower's immensely successful "Sequoia," which immortalized her presence in the orchestral repertory, implements winds, brass and percussion to represent both the tall branches and the deep rooting of the giant redwood trees. A titan among American composers, Tower has made lasting contributions as a composer, pianist and educator. The composer actively participated in the recording of this album, coaching NOI+F students alongside conductor David Alan Miller on their artistic approach of the piece.
The recording also features John Harbison “Remembering Gatsby,” a Jazz Age-inspired foxtrot-style dance for orchestra and Walter Piston’s Symphony No. 5, which journeys from a forceful and rugged character to a happy and rhythmic conclusion.