Burmer Music composer Nan Avant nominated for Hollywood music award

“Musica Bella,” a jazz composition by Nan Avant that premiered at the Celebrate Jazz! concert in Seattle on April 28, 2018, was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award. Celebrate Jazz!, produced by Burmer Music, featured six jazz composers whose music was performed live by an orchestra of some of Seattle’s top musicians.

Avant’s composition was among 10 nominated in the jazz category, which also included veteran jazz artists Paul Messina and Alphonso Johnson. Johnson was announced as the winner in the jazz category at a gala dinner held in Hollywood, Calif., on November 14.

“We’re delighted that Burmer Music continues to bring such high-quality composers to the music scene in Seattle,” said Glenna Burmer, managing director. “This national recognition, and other awards we’ve garnered, point to the talent and originality of our composers.”

HMMA is an international music competition with two categories: music in media and music genre. Award categories include alternative rock, hip hop, jazz, blues and contemporary/classical/instrumental, among others. Its awardees are considered precursors to the Academy Awards.

“The evening was spectacular and gave me the opportunity to meet some very talented musicians and composers,” said Avant. “I’m honored to have been among this elite group of jazz musicians.”

Celebrate Jazz! delivers on its promise of music, magic and mystery

Celebrate Jazz!, the newest concert production from Burmer Music, which was held Saturday, April 28, 2018, delivered more just an evening of original jazz music—so much more!

There were beautiful costumes, complete with feathers, sparkly brooches and elbow-length gloves. Intricately beaded flapper dresses, swanky vests and wool fedoras, even a Salvador Dali look-alike complemented the Art Deco-inspired décor of the Lake Union Café. Most members in the 16-piece jazz orchestra sported feather boas of many colors.

Nancy Erickson, jazz singer and composerConcert-goers thrilled to the vocal artistry of jazz singer Nancy Erickson (left), one of the most talented vocalists working in Seattle jazz today. Erickson performed several of her own compositions as well as two pieces composed by Glenna Burmer (right).

Los Angeles Jazz Scene called Erickson “a skilled singer who is also an excellent songwriter,” and Jazz Lives cited her “wit, affection, reverence for tradition, and a thoroughly winning originality.”

French teenage prodigy Naémi-Eve Pomarede, a young piano superstar, flew in from Paris earlier that week to perform on several compositions.  Still a teenager, Pomarede’s amazing musicality belies her years, and she wowed the crowd in an encore that featured two classical works.

During the intermission, the 90 guests were entertained by the artistic talents and physical Nickolai, Peter and Kari at LUC Celebrate Jazzskills of juggler Nickolai Pirak, contortionist Peter Amelia and stilt walker/dancer Kari Hunter.

Keeping the program moving, as well as supplying his own style of entertainment, was master-of-ceremonies Eric DuBois, also known as The Genie (left).

Talented composers from both coasts premiered their jazz compositions at the concert. Composers were Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett, Eric Goetz, Tim Huling and Glenna Burmer. Tim Huling was conductor for the evening.

Lake Union Cafe delighted concert-goers with a delicious multi-course meal of small plates, from appetizers to a cheese course and dessert, delivered tableside with aplomb.

More Burmer Music concerts are in the works. Sign up for our fan club and you’ll be the first to know what’s coming up next!Tim Huling conducts the jazz band

Three new entertainers join Celebrate Jazz line-up

An evening of superb, and at times, surprising entertainment is in store for the April 28 performance of Celebrate Jazz! The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Art Deco-inspired Lake Union Café in Seattle, Wash.

Besides a dozen jazz-inspired compositions, many performed for the first time, the program includes three additional artists who will entertain concert-goers throughout the evening.

Juggler Nickolai Pirak (right) will bring his amazing skills to the Lake Union Café while contortionist Peter Amelia (below) will have the audience tied up in knots with his acrobatics. The beauty and artistry of aerialist Kari Hunter (lower right), from Portland, Ore., adds a touch of elegance to the evening.

“The performers will entertain between sets as well as at the beginning and at the end,” said concert producer Glenna Burmer. “Our audience will be filled with some pretty serious music lovers but we hope they will enjoy the diversion.”

Eric DuBois, the evening’s emcee, agrees. “The idea was to add something fun and unexpected to the evening,” said DuBois. “People are coming here looking for jazz, which they will get, but we also wanted to surprise them with a bit of circus-wild on the side.”

The work of five composers will be featured at Celebrate Jazz! They are: Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett, Eric Goetz, Tim Huling and Glenna Burmer.  Nancy Erickson will add jazz vocals to the mix, and French piano prodigy Naémi Pomarede, who is flying in from France, will perform on several solo selections, as well.

Huling will also conduct an orchestra of hand-picked musicians:

Trumpet: Tony Grasso and Andy Omdahl 
Alto Sax: Bruce Wilson
Tenor Sax: Brian Kent 
Bari Sax: Nathaniel Schleimer
Trombone: Gary Shutes 
Piano: Karin Kajita
Guitars: Milo Petersen, Frank Seeberger
Drums: Jeffrey Busch
Violins: Tom Dziekonski and Garrett Overcash
Viola: Jessica Jasper
Cello: Brad Hawkins 
Bass: Clipper Anderson

 

 

Idea for Celebrate Jazz began in 2015

Composer and concert producer Glenna Burmer finds her inspiration in different ways. From the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, which inspired Symphonic Stories, to the mysteries of the cosmos, which was the basis of Origins: Life and the Universe, Burmer Music concerts feature innovative collaborations between composers and musicians around a central theme, resulting in world-premiere performances.

The idea for Celebrate Jazz! was planted while Burmer was preparing for the Origins concert, which premiered at Benaroya Hall in 2015.

“I asked French astronomer Daniel Pomarede, who is tops in his field, to help with some of the video I needed for that production,” Burmer said. “He spent six months helping me but refused to accept any payment. Then I learned that his daughter Naémi was a brilliant pianist. I rewrote one of my compositions to feature a piano solo and strings.”

The music was infused with a jazzy beat and one thing led to another. “I contacted five composers I’ve worked with before, who are all experts in jazz, and asked if they were up for another concert” said Burmer. “They were thrilled and Celebrate Jazz! was born. Naémi will travel from Paris to perform this piece at our concert.”

The evening includes four original songs with vocals performed by local jazz favorite Nancy Erickson. The rest of the musical program will be instrumental selections.

The jazz theme is enhanced by the Art Deco-inspired setting of the Lake Union Café where the concert will be held. Gleaming wooden floors, banquettes tables, shiny copper ceiling tiles and seating for around 90 guests create an intimate 1920s jazz club interior.

Many concert-goers will be dressed in Great Gatsby-era costumes—from flapper dresses with long strings of pearls to fedoras and three-piece suits.

For Burmer, collaborating with her fellow composers and working outside her comfort zone are some of the elements she enjoys most about creating an evening of music. “There are so few opportunities for composers to hear their own music performed live since many compose for film, video or the gaming industry,” she said. “My goal is to combine the finest composers with the most talented musicians and create a musical treasure for the audience as well as the musicians to enjoy.”

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(Rehearsal photos by Derek Fordyce)