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! concert only one month away

On a cool spring evening, away from the roar of the I-5 overpass and Eastlake Avenue, more than a dozen talented musicians, five amazing composers and one spirited jazz singer transformed the Lake Union Café into a stylish 1920s jazz club.

Under three 10-foot-tall Art Deco-style chandeliers, surrounded by crisp white tablecloths and black leather banquettes, shiny copper ceiling tiles and warm wood floors, the space offered just the right combination of chic, glitter and sophistication.

This was the scene at the first full rehearsal of Celebrate Jazz!, the latest production from Burmer Music. The concert will be held Saturday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and will include a selection of traditional jazz along with new work composed just for this event.

Virtuoso jazz vocalist Nancy Erickson, one of the most talented local singers working in jazz today, will be solo guest artist. The Los Angeles Jazz Scene called Erickson “a skilled singer who is also an excellent songwriter, Ms Erickson has an appealing tone and does justice to lyrics and swings.” Jazz Lives cites her “wit, affection, reverence for tradition and a thoroughly winning originality.”

Also performing will be Naémi-Eve Pomarede, a young piano superstar flying in from Paris to perform. Still a teenager, Pomarede’s amazing musicality belies her years.

Billed as a night of magic and whimsy, concert-goers are asked to come dressed in their favorite Art Deco or Roaring 20’s-style costumes. A few special guests will circulate among the crowd, adding mystery—and a dose of fun— to the evening. More details to be announced soon.

Five composers from both coasts have written new jazz compositions for Celebrate Jazz! They are Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett, Eric Goetz, Tim Huling and Glenna Burmer. Huling will also conduct an orchestra of musicians from the Seattle area.

Concert tickets were swept up within the first week of advertising, but recordings will be available in May. If you are interested in future Burmer Music events, email us and get on the fan list.

(Photos by Derek Fordyce)

Celebrate Jazz! combines music, magic and mystery

It’s been said that jazz embodies the art of surprise. And Celebrate Jazz! does that in spades!Celebrate Jazz! Poster

The newest production from Burmer Music will be on Saturday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at Lake Union Café, a dazzling event venue overlooking Lake Union.

Celebrate Jazz! will feature popular jazz favorites as well as original music composed just for this evening. Composers are Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett, Eric Goetz, Tim Huling and Glenna Burmer.

Several solo artists will join the line-up that evening. One of these will be the talented Naémi-Eve Pomarede, a teenage piano superstar from Paris, whose amazing musicality belies her years.

Billed as a night of magic and whimsy, many concert-goers will be dressed in their favorite Art Deco-style costumes. A few special guests will circulate among the crowd, adding mystery and a dose of fun to the evening. More details to be announced as the concert date nears.

For this special event, Tim Huling conducts an orchestra of hand-picked musicians that are a who’s who of Seattle jazz:

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

Burmer Music sponsors first Composer’s Workshop

The Composer’s Workshop, an innovative new project by Burmer Music giving local composers the opportunity to hear their works played live in an intimate salon setting, was launched in February. The workshops are part of the creative process leading up a new concert to be sponsored by Burmer Music in the fall.

The first workshop, held Feb. 4, featured original pieces by composers Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett and Glenna Burmer written for a string octet with solo piano, clarinet, guitar or mandolin. Musicians were Madeline Woodward, Glenna Burmer, Nan Avant, Barry Dowsett, Sarah Ison, Sandra Layman, Dawn Corl, Annmarie Sewell and Bruce Kulander.

The Composer’s Workshop offers a unique opportunity for young symphonic composers. “My goal was to create a friendly environment that allowed composers to hear their music live during an early phase of the composition process,” explained Burmer. “This gives them the chance to stretch their skills and explore different instrument combinations and new musical genres before they go into a recording studio or concert hall.”

Nan Avant contributed two works during the February workshop: “Sonore” (French for “resonant with rich tone”) and “Musica Bella,” a Latin work for guitar, strings, percussion and piano. Composer Barry Dowsett wrote a piece entitled “Bluest Ice,” for string ensemble and clarinet.

Burmer wrote three pieces that were performed: “Winter Dance” for bowed psaltery and chamber ensemble; “The Puppy Dance” for piano and strings; and “The Reindeer Riders,” a chamber piece with solo clarinet inspired by the hunter-gatherers of the Kamchatka peninsula and Sakhalin Islands.

“It’s so important for someone composing music to hear it performed by live musicians early in the process,” said composer Avant. “That kind of feedback is invaluable to a composer.” Barry Dowsett agreed: “This is a fantastic way for a composer to work through the instrumental techniques and textures of a composition in a relaxed and supportive environment. From this experience, we gain valuable insight into what is effective musically and what is not.”

Burmer, managing director of Burmer Music, has produced several sold-out symphonic concerts at Benaroya Hall, including Symphonic Stories, Celebrate World Music, and Origins: Life and the Universe.

She plans to host a Composer’s Workshop every few months, exploring different instruments combinations and genres at each session. The next session will include jazz and torch songs, and will feature vocalists as well as chamber ensemble with solo instruments. The Composer’s Workshop is sponsored by Burmer Music and powered by Shunpike.