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.”

Want to be the first to hear about Burmer Music news and upcoming concerts? Send us an email and we’ll add you to the fan list.

(Rehearsal photos by Derek Fordyce)

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.