June 15, 2015
Composer/pianist Barbara Graff releases her new instrumental album, “Pergola: Purely Piano.“ Pergola includes a fun song titled “Broad Ripple Blues,” a fusion of New Age/Contemporary piano and traditional blues, along with 14 other New Age piano compositions. The title track, “Pergola,” expresses the beautiful canopy of vines that inspire this namesake song.
Another composition, “Cataract Lake,” was inspired by the beautiful area around Cataract Falls in Cataract, Indiana.
This is Barbara’s third instrumental album. She also composed and performed a holiday-themed single, “Christmas Magic,” released in December 2014 and featuring vocalist Chloe Boelter.
Barbara’s music is featured on commercial radio, as well as several Internet radio stations. Barbara’s singles and albums are available for download or purchase on iTunes, Amazon.com, and CD Baby. Go to Barbaragraffmusic.com to preview full-length selections from her new album, “Pergola.”
It may sound like something from times past – romantically-inspired music full of tenderness and longing dedicated to one’s true love – yet My Beloved proves that love’s inspiration is as timeless and relevant as ever. Today, internationally-renowned pianist and composer Michael Dulin celebrates the release of his latest work, My Beloved, an intensely personal solo piano album dedicated to his wife, Jan. Equity Digital Music of Birmingham, AL, is releasing the album, which will be available for sale both physically and digitally on all major online music stores, and on the artist’s own website at www.michaeldulin.com.
My Beloved – A Solo Piano Love Story is a beautifully melodic and passionate testament to enduring love, blending classic and contemporary influences to create a 12-song collection that critics are saying "makes every time you listen to it feel like Valentine's Day." Fittingly, the album’s six-panel digipak is filled with insightful liner notes, romantic quotes by Ruben Dario, Plato, and E.E. Cummings, complemented by elegant images and deep red graphics. To tie in with Valentine’s Day 2015, a special gift-with-purchase, a set of contemporary glass coasters, available through February 14th with each physical CD purchase from the website.
Dulin, a Juilliard-trained pianist who has competed on the international level, effortlessly crosses genres from classical to jazz to new age, as exhibited previously on albums like Timeless, Atmospheres, and Follow the River. While My Beloved may deliver touches of Neo-Classical, Jazz and New Age sounds, one of today’s leading piano music reviewers, Kathy Parsons, avoids categorization calling it, simply, “pure solo piano heaven” and adding “With My Beloved, Michael Dulin proves once again that he’s ‘The Man’ when it comes to the piano… sure to be a Favorite for 2015, I give My Beloved my highest recommendation.”
Perhaps due to the intensely personal nature of this project, Dulin took a fresh approach, investing in fine tuning his 7-foot Steinway model B grand piano, and hiring renowned recording engineer Courtney McGukin. He also consulted with producers Michael Fine and Max Wilcox (producer of Arthur Rubinstein’s RCA recordings) as well as the tech teams at DPA and Millennia on new microphone equipment. For mastering, Dulin explains, “I had mastered all of my previous CDs myself at our studio, but, this time I was led to take My Beloved to Boston to have it mastered by two-time GRAMMY® winner Mark Donahue at SoundMirror Studios. He was a dream to work with and I couldn't be more pleased with the sound.”
Dulin is offering a sleekly-bound book and digital downloads of the sheet music to My Beloved. The artist launched a robust new website, a new quarterly newsletter, a gift-with-purchase offer, radio appearances, and a schedule of live concert events to share the new music. In April 2015, he’ll return to the Pacific Northwest with fellow pianist Greg Maroney, in a series of ten "Hearts & Hands" concert dates, including Seattle’s historic Daniels Recital Hall and Portland’s Classic Pianos.
“This is my most personal album to date. I hope you’ll be able to live your own love story through My Beloved,” Dulin says, “and that the music will inspire you to think about the true meaning of love and devotion in your life.”
All songs on My Beloved are composed and performed by Michael Dulin, ©2014 Equity Digital (BMI); total running time for the album is 59:22.
When John Burke starts out the semester in one of his classes for his master in public administration (M.P.A.) program at Georgia State his professors usually ask students to introduce themselves.
His classmates rattle off familiar fields of study for the M.P.A. program: Government affairs. Non-profit management. Business and finance.
They usually have backgrounds in public service for governments or non-profits.
And when it’s Burke’s turn?
“I say my name’s John, I’m doing management and finance, and I’m a musician,” said Burke, a pianist with two internationally recognized solo albums under his belt.
It turns heads. While Georgia State has a renowned School of Music, Burke has chosen to pursue an academic program in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
“One professor, she asked, ‘What the hell is a musician doing here in the public administration program?’” he recalled. “It’s a long story, but I’m motivated to stay in the program,” Burke said.
The 25-year-old, who virtually has his own freelance business, composes music, serves as a choir director, records and teaches.
The M.P.A. program is yielding many benefits for his work in music, he said, making it well worth the effort to keep going.
“If it weren’t for this program, I wouldn’t know about business procedures and being a professional, responsible adult,” Burke said. “It taught me about personal finances. It’s taught me about entrepreneurship. It’s taught me about organization, and dealing with clients. It just goes to show that this program is extremely versatile.”
Burke has taken a long road to the M.P.A. program, from working in a Mexican restaurant to brush up on his Spanish while in his undergraduate years, and an 8-to-5 office job as a Spanish translator, to his musical endeavors.
During that journey, and after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Oglethorpe University, he was on the lookout for employment.
Inspired by his family’s history of public service, with his grandfather having worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and his father with the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, he sought a way to continue the legacy.
He found a perfect match in the M.P.A. program.
With the vigor of a young adult in his early 20s, he started the academic program while taking on a full-time translation job with an insurance company, along with part-time choir directing.
His career path began to point him more towards music as he explored songwriting and exploring piano music, something that was a once a hobby but spawned his two records, “Synesthesia” and “Reverie,” in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
They’ve been played internationally and reviewed critically, examining his musical approach that blends multiple influences from jazz and blues to rock.
“It’s been great having people listen and both agree with me, and disagree with me,” Burke said. “It means that they’re getting into it.”
Even with all of the changes in his life and career, with music now his greatest passion, he kept going with his master’s program. And he intends to finish this spring.
“It was pretty insane, it had its ups and downs, but I pushed through,” Burke said.
You're invited to listen to my solo piano piece: Niko's Delight (©2002 Brian Kelly).
Download it – View the sheet music – Share it – Enjoy!
You're invited to listen to my solo piano piece: Playing by Heart (©1994 Brian Kelly).
Download it – View the sheet music – Share it – Enjoy!
DECATUR — Michael Scherer wears many hats in his line of business, but the musician will soon slip into the role of pianist back on stage.
Decatur native Scherer will perform at the Decatur Celebration on the Central Park Stage on Friday evening.
Scherer, a graduate of the Jim Culbertson/Steve Schepper era MacArthur jazz band, said the program formed the foundation for his future career.
“(Culbertson and Schepper) were very disciplined,” he said. “'C' (Culbertson) was always on the mark, but it was the key that I needed. He knew how to develop people into musicians.”
Scherer graduated from Millikin University with a degree in commercial music, which he has parlayed into several job opportunities. One of those came in the form of a Korean production crew filming in Illinois. Scherer was hired on to compose the music for the film, titled “Slap Down.” Scherer said he and business partner Zach Garrett studied film scoring through Berklee College of Music online, so the production allowed him to put his extra training to use.
“That was a cool experience, being able to work with the director and (crew members) and finding out what their vision is,” he said. “The music ended up shaping a lot of the scenes as they were filming.”
Beyond cinematic endeavors, Scherer used his degree to form Dreamvizion Productions, a sonic branding company, along with Garrett. The team helps other businesses develop promotional tones and jingles, he said.
“It’s finding what’s a really creative way of branding a business that defines them through sound,” he said. “We do on-hold music and messaging as well.”
However, Scherer and Dreamvizion also produce studio albums with different artists. Scherer himself has produced five albums; he created his first and second albums, piano and gospel/hip-hop, respectively, at Millikin. His third album, “Exceeding Expectations,” hit national charts. He has also produced a second piano album and a Christmas album.
Scherer is now working on his sixth album, “That’s the Life,” which he and Garrett are in the process of mixing. Scherer will perform portions of the album, which features Scherer on piano and Garrett on guitar, during his Celebration performance, he said.
“It’s a mixture of smooth jazz and some funky songs, adult contemporary stuff, but it’s all instrumental,” he said.
The Celebration performances will encompass a variety of genres including jazz, funk and blues and will include an eight-piece band, Scherer said.
“We’ve got a drummer, a Latin percussionist, a keyboard bass player, two guitar players, a saxophonist, a vocalist and then myself on piano,” he said. “So it’s going to be a nice group.”
Group members include Zach Garrett (guitar), Arthur Hinton (vocals), Adam Blakey (saxophone), Dion Wilson (guitar), Kyle Lovett (keyboards/bass), Myra Johnson (Latin percussion) and Will Hood (drums).
Inspired by her mentor with New Age influences, and influenced by her love of artists as diverse as Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz and Sheryl Crow, Barbara began composing her own songs. Her debut album, “Second Act,” was born from this fusion of sound. Long versions of her "Second Act" album have been produced into a 60-minute spa CD, "Sweet Autumn Splendor."
The CD's and her newly released singles (July 2013) are available on iTunes, Amazon and at cdbaby.com/Barbaragraff2