Collaborations — long-term and recent — are the focus of Paul Barnes’ latest album “New Generations.” The two-disc recording, which will be released Nov. 20 by Orange Mountain Music, celebrates the professor of piano’s 20-year association with composer Philip Glass and collaborations with younger composers, including Jason Bahr, N. Lincoln Hanks, Zack Stanton, Ivan Moody, Lucas Floyd and Jonah Gallagher.
“This is the culminating event of a two-year project,” Barnes said. “I’m thrilled with how well the recording came out and look forward to many CD release recitals in the future.”
The first “New Generations” disc includes eight tracks of Glass’ music, including the newly published Piano Etudes Nos. 5, 6, 8, 11, 16, 18 and 20, as well as “Dreaming Awake” (2003).
Disc two ifeatures Bahr’s “Two Preludes,” Stanton’s “Scene Route,” Hanks’ “Monstre Sacré,” Floyd’s “Piano Thoughts, Vol. II,” Moody’s “Fioriture” and Gallagher’s “Ad infinitum.”
“Each piece is just an incredibly different musical impression,” Barnes said. “The sonic result is a breathtaking panorama of the energetic and expressive landscape that is 21st century piano music.”
Barnes’ project began last fall when he was booked to be the convention artist for The Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers national festival in Los Angeles. He selected pieces from this group of composers for his program.
“In this recital, I had someone in his 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s,” Barnes said. “I had a composer writing through every generation.”
That experience led to Barnes’ naming the album “New Generations.”
Gallagher was just a sophomore at Biola University when Barnes selected to play his piece last fall.
“He was the youngest composer I had every programmed in my life,” Barnes said. “I realized this program I was doing had this interesting generational span, where I had this 21-year-old kid all the way up to Philip Glass, who is in his late 70s.”
The CD was recorded in May in UNL’s Kimball Recital Hall with Tom Larson, assistant professor of composition, serving as the recording engineer. Barnes received support from the Hixson-Lied Endowment and the Glenn Korff School of Music for the recording.
Barnes is excited about bringing this new repertoire to more people. It is his job to work with and inspire young musicians, Barnes said.
“When they realize there are young composers writing music that is so exciting and is really fun to play, then it gets them involved in that creative aspect,” he said.
He noted the response he received at the concert in Los Angeles last year.
“The recital I gave in Los Angeles got a standing ovation, and nobody in the audience had heard one note of any of this music before,” he said. “That to me is a huge sign that there’s hope for the future of classical music. If it all goes well, it can really move and touch people and get them really excited.”
Barnes has already performed the recital version of “New Generations” in Portland, Los Angeles, Seoul, New York and Vienna. His upcoming performances include Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, on Jan. 20; Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers on Feb. 4; and at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Maiori, Italy, this July.
The official CD release recital in Lincoln will be at 7:30 p.m. March 2 in Kimball Recital Hall. A reception will follow the performance. Copies of the CD will be available for sale, and Barnes will sign autographs at the reception.
“There is no better way to celebrate this CD release than a recital at the institution that made it possible,” he said. “I have so many dear friends and supporters here in Nebraska and cannot wait to play for them on March 2.”
“New Generations” will be available via iTunes, Amazon.com and other retail outlets.
For more information on Barnes, or to watch videos of him performing compositions on “New Generations,” click here.