UM professor collaborates locally and internationally to release new album

Courtesy Thomas Sleeper

The Frost School of Music faculty’s own Thomas Sleeper will release a new CD of original music this week featuring artists from both the University of Miami and the acclaimed Russian National Orchestra.

The project, which presents three works, is the first CD to be produced that includes only Sleeper’s compositions. It will feature recordings from the University of Miami, Dallas and the historic Great Hall of Moscow, which has served as a performance hall for many great composers, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

“The whole process has been very exciting. It has been great working with exceptional performers and orchestras,” said Sleeper, who conducts the Frost Symphony Orchestra and serves as director of orchestral activities at the Frost School of Music.

Among the orchestras included on the album is the renowned Russian National Orchestra (RNO), which has recorded over 60 esteemed classical CDs since its debut in 1990. The RNO plays alongside UM’s Frost School of Music alumna Dr. Ashley Garritson on Sleeper’s “Six Arias for Cello and Orchestra.”

Sleeper’s second piece on the CD, “Xenia,” also features contributions from the UM community. The piece is conducted by Frost Symphony Orchestra associate conductor Zoe Zeniodi and is arranged as a six-movement orchestral song cycle based upon text from the celebrated novel “The Love-Artist” by UM’s Master of Fine Arts Professor Jane Alison.

“I find [Alison’s] writing both direct and powerful. Her work is multi-layered and very musical,” Sleeper said.

Sleeper, who has advocated for non-traditional composition throughout his career, will also release his critically acclaimed “Symphony No. 1” on the album, which was premiered at Southern Methodist University by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra in 2007 and conducted by Paul Phillips.

Overall, the recordings on the album are taken from a four-year period of Sleeper’s career at UM, during which he has traveled, taught and collaborated with students and faculty on numerous projects including the award-winning documentary, “One Water.”

“One of the main reasons I have remained at UM is the outstanding level of my colleagues,” Sleeper said. “Outstanding quality is outstanding quality whether local or abroad.”

The new CD of Sleeper’s works will be available for purchase through Albany Records, Amazon.com, iTunes and emusic.com Wednesday.

David Sargent may be contacted at dsargent@themiamihurricane.com.

August 29, 2010


David Sargent

Contributing EDGE Writer

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