UMFK professor’s compositions premiered in Europe

FORT KENT, Maine – The cliché, “good things come to those who wait,” applies to the recent activities of UMFK music professor Dr. Scott Brickman. Dr. Brickman’s Sinfonia Brevis (Symphony #2) for String Orchestra, which was premiered Feb. 10, 2016 in L’viv, Ukraine, by the L’viv Chamber orchestra conducted by Ferdinando Nazzaro, was recently recorded by the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland, conducted by Pawel Kotla and released on the Phasma CD 035.

Dr. Brickman’s Symphony #3, Baltic Poem, was premiered June 1 by the Symphony Orchestra at the National Philharmonic of the Republic of Moldova, conducted by Mihail Agafita. This work, written in 2016, has waited five years for a performance. 

“I think both my rather large orchestra, which includes instruments such as a contrabassoon, English horn, and tuba, as well as large percussion ensemble with a lot of bells, cymbals and gongs, requiring three percussionists plus a timpanist, have been a bit of an obstacle in securing performances,” said Dr. Brickman.

As well as recording Dr. Brickman’s Symphony #2, The Kalisz Philharmonic again led by Maestro Kotla, also recorded a recent composition of his, Boginka (2021), a tone-poem for double string orchestra. This is released on Phasma CD 036. Boginka, in Polish mythology, is a swamp demon who steals babies from their mothers and replaces them with demonic babies who are difficult and cranky. Even today in parts of Poland, mothers place red and white bracelets on their children’s wrists as a way of ensuring that they are indeed their children and not “replacement babies” left by Boginka.

“I’m really excited about these performances and recordings,” said Dr. Brickman. “In my opinion, the string players in European Orchestras are phenomenal. While my Symphony #2 does not present any serious challenges, the other two works are fairly complex. Both orchestras and conductors display a fearlessness that I find both awe inspiring and humbling. In the case of the Kalisz Philharmonic’s recording of Boginka, because the five sections of the string orchestra are constantly split in half, there are significant stretches of music containing 10 independent parts. This orchestra is able to execute them not only flawlessly, but with a confidence that results in a very exciting recording.”

“Of course, the recordings by an orchestra in Poland are especially meaningful to me because my maternal ancestry is Polish,” added Dr. Brickman. “In fact, though my mother was born in the USA, Polish was her first language. Once COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted, I’m really hoping to get to both Moldova and especially Poland to hear performances of these works in person.”

Dr. Brickman’s compositions are recorded on the Parma label in the USA and on the Phasma label in Europe. His orchestral music has also been performed in Croatia and Czechia. 

Dr. Brickman holds music degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Brandeis University. Dr. Brickman has taught at UMFK since the fall of 1997. Professional recordings of his music are available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other digital platforms, and through hard copies primarily but not exclusively on the Parma and Phasma labels.

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