The new album “Music Here & Now” (Innova Recordings) features the first commercial recording of Assistant Professor of Music Mark Olivieri’s four-movement piano concertino, “Stress Test.”
“It’s always nice when your creative work is recognized,” says Olivieri, “but in this case, it’s wonderful to be included among peers whom you really respect.”
The album features Olivieri and six other Central New York composers of diverse backgrounds, all of whom were commissioned by the Syracuse-based advocacy organization, Society for New Music.
In addition to commissioning the work of upstate-based composers, the Society acts as a catalyst for the growth of the Central New York musical community, recognizing young composers in New York State, using traditional and social media to promote for new music, and sponsoring performances. The group’s wide-range is reflected in the eclecticism of the album, Olivieri says.
“That’s a cool thing about the Society,” he explains. “They don’t privilege any specific type of composer. Some of the pieces on the album are minimal. Others are saturated with many notes and rhythms. It runs the gamut.”
“Stress Test” is an example of Olivieri’s improvisatory creative process, in which he starts at the piano, “generating material, then moves away to work out the material, then perhaps returns to the instrument to check the voicing.” After its 2010 debut, “Stress Test” has been performed in several venues ranging from Geneva, N.Y. to Medellin, Colombia.
Olivieri, who joined the HWS faculty in 2010, teaches courses in music theory and music in American culture, and conducts the Colleges Jazz Ensemble. He has earned international commissions and residencies across the U.S., including as composer-in-residence in the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport. He holds a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, an M.M. from Ithaca College Music Conservatory and a B.M. from Heidelberg College.