AMHERST, Mass. – An album of new works by renowned composer George Tsontakis, including a concerto featuring UMass Amherst trumpet professor Eric Berlin, has been included in NPR Music’s Top 10 Classical Albums of 2017.
The album, which was released by Naxos Records in August, includes Tsontakis’s True Colors, a jazz-tinged work in two movements that was inspired by Berlin’s career trajectory. The recording by the Albany Symphony Orchestra features Berlin, who is also the ASO’s principal trumpet and fellow UMass Amherst music and dance department faculty members GregSpiridopoulos (principal trombone), John Bottomley (principal tuba) and recently retired Stephen Walt (principal bassoon). Last December, Berlin and the UMass Symphony Orchestra performed the work with the composer in attendance.
In his review, NPR’s Tom Huizenga writes, “True Colors, for Albany’s trumpeter Eric Berlin, travels through spacious Copland-like tonalities and jazz.”
“The ASO’s funding of this commission and recording this work for me is the greatest honor and the high point of my professional career,” Berlin said. A member of the UMass Amherst faculty since 2001, Berlin is also a member of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The recording can found online at Amazon.com and iTunes as well as streamed through the UMass library’s subscription to the NAXOS Music Library.