IonSound Project

IonSound Project

Chamber music of tenacious beauty.
Jeremy Beck
IonSound Project
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Louisville, KY

Release Date: 
Jun 28, 2011
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

IonSound Project, the engaging new music sextet based in Pittsburgh, reveals music by composer Jeremy Beck that inspires dancing, dreaming, and - like the City of Bridges itself - communicates a gritty energy of hope and promise. Comprising flutist Peggy Yoo, clarinetist Kathleen Costello, violinist Laura Motchalov, cellist Elisa Kohanski, pianist Rob Frankenberry and percussionist Eliseo Rael, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has praised IonSound Project for performances that “generate[ ] sparks.” Committed to the music of our time, this bold ensemble presents innovative concerts, commissions works of new music, collaborates with artists in a variety of disciplines, and explores the boundaries between concert and popular music. Since giving its first concert in 2004, IonSound Project has presented more than 80 works by 20th- and 21st-century composers, demonstrating its ongoing dedication to presenting the work of established and emerging composers from across the country. One such composer whose work the group has championed is Jeremy Beck. The critic Mark Sebastian Jordan has described Beck as “an original voice celebrating music,” who “[w]ithout self-consciousness, without paralyzing abstraction, … reminds us that music is movement, physically and emotionally.” IonSound Project takes the listener here on just such a physical and emotional journey through music composed by Beck for various combinations of the ensemble’s instruments. For example, Beck’s September Music for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano lyrically unfolds in a thoughtful and at times wistful atmosphere of intricate counterpoint and rich, tonal harmonies, while the jazz-inflected vigor of the opening track, In Flight Until Mysterious Night (scored for the full ensemble with marimba), gets the listener’s pulse beating a little faster with its tapestry of lively, syncopated rhythms. This is the fourth innova recording which is completely devoted to Beck’s own compositions. Continuing the artistic path Beck has carved out for himself, his music here is direct and communicative, presenting itself in an American tonal and rhythmic idiom. Experienced through the heart, this is music of tenacious beauty, performed with the passionate conviction of those who wish to share that beauty with the world.


“Beck’s music is unabashedly tonal, rhythmically intricate, and makes nods to the past while sitting squarely in the present. … IonSound Project is a thoroughly engaging CD from top to bottom. … Though architecturally rigorous, Beck writes clearly and without pretense[.] … If you’re interested in music that is for the most part harmonically tonal and rhythmically diverse, you’re sure to find a great deal of satisfaction in the world of Jeremy Beck.” [FULL ARTICLE]
Andrew Sigler

“Jeremy Beck … combines modern complexity with timeless melodicism. … [“In Flight Until Mysterious Night”] is the highlight of the CD. Also worth a mention are a beautiful song called “In February” for soprano, clarinet, violin and piano, and a triptych for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano called “September Music.” … [A] satisfying listen.” - Francois Couture

"Jeremy Beck is one of the multi-talented, gifted individuals making … positive contributions to the American new music scene and deserves wider recognition[.] … His music is uplifting, buoyant and also soothing, beautiful and a complete pleasure to listen to[.] … Beck’s “Sonata No.2” for cello and piano … is sweeping and lyrical, making a strong addition to the contemporary solo cello repertoire. … The middle movement is especially moving and graceful. A wonderful work, played here with great sensitivity by Elisa Kohanski, cellist and Rob Frankenberry, piano. … “Slow Motion” for vibraphone and piano … is a bright, catchy and ebullient little work[.] … There is some very nice writing here where – in sections – the piano is treated almost as a second marimba and vice versa. Marimbist Eliseo Real joins Frankenberry and plays with great technical prowess and a real sense of joy. … I found Jeremy Beck’s music to be a revelation[.] It is a complete pleasure to hear music with a sense of itself and [which is] unabashedly tonal, [as well as] emotional and sensitive to both the performer and the listener. ... Mr. Beck is – again – one of those gifted, energetic and multi-talented people who writes beautiful music[.] I am so glad to have discovered his music[.] I believe anyone would enjoy this disc a great deal[.] Kudos to Philip Blackburn, and everyone at Innova, for continuing to find and promote important new American composers such as Jeremy Beck. I look forward to more!" - Daniel Coombs

"In this, his [fourth] CD for Innova, Jeremy Beck gives us a series of very colorful compositions [which are] integrated, thanks to the fact that the implementation is entrusted to a single ensemble: the remarkable IonSound Project. The clarity of writing, as well as the brilliant blending of instrumental colors and rhythmic liveliness, emerges immediately in the lively first piece. In other pieces is revealed instead above all the melodic inventiveness of the composer, who elsewhere gives vent to his Dionysian side through overtly jazz-flavored pieces. But perhaps the most significant piece is the final September Music, where the syncopated rhythms blend with a tender melodic vein that recalls the work of his colleague Michael Torke for its blend of nostalgic remembrances of familiar scenes and energetic drive to live." - Filippo Focosi [translated from the Italian]

"The finest works on [this] CD are the most substantial: the Second Cello Sonata and September Music for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, which are best characterised as an appealing confluence of the art music tradition with that … often syncopated style that Beck has made his own. … [T]here are, genuinely, many beautiful passages in both works, particularly September Music, which has some delightful touches and sonorities. "Beck has collaborated closely with [IonSound Project] from the very beginning of this recording project. They reward him well with committed performances. Moreover, sound quality is excellent." - Byzantion

“IonSound Project … brings vitality to seven Beck compositions here, including bright, pastoral works and intense trios of flute, piano and cello, as well as a solo violin piece and a jazz-inspired vibes/piano duet. Calmer than a "new music ensemble," with more idiosyncrasies than contemporary classical, they've created a varied, engaging set.” - Mike Shanley

“Slow Motion has some of the most overt jazz influences, with piano and vibes trading attractive, syncopated snips of melody. … Beck composes sensitively and idiomatically for the cello, and cellist Elisa Kohanski and pianist Rob Frankenberry give [his second cello sonata] a passionate and engaging reading. The other works all benefit from equally strong performances by [the] ensemble members, including violinist Laura Motchalov in Third Delphic Hymn and flutist Peggy Yoo, Frankenberry, and Kohanski in Gemini. Like all of the pieces, In Flight Until Mysterious Night is aptly titled, brimming with airy, forward motion. The recorded sound is clear and bright. Highly recommended.” - Michael Cameron