Meet Jim Knapp, featured composer at our upcoming concerts!

We were thrilled to be able to learn from the composer himself about his new work, NOVERTURE, written for NOCCO. The world premier of his work will be Dec 16 & 17

What initially sparked your interest in composition? Was there a particular moment or life event that you connect to it?

I was playing trumpet in my high school jazz band and I was supposed to play an improvised solo. I had no idea how to go about it. My band director (a wise Italian) told me to write one out and learn to play it. I did and my friends liked it.


 Composer Jim Knapp

Composer Jim Knapp


What drives you as an artist? What inspires you? (Or, what keeps you writing music?)

The way music makes me feel.

Do you have recurring themes throughout your works?

There are recurring preferences – harmonic, melodic and rhythmic. I think these are autobiographical; referring to an original musical impression. It is important to recognize these things so you don’t write the same piece over and over.

Can you tell us a little bit about Noverture?

Noverture is a multi-thematic piece composed for NOCCO. The first theme is based on a tune that I wrote in the early '70’s, before I had started my inquiry into the principals of harmonic resolution. The tune never sounded right to me. I came to realize that some of the chords were in the wrong order. It sounds right to me now. Thanks to NOCCO for giving me this opportunity. I hope it sounds right to you too.


Enjoy our interview with composer Roupen Shakarian

We were thrilled to be able to learn from the composer himself about his violin concerto. NOCCO will perform this concerto, featuring Victoria Parker at our concerts Oct 21 & 22

What sets this piece (Violin Concerto) apart from your other works?

This is the only piece that I’ve borrowed or recomposed from a previous work of mine, and that being an Elegy for solo violin. I had felt that it lent naturally to a larger format. Structurally, it became the second movement of the concerto and served as the impetus for the outer movements. It also formed the overall character of the piece with the Prelude setting the stage for the Elegy with the following Allegro releasing the moods of the Elegy.

 Composer  Roupen Shakarian

This piece is also one that resulted from an historical observation. I had been thinking about the trends in concertos written afterBeethoven’s masterful violin concerto. Since then, concertos through the Romantic period, and to the present, developed in length, virtuosity and content, displaying all sorts of technical brilliance and bravura. But I wonderedabout the Mozartian model, if it became a forgotten aesthetic; seemingly simpler melodic solo parts, smaller orchestras, thinner textures, and less emphasis on virtuosic displays. Combining both Classical and Romantic features appealed to me and served the basis of the concerto.

Did you have a particular violin soloist in mind when you were composing this concerto? If so, what aspects of his/her playing did you consider and how did you work those into the composition?

In 2006 I went to Tori Parker and let her know I wanted to write a concerto for her. She was then the concertmaster of Philharmonia Northwest and I the music director of the chamber orchestra. Her musical, technical qualities and her ability to express a variety of moods provided me the right framework in working out the details of composing the piece. Hearing her play some of the sketches also assured me of her ability to immediately absorb the character of the piece. 

Do you think you piece is well suited for a conductor-less ensemble? What, in your opinion, makes this upcoming performance special?

The concerto is written for double winds, timpani and strings. The writing is deliberately like a chamber ensemble. Though in most performances a conductor will be the norm, this performance with the North Corner Chamber Orchestra will bring out the inherent chamber music quality of the work and the concerto’s poignant moods.  

Welcome to our new blog - the life of NOCCO!

We are thrilled to share our new video to launch NOCCO’s fourth season! Our president and principal violin, Victoria Parker, shares the meaning of the North Corner and what makes playing with this group special to her. Footage and audio were recorded live from our April 2017 dress rehearsal and concert at the Royal Room, one of North Corner Chamber Orchestra’s favorite performance spaces.

Cameron Johnson shot all footage and crafted this video. Cameron is an extraordinary artist and NOCCO is excited to partner with him on this and future projects! Stay tuned for more of Cameron’s beautiful work with the North Corner Chamber Orchestra and some of our other artistic partners…