Philip Thompson




Pittsburgh-based composer Philip Thompson presents SEPARATE SELF, his debut release on Ravello Records. Thompson writes that the release is “a reflection of the creative energy that comes from being deeply rooted in a vibrant artistic community.” True to this communal spirit, several of the pieces were composed in collaboration with artists from different disciplines – from robotics and dance with Separate Self to visual art with Nocturnes to film with the score to Will Zavala’s documentary Virgil Cantini: The Artist in Public. In the more introspective pieces, Thompson retains a spirit of interaction with the world around him. He uses a medieval chant as the cantus firmus foundation of Trouble, and with Kecow hit tamen, explores his ancestral roots in the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina through its history and language.


At times, Thompson’s music is delicate and atmospheric, the distinct sounds of his instrumental palette shifting and rearranging across his musical canvas. In other moments, he captures a kinetic current, sending sounds rippling and tumbling into one another. The collaborative Pittsburgh ensemble IonSound Project, violist Marylène Gingras-Roy, and percussionist/producer Ryan Socrates perform Thompson’s colorful compositions, filling out the vibrant artistic community displayed in this release.




Philip Thompson has composed music in a variety of styles, from his baroque-metal professional wrestling opera The Final Battle for Love to the intimate and introspective Nocturnes for string trio, featured on this release


IonSound Project comprises flutist Peggy Yoo, clarinetist Kathleen Costello, violinist Laura Motchalov, cellist Elisa Kohanski, and pianists Rob Frankenberry and Jack Kurutz. IonSound regularly programs innovative concerts, commissions works of new music, collaborates with artists in a variety of disciplines, and explores the boundaries between concert and popular music


Marylène Gingras-Roy is active as a violist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and as a chamber music performer. She has taught in summer music festivals in Pittsburgh, as well as in Germany, Italy, France, and her native Québec


Ryan Socrates combines his skills in acoustic percussion and music production to perform an eclectic range of music. He has played for the Henry Mancini Institute, recorded and toured with Joy Ike, and co-led his group Trio+. He also develops music apps and designs percussion instruments and accessories


Trouble was premiered by IonSound in 2008. It is based on a Gradual for the Second Sunday of Lent: “The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities” (Psalm 24:17 Douay)


Separate Self is a collaboration between Thompson, IonSound, and roboticist/sculptor Garth Zeglin. The project features robotic sculptures, designed by Zeglin, dancing to the music written by Thompson


Nocturnes was composed for a 2014 celebration of Galileo’s 450th birthday. The collection of miniatures is a response to Linea Terminale, a set of paintings by Michael Morrill that take inspiration from Galileo’s moon drawings


Kecow hit tamen can be translated from the Carolina Algonquin into English as either “What is this?” or “What is your name?” The piece uses audio samples of the phrase as well as corresponding melodic fragments to capture the visceral feeling of exploring a new language. Kecow hit tamen is accompanied by an animation by Ryan Day




All music composed by Philip Thompson


All music performed by IonSound Project  with special guests Marylène

Gingras-Roy, viola, and Ryan Socrates, set drums


Funding for Separate Self was provided by the Investing in Professional

Artists Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.


Additional funding was provided by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and

by generous individuals.


All tracks recorded September 22 and 23, 2015 at Audible Images Recording Studios

in Pittsburgh PA


Session Producer Philip Thompson


Session Engineer Hollis Greathouse


Editing and Mixing Philip Thompson

at Pierogie Lunaire Studios in Pittsburgh PA


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Alex Bourne

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Mastering Andy Happel

Production Engineer Nate Hunter

Art & Production Director Brett Pickenll

Graphic Design Emily Roulo

Marketing Morgan MacLeod


Release Date: July 8, 2016

Catalog #: RR7936





1 Trouble (2007)

Peggy Yoo, flute; Kathleen Costello, clarinet;

Laura Motchalov, violin; Elisa Kohanski, cello;

Robert Frankenberry, piano


Separate Self (2013)

Peggy Yoo, flute; Kathleen Costello, clarinet;

Laura Motchalov, violin; Elisa Kohanski, cello;

Jack Kurutz, piano; Ryan Socrates, set drums

2 I

3 II



Nocturnes (2014)

Laura Motchalov, violin; Marylène Gingras-Roy, viola;

Elisa Kohanski, cello


Group One

5 I

6 II



Group Two

8 IV

9 V

10 VI


Group Three

11 VII


13 IX


Group Four

14 X

15 XI

16 XII


17 Kecow hit tamen (2011)

Peggy Yoo, flute; Kathleen Costello, clarinet;

Laura Motchalov, violin; Elisa Kohanski, cello;

Robert Frankenberry, piano


spoken word: David Bernabo, Megan Lindsey,

Jay Roszman, Rachel Roszman, Burr Settles,

Natalie Settles, Gaea Thompson, Philip Thompson


18  Score to the film Virgil Cantini:

the Artist in Public (2009)

Peggy Yoo, flute; Elisa Kohanski, cello;

Jack Kurutz, piano






Russell Pinkston



Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

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