About Starkland

Starkland imageStarkland releases engaging, compelling recordings of alternative classical, experimental, and avant-garde music.

Spruceland Music, Inc. is a publicly-supported, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization devoted to the creation, documentation, development, appreciation, and promotion of alternative classical, experimental, and avant-garde music through the production of high-quality recordings, released on the Starkland label, of new music of high artistic, educational, or historical worth not otherwise available. You can donate here.

Starkland’s two most ambitious projects have focused on surround sound. For the label’s Immersion DVD (released in 2000), Starkland commissioned 13 leading-edge composers to create pieces for high-resolution surround sound. Sources such as Pro Sound News and Billboard have recognized Immersion as the first such recording in history. The commissioned composers, all of whom created their first high-resolution surround-sound pieces, are: Paul Dolden, Paul Dresher, Ellen Fullman, Phil Kline, Lukas Ligeti, Ingram Marshall, Merzbow, Meredith Monk, Bruce Odland, Pauline Oliveros, Maggi Payne, Carl Stone, and Pamela Z. Immersion has been praised in such publications as Stereophile and Sound & Vision.

Starkland’s other surround sound project involved commissioning a major, 65-minute surround sound composition from Phil Kline. Around the World in a Daze is a ten-movement work, presented in four audio formats along with 80 slides from the composer, found on the first disc of the double-DVD release. The second disc offers an extended 34-minute interview with Kline about this music (conducted by John Schaefer) and a music-video MEDITATION (run as fast as you can) with music and video by Kline. Daze is likely the largest composition ever commissioned for a high-res surround recording.

Starkland’s releases have been praised for their adventurous music, high quality sound, excellent performances, and informative liner notes.

Starkland composers include Charles Amirkhanian, Phillip Bimstein, Martin Bresnick, Tim Brady, Phyllis Chen, Mary Ellen Childs, Nathan Davis, Tod Dockstader, Paul Dolden, Paul Dresher, William Duckworth, Robert Een, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Phil Kline, Guy Klucevsek, Lukas Ligeti, Keeril Makan, Ingram Marshall, Merzbow, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Vincent Persichetti, Somei Satoh, Carl Stone, Lois V Vierk, Pamela Z, and John Zorn.

The International Contemporary Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, JACK Quartet, Ethel Quartet, Todd Reynolds, Either/Or, Todd Reynolds, Lisa Moore, Ashley Bathgate, Jenny Lin, and the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra are some of the musicians on Starkland’s CDs.

Starkland’s recordings have been praised in The New York Times, Gramophone, Stereophile, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Fanfare, Washington Post, American Record Guide Chamber Musician Today, Sequenza21, Boston Globe, Sound & Vision, New York Magazine, UK’s The Wire, Canada’s Musicworks, and France’s Revue & Corrigée. Starkland’s releases have also been featured on such national radio programs as NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition

Liner notes for Starkland releases have been written by such distinguished figures as John Adams, Allan Kozinn, Laurie Anderson, Sarah Cahill, Geeta Dayal, Kyle Gann, David Lang, Meredith Monk, Bill Morrison, Pauline Oliveros, John Schaefer, and Elliott Sharp.

Starkland was founded in 1991 by Thomas Steenland, who continues to serve as Executive Director.

Starkland was pleased to have receive official tax-exempt status from the IRS several years ago. But we need your support to continue our innovative, engaging projects. Read more about how to donate.