Current Releases

Scatter My Ashes


Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Bandcamp and other streaming platforms

Naxos releases OCTET ensemble's album debut Scatter My Ashes on belarca records featuring soprano Mellissa Hughes and pianist Elaine Kwon.

Scatter my Ashes was featured in New and Notable - Bandcamp

Scatter my Ashes reached No. 1 on Amazon's Classical Hot New Releases, No. 8 on Billboard's Classical and was featured in iTunes Classical New and Noteworthy.

Scatter my Ashes was chosen as Album of the Week in December 2014 for the Seattle based 98.1 Classical KING FM radio show - Second Inversion

Scatter my Ashes was chosen as an Album of the Month in the October 2014 issue of - textura

Scatter my Ashes was selected as a top pick for the I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Summer 2014 Mixtape - I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

Scatter my Ashes was selected as a 2014 TOP 20 - textura

Scatter my Ashes was selected as a 2014 TOP 30 - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


"Scatter My Ashes exists at a crossroads between multiple styles, but emerges with something rich, textural, ambient and riveting." - Bandcamp

"This is one of the most fun albums to come my way in a while". "...this heavily minimalist-tinged music offers constant delight", "…impeccably crafted and played by all concerned with pinpoint accuracy" - Fanfare

"the next developments in the sphere (of) minimalism", "...state-of-the-art examples of this style world" - All Music

"deliciously... mellifluous" "...classical minimalism, cool jazz, avant pop" - The Rambler

"…resplendent and melodious, and easy to embrace when its fresh blend of neo-classical, jazz, and popular song-based forms sparkles so effervescently…" "…ruminating on the self's dissolution and communing with nature…"…the experience of big city alienation and its citizens' insatiable appetite for sensory stimulation…" "…rambunctious syncopations…" "…both density and clarity…" - textura

"Hughes’ dazzling vocals soar above each piece", "Hughes’ voice amplifies the sorrow, hope, and drama of the poetry, making each word glow…" "…a beautiful and texturally fascinating sonic landscape which fully encompasses the listener in its sinuous melodies and jazz-infused rhythms", "…the album stands as a timeless combination of contemporary classical music, minimalism, and jazz into a profound and dynamic multidisciplinary work". - Second Inversion

"...a wonderful piano concerto..." "Here the composer goes not for the finger busting virtuosity that seems to be the current vogue but rather he evokes a latter day Mozart with more technically modest but highly entertaining music that communicates directly". - New Music Buff

"...everything flows in linear and circular motion as though a beautifully eccentric segmented ballet simultaneously restrained and exuberant, more than once ecstatic". "the entire concept of music top to bottom marvelously persists in non-stop hybridization and transmogrification". - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

"…the harmonious intertwining of jazz and Western classical, of straight rhythm with swing, of notes rich with sobriety overlaid by cheerfully rippling melodies. …This album, in addition to being delightfully listenable, serves as a short introductory course in new developments in serious music…" - The Voice

"…unusual tonal combinations and perking up listeners’ ears through strongly jazz-inflected rhythms that tend to turn in unexpected directions." - INFODAD


The October 2014 issue of textura interviewed OCTET's William Susman and described the album as "a genre-transcending fusion of contemporary Western classical, jazz, pop, and non-Western folk musics."

In conversation with Wanda Waterman in the December 2014 issue of The Voice talking about background, education, and influences.


WQXR 105.9 FM - Q2 | | WFMT 98.7 FM - Relevant Tones | | KING FM 98.1 FM - Second Inversion | | WPRK 91.5 FM - Zero Crossings | | KSPC 88.7 FM - Disorganized Sound | | Little Raleigh Radio 106.6 FM - Galvinized | | Concertzender, The Netherlands | | KPFA 94.1 FM - Discreet Music | | KZSU 90.1 FM Octagonal Banana | | WPRB 103.3 FM - Classical Discoveries | | WHUS 91.7 FM - Pushing the Envelope | | KFJC 89.7 FM - The Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show | | Radio Despi 107.2 FM - La Otra Orilla, Barcelona | | WMBR 88.1 FM - The New Edge | | WXDU 88.7 FM - Polyphonic Perversity | | KALX 90.7 FM - Majority Whip | | WCNY 91.3 FM - Syracuse, NY | | WTUL 91.5 FM New Orleans | |


OCTET''s inaugural album has been recorded over the past few years with renowned engineer John Kilgore and was released June 10, 2014 by Naxos on the label Belarca. The album features the music of William Susman including two song cycles (with poems by his sister Sue Susman) Scatter My Ashes and Moving in to an Empty Space performed by soprano Mellissa Hughes, as well as his Piano Concerto and the ensemble work Camille.

OCTET takes the instrumentation of the American big band and scales it down to a brass section of saxophone, trumpet, and trombone and a rhythm section of piano, electric piano, double bass and drums plus vocals.

OCTET gathers together a stellar cast of artists who have worked with groups including eighth blackbird, SIGNAL, Alarm Will Sound, Victoire, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Their repertoire currently includes music by composer and founder William Susman such as the a live performance film score to Native New Yorker, Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival.

OCTET was founded in 2011 and subsequently premiered Susman's Piano Concerto at Zankel Hall that year. The New York Times has described William Susman’s music “vivid, turbulent and rich-textured” and, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange praised his last album Music for Moving Pictures with cellist Joan Jeanrenaud as “A flawless gem... [of] rare beauty and consummate aesthetic discretion."

William Susman’s remarkable achievement is to take the familiar instrumentation of American popular music, harmonic and rhythmic influences from jazz and Afro-Cuban music and sinuous melodic lines that are uniquely his own and weave them into something new and fresh, yet timeless and haunting. Memorable yet enigmatic, simple yet profound, Susman’s music is irresistible. - John Kilgore

Download a PDF of the full-color booklet for Scatter My Ashes, including photo of the ensemble, musician bios, the poems by Sue Susman and recording credits.

Download the Sales Sheet / Press Release



Music by William Susman
Poems by Sue Susman

Members of OCTET

Vocals: Mellissa Hughes
Saxophone: Demetrius Spaneas
Trumpet: Mike Gurfield
Trombone: Alan Ferber
Drums: Greg Zuber
Piano: Elaine Kwon
Electric Piano: William Susman
Double Bass: Eleonore Oppenheim


Produced by William Susman

Sound engineer and mixing: John Kilgore
Recorded and mixed at Kilgore Sound, New York City, September 2011 to January 2014

Mastering engineer: Alan Silverman
Mastered at Arf! Mastering, New York City

Additional sound engineer: Josiah Gluck
Additional mixing by Stephen Hart, assisted by Ana Sophia Dunham at The Site, San Rafael, California

Cover design by Daniel Sofer / Hermosawave

Photography by Ken Goodman
Cover image by Ben Swift