Current Releases

Scatter My Ashes

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

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

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


"…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

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

"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 (upcoming Nov/Dec issue)

"...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 hybridzation and transmogrification". - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

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

"…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


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."


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