Monday, December 14, 2009

Spotlight on Kenny Hill Guitars

In the past few months I have received many emails inquiring about my guitar. Therefore, I thought I would take the time to introduce you to one of the best American luthiers, Mr. Kenny Hill. I have been playing my stand-up model Kenny Hill for the past two years and have fallen in love with it. It suits me very well because of its beautiful and well-balanced sound. It is very easy to play, has a comfortable neck, and since it is a double-top, it responses quickly making live performance very enjoyable. I like this stand-up model because I had back surgery a few years ago. This makes practicing much easier and relieves tension in my back. It is also aesthetically better for our duo, putting both Jessica and I on the same level.

For more info about Kenny and his fantastic instruments click here. He also has a great blog with a lot of valuable information about guitar-related subjects.

Enjoy the photos of Kenny and I and my guitar!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Standing Ovation in Bosnian National Theater!

Enjoy these photos from our latest tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We played concerts in Zenica, Tuzla and finished our tour with a great concert in the National Theatre in Sarajevo. Almer was a guest of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences and performed Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez for a national live television broadcast. For an encore, AlmaNova performed 'Jamilla's Dance' and brought the entire audience of 800 to their feet. Special thanks to Eldin and the BHAAAS, the Sarajevo Philharmonic and the city and people of Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla for a great reception and wonderful memories that will stay with us always.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AlmaNova with the Queen of Sevdah music Maestra Hanka Paldum in Sarajevo!

We had the pleasure and honor to meet the reigning Queen of Sevdalinka (Bosnian folk music) Maestra Hanka Paldum in Sarajevo after our concert with Sarajevo Philhamonic. It was quite a surprise to have her in the audience. We were thrilled to know she loved our concert and performance of 'Jamilla's Dance'. In this piece, Almer quotes one of the most beloved sevdalinka called 'Emina'.

More news to follow about our great musical adventures in Bosnia representing the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences (BHAAAS).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Summer Memories....

Well, today is the day that finally feels like the summer has come to an end in L.A..  We woke up this morning to a beautifully damp heat to be found.  Although we welcome this change in the weather, we thought today would be the appropriate day to share a photo from one of our favorite summer moments.....HAWAII!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almer plays for John Frizzell's new score!!!!!!

We are happy to announce that this movie "From Mexico with Love" is finally going to be released October 2009!!!! The score was written by famed film composer, John Frizzell. Listen to the preview below where Almer is featured playing (and improvising!!!) the following:

Classical guitar
Flamenco guitar
Electric guitar


The Return of the AlmaNova World Music Collective!!!!

Hello all,

Just wanted to let you know about some performances happening this coming Saturday, October 3rd in South Pasadena. We are participating in the SoPas Arts Fest. Here are the details:

6pm-7pm @ the SPMCC: Jessica Pierce, flute and Angela Cholakyan, piano
We will present a program of classical repertoire for the time-honored ensemble including Bach, Taktakkishvilli, and Enesco

7:30-8:30pm @ the Mission Gold Line Station: AlmaNova World Music Collective
Almer and Jessica will be joined by Zach Hahn, bass and Dan Schnelle, drums to rock the house for an encore performance of this favorite band of So Pas!!!!

8:30-9:30pm @the Mission Gold Line Station: Maestro Alex Gregory
Almer will join the Maestro of rock guitar for some electric shredding!

For more exact info click here

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Two Wins for AlmaNova in Nashville!!!!!

A few months ago, we found out that we were nominated in two categories by the organization Just Plain Folks, the world's largest independent music awards organization. We are pleased to announce that we WON both categories:


JPF Music Awards:
AlmaNova "Debut" -Best Instrumental Album 2009
Almer Imamovic "Sarajevo Nights" -Best Instrumental Song 2009

The results were announced this past weekend in Nashville. We were not able to attend, but are so thrilled! This completely took us by surprise. We still don't know who nominated us originally. 'Debut' was our first CD and it has a very special place in our hearts. We recorded the CD in 2006 and are touched to learn that it still is receiving such positive attention. These great honors have encouraged us to continue expanding our repertoire and has profoundly impacted Almer's wish to continue composing!!!

A very heartfelt thanks to all who have supported our music!

Click here for complete list of winners.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Two New Reviews!

Our CD, 'Debut' was recorded in 2006 and yet we are very pleased that we still receive some very nice reviews. Our latest release, 'After Hours' has just begun to be reviewed and we thought we'd share these two latest ones we came across! Thanks to all for supporting this CD and our music in general!!





AlmaNova - "Debut"PrintE-mail
Written by Jim Langabeer

Alma Nova "debut" Jessica Pierce on flutePure musical pleasure is the result of this masterful combination of Jessica Pierce's flute and Almer Imamovic's guitar. Both performers are passionate players and give breath-taking performances in their original combinations of classical and romantic music and Bosnian love songs and lively dances.

The duo started while they were both students at the famed Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, and has flowered in the course of major world tours and highly praised concerts. In style, they take time to state and develop the many melodies and rhythmic energies with impeccable techniques, and yet retain a relaxed, restrained purity of sound.

On this recording the pair make judicious use of added hand percussion from Jim Coffin, and a little instrumental overdubbing, but maintain an acoustic sensibility throughout. For variety, inspiration, and listener enjoyment this collection of ten arrangements sets high standards for a flute and guitar ensemble program. Unreservedly recommended.


AlmaNova "After Hours," 2009 Flautist Jessica Pierce and guitarist Almer Imamovic perform as AlmaNova. This CD features music influenced by Macedonian folk traditions, including several original pieces. The liner notes convey the significance of each piece, e.g., one written for a child, another for a friend’s wedding. The disc opens with Imamovic’s composition, "Bosna Nova," an uptempo piece combining Eastern melodies connected by bluegrass-flavored guitar runs. "Bitola" follows, its simple presentation resulting in a moving performance. Imamovic overdubs multiple parts on the title track, with one low-voiced guitar imitating the Balkan saz. On the traditional Macedonian song, "Zajdi, Zajdi", the musicians take time to develop a plaintive yet alternately wistful mood. On each selection, Jessica Pierce’s flute trades melodic statements with the guitar, each perfectly complementing the other. This CD is very much a personal project for AlmaNova, and it’s one that pays off for the listener. © Patrick Ragains

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Radio...someone still loves you!

Almer loves radio!

Yesterday he was the happiest person in the world when he came across the new radio station in LA. This new station plays the music he loves (mostly rock from the 70's) and has minimal ads.  
It reminds him of his favorite stations in France and the U.K. (FIP Radio in Paris and BBC3)

Now he is a very happy camper! The new station is called 100.3 THE SOUND (click here to check it out live on web!)

Happy listening!

p.s. by the way, pictured is his old Marantz tuner and special antenna, pre-amp, speakers for high fidelity listening, etc.... as his audiophile friends would say "the sound is great and not at all fatiguing"....hahaha!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The best Indian food in town!

Jessica and I are not native Pasadenians...but it is places like the New Delhi Palace that make us feel at home.  This is the best Indian food on the planet and it is run by the most friendly and kind people.  Every time we come to this great place we are greeted like family and we just wanted to share this with you all.  If you're ever in Pasadena and not joining us at our house for Jessica's culinary adventures in Bosnian cuisine (more to come about this later....), then be sure to treat yourself to New Delhi Palace.  
We recommend the Chicken Tikka Masala and and Channa Masala with garlic naan and rice. For the beer drinkers, Almer takes the KingFisher LARGE!!!

Here's the link to their website and directions:


Guitar on BBC!

Great stories about guitar legends featuring videos of them sharing their guitar licks, techniques and secrets to their unique sound. Check this link! 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CSU Summer Arts: AlmaNova's Amazing Review!

For some reason we seem to travel to the city of Fresno, CA about once a year! This particular trip was especially nice....although it was about 105 degrees!!! We were invited as guest artists and master teachers along with other flute legends like Jim Walker and William Bennett. We were so happy to hear the extremely high levels of the students who participated in the master classes and were honored to teach them!

The highlight for us was the great concert we played...and the review the next day by Donald Munro from the Fresno Bee Newspaper!

Please read:

Flute, guitar a beautiful Pair at Fresno State by Donald Munro

Thanks to Summer Arts, I now am in love with the sound of flute and guitar together.

All it took was one concert earlier this week by the AlmaNova duo, whose two players, Almer Imamovic and Jessica Pierce, are instructors in the flute and guitar workshop at the California State University Summer Arts program at Fresno State.

So, what was it about Imamovic and Pierce's performance that opened my ears to this wonderful combination of instruments?

On, I wrote that as I listened to them play I kept thinking of two swallows hurling through the sky -- diving, soaring, swooping, with first one and then the other taking the lead, the two of them sometimes exploding with energy but more often quietly flitting here and there in a graceful, intuitively choreographed display of seamless connection.

The pair is married in real life, and they have a stage relationship that is touching to watch. Imamovic strums his guitar so smoothly at times it's as if he's caressing a stone, and Pierce's flute lyrically fills the hall with a gentle, effortless swell. Watching Imamovic watch his wife as they play is particularly sweet. He stands when he plays, and he periodically turns to gaze at her, his shoulders pulsing with the beat almost as if the two are dancing.

There's a strong Eastern European influence in AlmaNova's songs, which is not surprising considering Imamovic's Bosnian roots. (He writes much of the group's material.) Slightly exotic yet with a velvety finish, the duo's sound never delves into meditative Windham Hill territory, but it also projects a mellow, accomplished mood. Many of the songs have direct ethnic connections: "Sarajevo Nights" seems to twinkle with the vitality of a city, and "Moj Golube," an arrangement of a Macedonian folk song, captures the age-old story of love and loss.

I was entranced, and I'm going to track their CDs down for a further listen. I know I'm looking forward to hearing their colleagues play, as well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

AlmaNova NOMINATED!!!!

We are very excited and honored to learn that we've been nominated to receive an award from Just Plain Folks...the world's largest Independent Music Awards Organization! We were chosen from over 42,000 albums from 160 countries!

We have been nominated in two categories:

2009 Best Instrumental Album for 'Debut' by AlmaNova


2009 Best Instrumental Song for Sarajevo Nights by Almer Imamovic


Special thanks to whom ever nominated us!
Just Plain Folks nominee

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dr. Jessica Pierce!

At last Jessica finished her Doctorate of Musical Arts from USC! Now she just needs the job to go along with the degree.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

'After Hours' on iTunes

Hello Friends...

Many of you have inquired about when our latest CD will be available on iTunes.....well, wait no longer!  

Click will take you to our website.  Once you're there, click on the iTunes button just below the 'After Hours' album cover and it will take you directly to iTunes.  

We've had some really great response to this release so far and would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words!

Jessica and Almer

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NEW CD: "After Hours"

We are happy to announce that our new CD, "After Hours" has been released!  This latest project pays tribute to some of the most beautiful and haunting melodies from Macedonia.  We also have included some exciting new original works that reflect this part of the world.  Hope you enjoy!

If you'd like to purchase your copy of "After Hours", please click here.

Click on each of the tracks below for sample sound bytes:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Almer students performed at Loyola Marymont University Guitar Festival!

Almer was very proud of three of his 'star' students...Eric, Sierra and Sofiane were all chosen by audition to perform in the LMU Young Artist's Showcase during their big guitar festival week.  They all were professional and played beautifully.  There is nothing better for a teacher than to see their students succeed!  Bravo to you all and now we will look to the next big challenge together!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Almer Imamovic and Scott Tennant in Santa Barbara

We had a great time with Maestro Scott Tennant in Santa Barbara during the Santa Barbara Symphony 2nd International Guitar Festival. Off course we meet at Peet's coffee for a little break. Aside from playing a great concert as part of the festival, we were so happy to hear a new concerto for the LAGQ by Sergio Assad called Interchange.  It was a very exciting piece and well played by the quartet and the orchestra.  The LAGQ is always an amazing group to hear.  Bravo, guys!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AlmaNova World Music Collective Feat. Jim Walker!

Hi All!

For those of you who missed our recent performance, here is a taste of what went on!  We played with a fabulous group of musicians and had a very warm and generous audience.  The highlight of the night was when my flute professor from USC, Maestro Jim Walker, joined us on stage to help us premier one of our new tunes "Massimo Dancing".  Please enjoy this clip of a true master flutist and unparalleled musician...we feel so honored to have had this experience!  

Thank you, Jim!!!! see more of this great evening of music click here

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review of the "Debut" by Carla Rees

AlmaNova is a flute and guitar duo comprising Jessica Pierce and Almer Imamovic.  It was formed during their studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.  The folk-influences music on this disc includes Imamovic's arrangements of the traditional Bosnian works and his own compositions.  It is not clear from the sleeve-notes which are which, as there is no individual information about each track other than the listing on the back.  

Sarajevo Nights is an upbeat track, with percussive definition and a florid flute melody.  This track gives the disc a strong opening, well-written for the instruments and allows both players to shine.  The playing from both of those performers is idiomatic and immediately demands attention.  Moj Golube is a moderately paced ballad with a lyrical melody given well-chosen ornamentation.  The opening of Uzeh Djugum i Mastrafu is haunting beautiful, with rich, dark flute tones heard over tremolo guitar.  The mood lightens, and a poised dance follows.  Theme for Carolyn moves through several changes of mood, with a simple melody line varied through the use of different accompaniment style on the guitar.  Scott's Guitar is a beautifully performed solo for guitar, while Tapkalica is another fast, rhythmic track, with repeated melodic patterns building the momentum to a frenzy.  La Nuit avec P.K. is another languid guitar solo which develops into a toccata-like dance with a punchy groove.  The exotic Jamilla's Dance has a Dance of the Seven Veils quality to it, with Pierce's seductive pitch bends demanding attention.  Dinner with J.D. features multi-tracked flutes in a piece which has a more western-pop style - parts of this track reminded me of Kenny G - than the rest of the disc.  The Bosnian roots return for the final track, Song for Marcus, in a fast paced dance, which also features some multi-tracking.

This is an enjoyable disc which adds an interesting dimension to flute and guitar repertoire.  Those players are clearly passionate about their choices of repertoire, and Pierce makes excellent use of ornamentation in her playing to give a sense of drama to otherwise simple melodic lines.  Both players have excellent technical control and they have a wonderful report as a duo.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Te Amo

It was nice to see some good friends in our recent visit to Chicago!  We were invited back to two encore performances with the Chamber Opera Chicago's Te Amo from last year.  As it was last year, both shows were sold out!  We can't wait to come back and play with this innovative and original opera company!  See you there next year!  

Monday, January 26, 2009


AlmaNova "Classic Giuliani"
American Record Guide 

More exciting news has come from the American Record Guide!!!  In November we received a very good review in their Nov./Dec. '08 edition and now have learned we were chosen as Critic's Choice, 2008!  We look forward to more successes in 2009!  

Friday, January 16, 2009

After the Holidays!

We are so happy to announce that we will be recording our third album this month! Over our winter break from concertizing and teaching, we were able to work on this exciting project. This new release will be along the same lines as our first CD, "Debut". We have returned back to Almer's Balkan roots, this time exploring the music of Macedonia. It is a mix of our arrangements of these beautiful traditional folk melodies as well as Almer's original works. Please check should be ready to go by this spring!