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Brian Fennelly (born 1937) studied at Yale with Mel Powell, Donald Martino, Allen Forte, Gunther Schuller and George Perle (M.Mus 1965, Ph.D. 1968). In 1968 he joined the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University, from which he retired as Professor of Music in 1997. In addition to a Guggenheim fellowship, his awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and commissions from the Koussevitsky Foundation and Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest as well as from the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. In 1997 he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His music has been awarded prizes in many competitions, which include the Goffredo Petrassi Competition for Orchestral Music (1993), International Trumpet Guild Competition (First Prize, 1990), the Louisville Orchestra New Music Competition (First Prize, 1986), Shreveport Symphony Competition (1981), and the Premio Citta di Trieste (1981). Over a dozen of his works appear on CD, with orchestral and chamber music released on the New World, CRI, Pro Viva, First Edition, Capstone, and New Ariel labels. Orchestral releases include Fantasy Variations, In Wildness is the Preservation of the World, On Civil Disobedience, and A Sprig of Andromeda, the last three all Thoreau-inspired works.
Brian Fennelly's music has been performed by several orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and The Louisville Orchestra, as well as by chamber ensembles such as the American and Empire Brass Quintets, and the Concord and Audubon String Quartets. His choral music has been sung by the Gregg Smith Singers and the New York Virtuoso Singers, among others. International performances include two at the Warsaw Autumn (Poland) and four at the ISCM world Music Days (Iceland, Israel, Belgium, and Canada), with recordings by The Louisville Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Prague Radio Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Polish Radio National Symphony.
Fennelly's music is published by Margun Music (Boston): MMB Music, Inc. (St. Louis), Pro Nova (Munich), Ricordi (Milan), and American Composers Edition (New York). In addition to composing and teaching, he has been active as officer and board member in a number of music organizations; he also co-directs the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, which he founded in 1976.
Fennelly resides in Kingston, New York with his wife Jacqueline, who played French horn with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic for many years. Liam Fennelly, a son from a previous marriage, is a viola da gamba player now living in Europe.
Kingston, NY 12401
Brian Fennelly is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and co-director of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, now in its thirty-sixth season of concerts in New York City. He is currently engaged in writing a chamber concerto for the ensemble mis-en, and he will have a composer residency at the Bogliasco Foundation Liguria Study Center in Italy in 2013.
Kythera Variations (2012), Miranda Cuckson, violin, Taka Kigawa, piano, counter)induction ensemble, TENRI Institute, New York, NY, October 20, 2012. New York premiere: Fantasia Concertante (2009), duo parnas (Madalyn Parnas, violin, Cicely Parnas, cello), Orchestra of the League of Composers, David Dzubay, conductor, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYC, May 7, 2012.
Three Pieces for Piano, Zi Liang, piano, New York Composers Circle concert, St. Peter’s Church at Citigroup Center, NYC, Oct. 16, 2012. Tango from Tombeau and Tango, New York Consort of Viols, Reisinger Concert Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Riverdale, NY, Oct. 25, 2011. SUKHI! for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, Lunatics at Large, Symphony Space, Composers Now! Concert, NYC, Feb. 19, 2013.
Kythera Variations (2012) for violin and piano, American Composers Edition (ACA), a series of variations conceived from imagined workings of the ancient antikythera mechanism; Babbittelle (2012) for piano, a short tribute to Milton Babbitt, ACA and Perspectives of New Music Volume 49/2 Supplement:
Milton Babbitt: A composers’ memorial.
Released August 2012 by Albany Records on TROY 1350, The Other Side of Time, includes 5 titles: ‘Sigol’ for Strings for string orchestra with the Moravian Philharmonic under Joel Eric Suben; Fantasia Concertante for violin, cello, and orchestra with duo parnas and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble under David Dzubay; Tropes and Echoes for clarinet and ensemble with Jean Kopperud, clarinet, and The Washington Square Ensemble under Louis Karchin; Corollary III with Chris Gekker, trumpet, and Rita Sloan, piano; and The Other Side of Time for 30 winds and percussion, with the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble under Charles Peltz.
Brian Fennelly is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and co-director of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, now in its thirty-fifth season of concerts in New York City.
Fantasia Concertante (2009) for violin, cello, and orchestra was premiered by Duo Parnas (Madalyn and Cicely Parnas), Indiana University New Music Ensemble, by David Dzubay, conductor, Auer Concert Hall, Jacobs School of Music, IU, Bloomington, IN, Feb. 2011. Sock Monkeys, version for two clarinets, by Adam Berkowitz and Vasco Dukovski, NYCC concert at St. Peter’s Church, Citigroup Center, NYC, April 2011. Sacred Songs (2010-11) for baritone and piano to three poems of George Herbert, Thomas Meglioranza, baritone, Stephen Gosling, piano, Merkin Concert Hall, NYC, April 2011.
The Other Side of Time (2009) for 30 winds and percussion received its European premiere by the Croatian Armed Forces Wind Symphony, Tomislav Facini, director, ISCM World Music Days festival in Zagreb, Croatia, April 2011. Corollary III for trumpet and piano by Chris Gekker and Rita Sloan in recital at Bargemusic, Brooklyn, NY, Jan. 2011. Empirical Rag, version for wind octet, California State University Santa Barbara Chamber Winds under Jeffrey Boeckman, CSUB Performing Arts Recital Hall, May 2011. Sacred Songs at the George Herbert Conference, Gregynog Hall, Newton, Powys, Wales, UK, Oct. 2011 (performers TBA). Sigol Musings for solo violin, Rolf Schulte in recital, Cleveland State University, OH, Feb. 2012.
‘Sigol’ for Two, violin and cello, chosen for inclusion in the forthcoming Society of Composers Journal of Music Scores.
The live performance of Fantasia Concertante with Duo Parnas and the IU New Music Ensemble, being prepared for inclusion on forthcoming portrait CD of the composer’s music to be released by Albany Records.
Fantasia Concertante (2009) for violin, cello, and orchestra is the winning piece of the 2009 Fauxharmonic Orchestra International Concerto Composition Competition. It will be performed with Duo Parnas, for whom it was written, at a concert and location to be announced. The recent Sheffield lab CD Gare du Nord featuring Duo Parnas in music of Gliere, Honegger, Martinu, Milhaud, and Fennelly (‘Sigol’ for Two) received a rave review on Gene Gaudette’s classical music blog of May 30, 2010. Fennelly’s The Other Side of Time (2009) for Winds, Brass, and Percussion was chosen by the League of Composers/ISCM as an official submission to the 2010 ISCM World Music Days in Croatia.
Skyscapes IV (mixed quintet of winds, strings and guitar) by Washington Square Ensemble conducted by Scott Voyles at Merkin Hall in New York, NY on 12/3/09. Sasquatch (bass trombone and two percussionists) by J. J. Cooper, trombone at the Nicholas Music Center, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ on 4/2/10. Maverick Tango (violin / cello) by Duo Parnas at the Anderson Center, Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY on 4/2/10. Corollary IV by Andrew Malloy, trombone and Junko Ueno, piano at California State University Northridge on 3/14/10.
Three’s Company for flute (piccolo), saxophone, and piano by the No Borders Quartet in Italy on 11/8, 11/21, 11/23, and 11/24/09 and 3/26, 3/29 and 3/30/10 at Hartford University (CT), New York University, and Thalia Symphony Space, NYC as part of a Composers Circle recital. ‘Sigol’ for Two by Duo Parnas at Sanford Auditorium in SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY on 9/8/09, at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson, NY on 3/27/10, and at Hartwick College in Oneonta on 4/9/10. Sigol Musings by Rolf Schulte, violin at the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Music at Mannes Concert Hall, New York City on 6/15/10.
Sacred Songs (2010) for baritone and piano, settings of three poems of George Herbert (1593-1633) written for the 2011 international conference on George Herbert to be held in Wales, UK; by American Composers Edition (American Composers Alliance).
The New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Charles Peltz, conductor, has prepared a recording of The Other Side of Time (2009), a 16-minute piece for 30 winds, brass, and percussion commissioned by them, for release on an upcoming “portrait” CD of Fennelly’s music by Albany Records. For the same CD, trumpeter Chris Gekker, with pianist Rita Sloan, has recorded Corollary III, the piece written for Mr. Gekker which won the 1990 International Trumpet Guild Composers Competition.
Brian Fennelly is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and co-director of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, now in its 33rd season of concerts in New York City.
Duo Parnas gave the first performance of ‘Sigol’ for Two, a fantasy duo for violin and cello, May 26, 2009, at the NYCC concert in St. Peter’s Church, Citicorp Center; a further performance was given June 17 at the Thalia Theatre, New York, NY, as part of the ACA Festival of American Music, and in recital at SUNY Oneonta on September 8. Maverick Tango was first heard November 29 in a performance by guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, New York, while Skyscapes IV was presented December 3 by the Washington Square Ensemble under Scott Voyles at Merkin Hall, New York. The Other Side of Time, a 12-minute work for 30 players (25 winds, 5 percussionists) was introduced February 25 by the commissioning group, Charles Peltz and the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Jordan Hall, NEC, Boston, MA.
Trumpeter Judson Scott and pianist Cristina Valdes performed Corollary III in a newly revised version in recitals on January 16 on the “Music Off the Walls” series sponsored by Northwest Sinfonietta at the Tacoma (WA) Art Museum, and on January 23 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA.
Fantasia Concertante, violin, cello, and orchestra; The Other Side of Time, symphonic winds and percussion; both by American Composers Edition (American Composers Alliance). All chamber music titles previously published by Margun Music (now G. Schirmer) as well as all titles previously published by MMB Music (now Keiser Music) have reverted to American Composers Edition, including Tesserae I, III, VII, and IX; For Solo Flute, Scintilla Prisca (cello/piano version), Fantasy Variations, Lunar Halos, and Tropes and Echoes (both orchestra and chamber versions).
Gare du Nord, contains ‘Sigol’ for Two; Duo Parnas; Sheffield Lab.
Brian Fennelly is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and co-director of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, now in its 32nd season of concerts in New York City. Skyscapes: Chamber Music of Brian Fennelly, a CD released in November 2007 by Albany Records (TROY CD 980), was enthusiastically reviewed in the May-June 2008 issue of American Record Guide. Sigol for Two was the winner of the 2008 New York Composers Circle Competition and will be premiered on a Parnas Duo concert, May 2009.
Sigol for Strings, a 15-minute work in two movements for string orchestra, was introduced by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra led by David Leighton on February 29 and March 1-2, 2008, at Bard College, Annandale, NY; Pointe of Praise, Kingston, NY; and the Bearsville Theatre, Woodstock, NY. On June 4, 2008, as part of the ACA Festival of American Music, the New York Virtuoso Singers under Harold Rosenbaum premiered Soon Shall the Winter’s Foil, a setting of poetry by Walt Whitman, in the Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space, New York, NY. Guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz premiered Maverick Prelude and Tango, with the newly composed Prelude written especially for him, June 6, on the Music of Invention series, Trinity Episcopal Church, Asbury Park, NJ. Fragment (2008) for bass clarinet and piano, written for a CD planned by clarinetist Henri Bok, was premiered by Duo Alea (Michael and Kim Davenport) at the University of Washington, Tacoma, WA, in May 2008. On December 1, 2008, at Merkin Hall, New York, NY, Sock Monkeys in the version for two flutes was premiered by Patricia Spencer and Tara Helen O’Connor, for whom it was written,
‘Tango’ from Tombeau and Tango was played by the New York Consort of Viols in recital at The Church of the Transfiguration, New York, NY, on February 17, 2008. At a 70th birthday celebration concert May 5, by the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society at Merkin Hall, New York, NY, Tropes and Echoes, a concerto for clarinet and chamber ensemble, was performed by soloist Jean Kopperud and the Washington Square Ensemble under conductor Louis Karchin; two days later, these artists recorded the work with engineer Judith Sherman at SUNY Purchase. Sigol Musings for solo violin was performed by Rolf Schulte on a NACUSA concert at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, New York, NY, on May 20. The American Brass Quintet played Three Chorale Preludes, music of Brahms arranged by Fennelly, July 23, Aspen (CO) Music Festival.
Sigol for Strings, string orchestra; Maverick Prelude and Tango, guitar; Fragment, bass clarinet and piano; ‘Sigol’ for Two, fantasy duo for violin and cello written for the Parnas Duo; 2008 revision of Corollary III for trumpet and piano; all by American Composers Edition (American Composers Alliance).
Sigol for Strings was recorded in the Czech Republic for future release on August 29, 2008, with conductor Joel Eric Suben. The Parnas Duo will record ‘Sigol’ for Two for their second Sheffield Lab CD in spring 2009.