Brendan Faegre

composer, percussionist

Biography

Composer, drummer, and bandleader Brendan Faegre (b. 1985, Portland, USA) crafts music that unites the traditions within which he was formed: rock and jazz drumming, Hindustani classical, and contemporary concert music.

Praised by the New York Times as "especially empowering" and "darkly exhilarating", Faegre's music is performed at major festivals around the world: Huddersfield, Gaudeamus, and November Music in Europe; Dark Music Days in Iceland; Beijing Modern and Thailand International in Asia; and Aspen, Cabrillo, and Bang on a Can in the USA.

Recent concert commissions include Dirt to Gold, an orchestral work inspired by pop/rock musician Beck Hansen (Debut Orchestra, LACMA, Los Angeles); Transcendance for improvising big band and tap dancer (David Kweksilber Big Band, Bimhuis, Amsterdam); and Three Affects for historical performance ensemble (Nordic Affect, Harpa, Reykjavik). Less traditional projects include Music for Bars, an evening-length work of composed, improvised, and curated music for percussion and dancers that underwent a 10-bar tour throughout The Netherlands (Slagwerk Den Haag + Club Guy & Roni's Poetic Disasters Club); From the Asphalt to the Spires for carillon and percussionists on rooftops and balconies (Slagwerk Den Haag + Gijsbert Kok); and Magical Quest for the Hidden Armor, a fantasy-themed game piece where teams of musicians navigate minimal melodies and grooves (Cello Biënnale Amsterdam).

In 2013 he debuted the Edge Ensemble, a group challenging the boundaries between notated and improvised music. Serving as composer and drummer, Faegre leads the ensemble in premieres of his own works, newly commissioned pieces from other composers, and fresh approaches to improvisation (e.g. improvising in the style of Donnacha Dennehy's Glamour Sleeper, aurally tracking the mental condition of characters in Victor Sjöström's silent film The Wind, etc.) The ensemble has been broadcast on Dutch Radio 4 and was the 2014-15 Ensemble-in-Residence with Gaudeamus.

In 2016 he co-founded Bow Hammer Connection together with violinist Isa Goldschmeding and sound designer Micha de Kanter. Combining melody, rhythm, and cutting edge electronics, they perform repertoire ranging from Faegre's Dance Suite in G, to the latest David Lang, to an arrangement of Sonic Youth's Bull in the Heather. Bow Hammer Connection was selected for the 2017 Classical:NEXT Club Showcase where they were cited as "rabid musical omnivores" and "a trio that command a giant sound reminiscent of experimental and noise-rock bands such as Battles and Shellac."

His work has been recognized with numerous awards including the New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, Beijing Modern Music Festival Young Composer Award, TROMP Composition Competition Prize, Northridge Composition Prize, European Composers' Professional Development Programme, and a BMI Student Composer Award. He has received educational fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, Cabrillo Composers/Conductors Workshop, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Cone Composition Institute, Cortona Sessions, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He has also been granted research fellowships from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Performing Arts Fund NL. From 2012-2015 Faegre served as New Music Advisor and composer-in-residence for the Lake George Music Festival.

Faegre received Master of Music degrees from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound. He has studied composition with Martijn Padding, Peter Adriaansz, Lasse Thoresen, Don Freund, Claude Baker, and Michael Gandolfi. He also studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music, at Aspen with Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky, and Syd Hodkinson, at the Cone Institute with Steven Mackey, and studied tabla traditionally with Pandit Ramdas Palsule in Pune, India. He now lives in the Netherlands with his wife, baroque violinist Lucia Giraudo, and their daughter.


[Photo by Doug Hoeschler]