Composer, drummer, and bandleader Brendan Faegre (b. 1985, Portland, USA) crafts music that unites the traditions within which he was formed: jazz and rock 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 such as Huddersfield, Gaudeamus, November Music, TRANSIT Leuven, Dark Music Days, Beijing Modern, Thailand International, Aspen, Cabrillo, and Bang on a Can. Recent 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); Three Affects for historical performance ensemble (Nordic Affect, Harpa, Reykjavik); and Music for Bars with percussion group Slagwerk Den Haag, an evening-length work combining composed, improvised, and curated works for percussion and dancers, to be toured around bars in The Netherlands.
His work has been recognized through honors and awards including the New York Youth Symphony First Music commission, Beijing Modern Music Festival Young Composer Award, TROMP Composition Competition, Northridge Composition Prize, European Composers' Professional Development Programme, and a BMI Student Composer Award. He has received educational fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, the Cabrillo Composers/Conductors Workshop, NJ Symphony Orchestra Edward T. Cone Institute, 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.
In 2013 he debuted the Brendan Faegre Edge Ensemble, a group challenging the boundaries between notated and improvised music. Serving as composer, director, and percussionist, Faegre has led the ensemble in premieres of his own works, newly commissioned pieces from other young composers, and improvisations around strictly notated music by well-known living composers. The ensemble has been broadcast on Dutch Radio 4 and was the 2014-15 Ensemble-in-Residence with Gaudeamus.
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.
[Photo by Doug Hoeschler]