Jazz Music

John Wolf Brennan

John Wolf BrennanPianist and composer John Wolf Brennan, born February 13, 1954 in Dublin, Ireland, has been widely acclaimed as an outstanding musician. His distinctive style, marked by a deep interest in contemporary archeology, a very personal quest for an adventurous avantgarde, an ongoing research of his Celtic roots and his "Swiss watchmaker exactness" ("The Wire") sets him apart. His compositions cover a wide spectrum of musical concepts and methods, ranging from piano pieces ("inside and outside" - prepared and unprepared) to vocal scores ("Night.Shift" - an opera after a libretto by Rudolph Straub, based on W.H.Auden's "The Age of Anxiety"; "Sculpted Sound", "Euratorium", "Bestiarium", "PaniConversations", works for choir), from chamber ("Epithalamium" after James Joyce's "Chamber Music"; "Alef Bet - an Ori-ental Peace Piece" for Israeli oboist Ori Meiraz; "A Golly Gal's Way to Galway Bay" for James Galway, "Nearly Charming") to orchestral works, both for classical and jazz ensembles, creating music rich in (a)tonal textures.


Additional master classes in composition with Ennio Morricone, Edison Denissov, Klaus Huber, and Heinz Holliger helped to shape his musical education and concepts. John Wolf Brennan is a member of the Swiss composer's group Groupe Lacroix, and the Pan-European quartet Pago Libre. Concert tours have brought him to Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Canada, and the U.S.A. He has recorded four solo albums as well as with the Pan-European quartet Pago Libre. He has conducted several orchestras, such as SinFONietta and the Creative Works Orchestra. His continuing interest in literature and the performing arts has led him to write numerous works for theatre, dance, sound sculptures, installations, and acoustical environments. Included among these performing arts are the Klangschiff, a steamboat on Lake Lucerne; a setting of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream in a forest; water music in a swimming pool; Sculpted Sound to sculptures created by Derek Shiel; and new music for the Glockenspiel at the Swiss Centre, London. John Wolf Brennan also teaches and gives lectures and workshops throughout Europe.

From 1980 to 1984 Brennan played in the Mohrenkopf Afro-jazz band, and worked in Impetus and Triumbajo with Ushma Agnes Baumeler and Barni Palm in 1980-82. Between 1982 and 1989 he worked extensively with Urs Leimgruber, and in the 1980s also worked with Corin Curschellas and Christy Doran. In 1988 he worked in New York City for six months, then founded the drumless quartet Pago Libre the following year. Early in the 1990s he worked with Lindsay Cooper, Daniele Patumi and Tscho Theissing in several ensembles, established the SinFONietta ensemble in 1991. In 1993 he worked with American drummer Alex Cline in the quintet “Shooting Stars & Traffic Lights". In 1994, Russian hornist Arkady Shilkloper joined Pago Libre, resulting in a string of albums, from “Pago Libre" (1996, re-released 2002) to “Stepping Out" (2006), "platzDADA!" (2008) and "Fake Folk" (2009). In 1997 he lived in London and worked with Julie Tippetts, Evan Parker and Chris Cutler in a sextet called HeXtet, which set poems by Seamus Heaney, Edgar Allan Poe, Theo Dorgan e.a. to music. In 1999 he toured in Finland with Ivo Perelman, and worked with Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia and Daniele Patumi in the quartet “Euradici“. As improvisor, he worked with Chicago bassclarinetist Gene Coleman in a series of MOMENTUM albums, and with Christy Doran and Patrice Héral in the group Triangulation, where he developed his personal style of “comprovisation“, a term he coined in 1989. He also released seven solopiano albums so far, from the first “The Beauty of Fractals“ (1989) to “Pictures in a Gallery" (2006) and the award-winning “The Speed of Dark" (2009).


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