bio

Bill Brennan's expertise as a pianist, percussionist, composer and producer can be heard on some 85 albums to date. His album of 2006 Solo Piano received nominations for MusicNL and ECMA “Instrumental Album of the Year”.

Brennan has recorded with the Heillig Manouevre, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and Vuja De. He appears on CDs by Juno-nominated Teresa Doyle, ambient-pop-rocker Andy Stochansky, guitarist Kevin Breit, torch folksinger Andrea Koziol and by fellow Newfoundlanders Sandy Morris, Patrick Boyle and Barry Canning. He has backed up such greats as Cab Calloway, Placido Domingo and Dizzy Gillespie.

Always in demand as a folk and jazz pianist, Brennan plays regularly with his own bands, as well as with Oliver Schroer, Wendell Ferguson , marimbist Mika Yoshida, dancer Sarah Chase and many more. He has performed across North America and around the world: Austria, Germany, France, Japan, Norway, the Czech Republic, England, Scotland, Portugal and Switzerland.

Over the past two decades, Brennan has been involved with some of the best-known organizations in Canadian culture. He has performed with the National Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company. He was musical director of CBC's beloved Vinyl Café (hosted by Stuart MacLean), and a documentary composer for David Suzuki's The Nature of Things .

Brennan was musical director and composer for Building Jerusalem , an award-winning play by Michael Redhill ( Best new production , Dora Awards, 2000). He has also performed on film soundtracks for The Ice Storm (directed by Ang Lee) and Antwone Fisher (directed by Denzel Washington).

Nationally and internationally, his work has been formally recognized through the awarding of a number of prestigious awards and commissions, including the Freddie Stone Memorial Award (1999). He has been commissioned to compose for contemporary music performers including Hemispheres and percussionist Romano DiNillo. Several of these works have been premiered at the Sound Symposium.

More than 20 years of relentless experience have garnered Brennan a solid reputation as a player, composer and arranger of contemporary classical, jazz, folk and world music — always exploring, always open to new ideas, Brennan's talents resist classification.

Brennan was named the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Artist of the Year for 2006.

downloadable bio (Word file)
downloadable CV (Word file)

reviews

"Brennan.... is a central figure in this country's music." - Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

"Brennan might wear his heart on his sleeve, but this music is very deeply felt, and it is easy to begin listening and then look up later, only to discover that an hour has gone by. Solo Piano is a lesson in subtlety and finesse where few notes take up much space and the music plunges deep." - Budd Kopman, AllAboutJazz.com (see full review)

"It is a model of elegant and extremely gentle control... this sort of textural mastery over the piano is rare." - Erin Best, Newfoundland Quarterly

"It is a refreshing and rare experience to listen to a performer with such a tangible respect for the quality of each sound and the spaces that surround them." - Erin Donovan, Musicworks

"Brennan covers much of his program with a soft blanket of snow or fog... guaranteed to calm every visitor into a pleasurable state where dreams can be left unattended until finished." - Cadence Magazine

"Solo Piano is a gorgeous collection of music. It's beautifully laid out... a peace-inducing and meditative disc.... one of those albums that gets better as you listen to it; you begin to hear cohesive threads where you thought there were none, and the silences and breaks gain as much significance as the notes." - Karla Hayward, The Telegram

"it's stunning. This CD makes you stop in your tracks. It seems like such a deeply personal project. It just makes me want to stop what IIm doing and "participate"...to give all my attention to it." - Barbara Dickie, CBC's "Fresh Air"

"There's a haunting quality here of isolated horizons and a cooling vastness, a deliberate air of quiet tension that's inherently unique to our corner of the world. Brennan has scored the inner soundtrack to anyone standing on a chilly November morning, where emotions linger by degrees and haunt the lonely expanses we call home." - Anshuman Iddamsetty , The Muse

".... comes from another end of the spectrum, or perhaps it is a different world altogether. Bordering on 'ambient', these soothing improvisations were just what I needed to get through some extremely stressful times in recent weeks. Modal and melodic, the gentle pieces exhude calm and a peacefulness that are 'just what the doctor ordered'." - David Olds, Wholenote Magazine

"It's perfect for those dark early mornings driving into work - Great to hear such personal music so beautifully played." - Tom Allen, CBC's "Music and Company"

" it's beautiful!!" - Heather Bambrick, Sunday Afternoon Jazz, Jazz FM91.1 (Toronto)

photos


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print version (300 ppi)
web version (72 ppi)

print version (300 ppi)
web version (72 ppi)

print version (300 ppi)
web version (72 ppi)