Lecture: Benjamin Broening on "Context, Color, Pitch and Timbre: Some Remarks on My Recent Music"


January 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

This talk will provide an overview of my compositional practice. I will focus on the role of context, harmony, color  and large scale organization in my recent music and provide an overview of the tools, sketching practices and compositional process that inform my work.

Benjamin Broening’s music reflects both his interest in the expressive power of sound and a sense of line derived from his background as a singer. His orchestral, choral, chamber and electroacoustic music has been performed in over twenty countries and across the United States and has commissioned by numerous ensembles including the Arctic Philhamonic (Norway), Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Grammy winners eighth blackbird, Da Capo Chamber Players, Zeitgiest, Network for New Music and many others. He has also worked closely with numerous leading figures in the contemporary music world including Tim McAllister, Camilla Hoitenga, Richard Hawkins, Tim Munro, Arthur Campbell, Nicholas Photinos, Curtis Macomber, Lina Bahn, Daniel Koppelman, and James Wilson among others. A recipient of Guggenheim, Howard and Fulbright Fellowships, Broening has also received recognition and awards from the American Composers Forum, Virginia Commission for the Arts, ACS/Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Presser Music Foundation, as well as a teaching award from the University of Richmond. Trembling Air, a 2012 Bridge Records release of his chamber music recorded by eighth blackbird, has been praised as “haunting,” “enchanting” and “terrific” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “magical” (Fanfare), “other-worldly” (Gramophone), and “alluring” and “captivating” (Audiophile Audition). Recombinant Nocturnes, a 2011 disk of music for piano recorded by Duo Runedako, released on Innova Recordings, has been called a “gorgeous disc of music” and “thoughtful, eloquent, and disarmingly direct” by New Music Box, “deep, troubling” by François Couture and “Lovely, delicate, calming” by Los Angeles’ KFJC. Other recordings have been released by Ensemble U: in Estonia and on the Centaur, Equilibrium, Everglade, MIT Press, Oberlin Music, Open G and SEAMUS record labels. Broening is founder and artistic director of Third Practice, an annual festival of electroacoustic music at the University of Richmond, where he is Professor of Music and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Cambridge University, Yale University, and Wesleyan University.

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