CEWM’s Luncheon Musicale Benefit will feature vibraphonist and composer Patricia Brennan
Vibraphonist, marimbist, improviser and composer Patricia Brennan. Photo: K.Grabowsky
LENOX — Close encounters with music (CEWM) will feature a Brooklyn-based Mexican-born vibraphonist, improviser and composer Patricia Brenan to Wyndhurst Manor Sunday May 15 at 12 p.m.for a performance and lunch to benefit the CEWM Commissioning Program, which supported the premieres of 22 works by 18 composers.
Patricia Brennan was born and raised in the Mexican port city of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico. (Brennan? Really? Yes! Her husband, Noel, is Irish.) She studied classical music with her grandmother, a concert pianist, and performed Mozart piano sonatas in student recitals when she was a child. But her father played percussion in Latin salsa bands, and throughout her childhood Brennan absorbed the sounds of her father’s music, as well as the Cuban and Afro-Cuban sounds that were popular in her own piece. Her mother introduced her to the music of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
Brennan joined the Youth Orchestra of the Americas at 17, touring all over the Americas and playing with people like Yo-Yo Ma and Paquito D’Rivera. Soon she was playing in the best symphony orchestras in Mexico, including the Xalapa and Mineria symphony orchestras, and winning several marimba competitions and competitions for young artists in Mexico and abroad.
If you listen to Brennan tell her story to be accepted in the highly competitive environment Curtis Institute of Music at 18, you’ll quickly realize that at the time, she had no idea how important it was to date Curtis. This is because she did not apply to Curtis but was invited by a teacher there who had heard her play with one of the jazz ensembles she worked with in New York.
From Curtis, Brennan went on to earn a master’s degree in New York Universitywhere it is now part of the Music Professions Auxiliary Faculty of Music and Performing Arts.
Brennan is a Grammy nominated member John Hollenbeck Grand EnsembleMatt Mitchell’s Phalanx Ambassadors, Michael FormanekEnsemble Kolossus, and various other “big” groups. (They don’t call them “big bands” because that reminds people of Benny Goodman and Glen Miller, which is a whole different kind of music.)
After playing for more than 10 years alongside prominent musicians in New York’s avant-garde jazz community, Brennan realized she had something to express and pursued that calling through improvisational music and composition, focusing on vibraphone and mallet percussion.
Having studied or played all types of music, from classical piano to jazz standards, Patricia Brennan has plenty of harmony bouncing around her head – enough to spare, obviously. And that comes out — little by little — in his improvisations and his compositions. As a composer, she’s on good terms with tonality, but not so friendly that she could ever be enslaved to it.
Brennan’s debut album, “Maquishti” is on the UK’s Top Albums of 2021 lists. Cablethe New York Timesand the New Yorker. She recently did an electronic revamp of “Maquishti” with percussionist, drummer and record player DJ Arktureye (Noel Brennan) and special guests. It is called “Maquishti Prismatic”.
To join the waiting list for this benefit concert, contact CEWM at 800-843-0778 or [email protected]