Styles: Modern Composition, Free Improvisation, Sound Sculpture, Mixed Media
Pianist and composer John Wolf Brennan was born in Dublin, Ireland, and has been widely acclaimed as an outstanding musician. His distinctive style, marked by a deep interest in contemporary archeology, a personal quest for adventurous avant-garde, an ongoing research of his Celtic roots, and his "Swiss watchmaker exactness," sets him apart from other free jazz and avant-garde musicians of his generation. His compositions feature music rich in atonal textures, and cover a wide spectrum of musical concepts and methods - ranging from piano pieces (prepared and unprepared) to vocal scores, chamber music, and orchestral works - both for classical and jazz ensembles. At the University of Fribourg, Brennan studied musicology, film, and literature. At the Lucerne Conservatory, he studied piano with Eva Serman; at the Academy of School and Church Music, he studied organ and conducting. He continued his studies in composition with Karl Berger at CMS in Woodstock, NY, and James Wilson at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. 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.
-Paula Edelstein (All Music Guide)