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Musical World

Paul Brantley

  • Cellist
  • Composer
  • Conductor


Paul Brantley: As well his music has been performed at the Roundtop, Seal Bay, Tanglewood, Wilmington and Yellow Barn music festivals. In addition, his works for solo instruments have begun to figure in the repertoire of many recitalists. Coming from a family of jazz and pop musicians, Paul Brantley was essentially self-taught as a composer until he began to study composition with David Loeb at the Curtis Institute at the age of 22.

Before this, he had studied 'cello with David Wells at The Manhattan School where he was awarded The Pablo Casals Award upon graduation. For graduate school he attended the Eastman School of Music where he studied both composition with Samuel Adler and cello with Alan Harris. He pursued additional studies at Fontainebleau and Tanglewood where in 1985 he received The Leonard Bernstein Fellowship. He continued to work closely with Bernstein until his death in 1990. From 1988 to 1991 Paul Brantley was visiting professor of composition and chamber music at Syracuse University. For the 1993-94 season he was visiting composer at Washington and Lee University where he was also artistic director of "Sonoklect '94: Musical Mandalas".

Paul Brantley has been composer-in-residence at the Sewanee Music Center, The Yellow Barn Festival, The Seal Bay Festival and the Children's Choral Celebration Festival in Los Angeles. He held a MacDowell Colony residency for the fall of 1994. In 1994, Paul Brantley was given permission by Maya Angelou to set her inaugural poem, On the Pulse of Morning, for soprano and orchestra; this was premiered to great critical and public acclaim by soprano, Luvenia Garner, and the Illinois Symphony conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. As a 'cellist, Paul Brantley has performed as a recitalist, a chamber musician, and as a studio musician in Nashville. He has toured with Natalie Cole, Henry Mancini and Page and Plant.

For the summer of 1996, Paul Brantley served as interim 'cellist for the Cassatt Quartet. Currently he is the cellist and founding member of The Mandala Ensemble. Paul Brantley has conducted such ensembles as Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Chamber Orchestra, Harry Jacobs Chamber Orchestra, Hartt Symphony Orchestra, International House Chamber Orchestra, Sewanee Festival Orchestra, Stones River Chamber Players, Society for New Music, The Syracuse Symphony Ensemble, and the Yellow Barn Festival Orchestra. He is co-director of the Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine. He is on the artist/faculty at the Yellow Barn Festival in Putney, VT.

Since 1995 he is Director of Orchestral Activities at Syracuse University.