Discipline: Music Composition

Paul Brantley

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1994, 2000, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2023

Composer, cellist, and conductor Paul Brantley has received fellowships from Banff Centre and Anderson Center. He has given composition seminars at Yale School of Music, Hunter College, Gabriel Fauré Conservatoire (Angoulême), University of Michigan and University School of Music, and University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Brantley recently received a 2023 Centennial Commission from The Curtis Institute of Music. He co-founded the Seal Bay Festival of American Music and was artist faculty at Yellow Barn Music Festival for many years. In addition to positions at Syracuse and Washington and Lee universities, Brantley was a Manhattan School of Music faculty member from 2000 to 2014.

Brantley has enjoyed recent performances of his music by Flux Quartet, soprano Ariadne Greif, Horszowski Trio, The Knights (at Tanglewood, BRIC, Dumbarton Oaks and Naumburg Concerts), classical guitarist Dan Lippel, Memphis Symphony, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, New Esterházy Quartet, RiverArts Ensemble, and flutist Alice Teyssier. His cello concertino, The Royal Revolver, was premiered in 2017 by Eric Jacobsen (The Knights) and the University of Michigan Symphony conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. Filles de l’Élysée was released on the 2022 Boyd Meets Girl CD (Sono Luminous/Naxos). His Aliénor Competition commission, Yeeremynd for solo harpsichord, was premiered by Steve Beck in June 2022 at HKANA, The Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, with soprano Jennifer Zetlan, and they gave the 25th anniversary performance of his On the Pulse of Morning also in June 2022.

At MacDowell in 2000, Brantley worked on a composition premiered by The Furious Band in Spring 2001. This work and that of others was included in an artist’s book he made for the Brighton Press, San Diego. In 2009, he composed the first draft of his chamber cello concerto, The Royal Revolver; all of Brünhilde’s Peroration for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano; touched up a number of straight-to-recording compositions; one solo cello etude; and numerous recorded solo piano and solo cello improvisations. During his 2013 residency, he completed his Esterházy String Quartet project for Flux and New Esterházy Quartet and began work on The Rebirth of the Dream, a commission from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, he completed The Royal Revolver.

During his 2023 residency, Brantley completed his Mystery Sonata for cello and piano, commissioned by cellist Laura Metcalf for her GatherNYC series. Upon arriving at MacDowell Paul presented his compositions for MacDowell Downtown. And in response to the then brand-new Israel/Palestinian war, he composed Lamentation for string orchestra, and dedicated it to all the innocent victims. In his last few days at MacDowell, he was making a setting of the Hermann Hesse poem, Höhe des Sommers (The Height of Summer).


Van Zorn (formerly Kirby)

Paul Brantley worked in the Van Zorn (formerly Kirby) studio.

Constructed thanks to a bequest from Sarah L. Kirby, Kirby Studio was the last new building to be erected during Mrs. MacDowell’s leadership (1907-1951). The load-bearing masonry walls were laid by local mason Augustus Beaulieu atop a fieldstone foundation. A 1995 renovation preserved the brick fireplace with wooden mantel and…

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