Brian Wilbur Grundstrom's compositions for film, orchestra, chorus, piano, quintet and other ensembles demonstrate an innovative use of harmony and melody, which although firmly rooted in the tonal tradition is entirely new. Audiences take to his compositions immediately.
Classically trained in piano as well as music theory from Gettysburg College, he has continued orchestration and composition studies with John David Earnest. His awards include Encore from American Composers Forum, Composers Assistance Program from the American Music Center and ASCAPLUS from ASCAP. He is also a grant recipient from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
A member of ASCAP, Brian attended the prestigious ASCAP/NYU Buddy Baker Film Music Workshop. He recently completed music for "2 Minutes Later", a full feature by Robert Gaston, in addition to a dozen other films. His studio includes the latest in technologies, including GigaStudio and Vienna Symphonic Library, and he is able to render his orchestral compositions at high professional standards.
His music has been performed by SONOS Chamber Orchestra, Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Trinity Chamber Orchstra, George Washington University Orchestra, NIH Philharmonia, Holyoke Civic Symphony, Colla Voce and The New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus. Director Erik E. Ochsner writes "Many audiences cringe at the thought of new music. We had such positive feedback from audiences on how much they enjoyed Grundstrom's work. It is modern, yet tonal."
He is represented by Jeffrey James Arts Consulting, and his compositions can be heard at www.brianwilbur.com.
Approach to Tonality
With so much of our collective musical experience being tonal, I believe it is important to use tonality in order to communicate effectively. However, because it is ever present there exists a challenge to maintain interest: as composers we must write within the confines of the possible yet not completely inside of the expected. Being creative with tonality is therefore essential in creating music that is not only understood, but also interesting. I understand the essence of tonality, the relationship of tonic to dominate as well as fa to mi and ti to do. These essentials guide my composition, and they are present even though I do not write with a key signature. The absence of a key signature gives me the freedom necessary to use tonality in more interesting ways, letting my ear guide my music along its path. This is how I have addressed the issue of capitalizing upon the musical knowledge of the public, while at the same time providing something less predictable.
Convergence (2007) 60m by Zero Point Productions/Gary Wheeler & John Strawbridge VSL
Sadie's Waltz (2007) 20m by Mobius Films/Edward R. Tyndall VSL
Deconfliction (2007) 13m by Mobius Films/Edward R. Tyndall VSL
Pay Your Dues (2007) 7m (Best of 48 Hour Film Project 2007) by Tohubohu Productions/William R. Coughlan VSL
2 Minutes Later (2007) 30m (70m film) by Robert Gaston VSL
Milind Soman Made Me Gay (2007) (20m film) by Harjant Gill VSL
The Pride of the Maasai Mara (2007) (6m music & film) by Sonnett Media Group/Dan Sonnett VSL
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (2007) short by Attey Production/Yetta Myrick VSL
The Tea Party (2006) 5m by Attey Production/Yetta Myrick VSL
The Mane Attraction (2006) 3m (National Film Challenge) by Sonnett Media Group/Dan Sonnett VSL
Machinations (2006) 5m (Winner, Best Sci-Fi National Film Challenge) by Tohubohu Productions/William R. Coughlan VSL
A Date With Dennis (2006) 6m by Director Taylor Burns VSL
Reunion (2006) 12:30m (26m film) by Director Andy Bely VSL
Dream Sequence for Smallville (2005) 1:35m ASCAP/NYU Buddy Baker Film Music Workshop Orchestra
VSL = "Vienna Symphonic Library"
Contentment, Poem for Orchestra (1999) 11:20m (2222,4331,timp,perc,hrp,strings)
A lyric poem for medium orchestra
Jubilation! Dance for Orchestra (2000) 8:45m (3333,4331,timp,xyl,vibr,mar,perc,strings)
(George Washington University Orchestra, Nancia D?Alimonte Director, Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC, November 19, 2006)
Jubilation! is an exciting dance in 5/4 for full orchestra, climaxing with a big energetic ending.
Suite for Chamber Orchestra (fl,ob,cl,bn,hn,tmp,strings)
(The Entire Suite performed by NIH Philharmonia, Nancia D?Alimonte Director, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Rockville MD, October 20, 2007)
I. Before the Fall! (2001) 10:45m
(Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Richard Fazio Director, October 15, 2006, St Ann's Church Washington DC)
Before the Fall! was almost completed before that defining moment of September 11th, yet there is a dark side to the piece that seems to forebode. Coincidentally, the title also portrays the sense of loss felt as summer fades away and the anticipated dread of the cold and dark as winter approaches. In some sense, the events that shape our world are just as seasonal and uncontrollable as the weather.
II. Avalon (2002) 11:30m
Avalon is the mystical island of healing that King Arthur went to after his battle. This piece represents the slow and necessary healing process following a dramatic event. Mysterious and epic sounding, Avalon has a freestyle beginning with interjecting little motives – then transitions and builds upon these interjections to a steady and foreboding feel with string pizzicato. The color and character changes subtly as the piece slowly climaxes and relaxes.
III. Celebration! (2002) 8:30m
(SONOS Chamber Orchestra, Erik E Ochsner Director, Trinity Church, NYC 2003, February 2003)
(Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Richard Fazio Director, Trinity Theater, Washington DC, January 2005)
(Festival Chamber Orchestra Series, Dr. Blaine Shover, Artistic Director, Shippensburg PA, July 2005)
Celebration! deals with the joy and celebration of life that we need to express after coming to terms with the darker side. With all its excitement and vigor, as well as its interesting unexpected turns, Celebration! makes a great concert opener!!!
Music II for Wind Quintet (2005) 15:05m (Fl, Ob, Cl, Hn, Bn)
(Trinity Chamber Players, Oakton and Alexandria, VA, June 2005 and professionally recorded by Steve Antosca)
(Ensemble A la Carte, The Westchester, Washington DC, July 17, 2006)
Music for Piano Solo II has been orchestrated into a fun lively piece for winds.
Benefit of Going to Law (2004) 4:45m (Guitar and Soprano)
J. Andrew Dickenson and Yeonjune Suh on November 9, 2005 and July 11, 2005
This intimate song presents the wit and humor of Benjamin Franklin, received Encore Performance Incentive award with J. Andrew Dickenson from the American Composers Forum
Music for Piano Solo I (1985) 6:30m
(Gettysburg College, Gettysburg PA 1985)
A short lyric atonal piece for piano solo
Music for Piano Solo II (1990) 16:00m
Using all 88 keys, this upbeat melodic journey explores different tonal centers and textures, including a "hoedown"
Music for Piano Solo III (1994) 12:00m
This tonal piece is defined by its melodic landscape. Pianist Craig Randal Johnson received a Performance Incentive Fund from the American Composers Forum to perform this work.
Music III for Two Pianos (1995) 13:00m
(performed with Jay Egelberg, Steinway Hall, NYC 1996)
Music for Piano Solo III is orchestrated with plenty of counterpoint to make a lively jubilant piano duo.
Music for Piano Solo IV (Crystalline Textures) (1996) 12:30m
(Steinwall Hall 1997)
A response to minimalism, Crystalline Textures was written as an exercise in "transparent" or "crystalline" textures.
My Letter from Carl (2007) 9:00m (TTBB Chorus, Piano and Oboe) Lyrics by Joseph Shapiro
Commissioned for the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus, Carl writes his dear friend Joey to tell him how much he is missed.
(New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus, Steven A. Russell Director, Titusville NJ, June 15, 2007)
(New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus, Steven A. Russell Director, Plainfield NJ, June 16, 2007)
How I Found Sam (2006) 7:00m (TTBB Chorus and Piano) Lyrics by Jim Skofield
Fun and upbeat, commissioned for San Francisco's Colla Voce.
(Colla Voce, Steve Ng Director, Fairfield Center for Creative Arts, Fairfield CA June 11, 2006)
(Colla Voce, Steve Ng Director, St John the Evangelist Church, San Francisco CA July 9, 2006)
(Colla Voce, Steve Ng Director, Salle Pierre-Mercure, OutGames, Montreal, August 1, 2006, sold-out)
Tessitura Mission Statement Chorus (2005) 3:33m (SATB and Piano)
Commissioned for the Tessitura Network annual conference in Boston, a thirty member volunteer chorus sang the network's mission statement set to music, under the direction of BWG. (Tessitura is a performing arts organization software.)
(2005 and 2006 Annual Conferences in Boston and Toronto)
Simple Town (1997) 9:00m (TTBB Chorus and Piano)
The joys of growing up gay in rural America.
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