Meet Brendan Fox
I’ve been playing the piano for 21 years, and composing for about 7. I was a piano-composition double major at Wheaton College (IL), and then got a Masters degree in composition at Ithaca College. I’ve been working at Hal Leonard since 2015, and I’ve enjoyed applying a lifetime of classical music geekdom and obscure knowledge to publishing projects.
Composition has lately taken a backseat to more piano activities: accompanying, recitals, random gigs, and recording accompaniment tracks for some Hal Leonard vocal books. I’ve had the opportunity to take a teacher’s perspective on some recent projects that involved pedagogical work, most significantly Bonjour, Piano!
As a piano major in college, I got frustrated hearing people around me constantly practicing the same few Beethoven sonatas and Chopin nocturnes. I wanted to play pieces that I could claim as my own. This led me to play a Medtner sonata and track down some deep cuts from more familiar composers. Eventually I tackled Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata, and my lecture-recitals of that piece form the core of my piano activities.
My musical taste leans heavily toward twentieth and twenty-first century music, particularly Ives, Bartok, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Rihm, Reich, Adams, and anything that comes out of the Wet Ink Ensemble. With this in mind, I will always take advantage of opportunities to plug a new contemporary release that I like, but I also love Bach, Beethoven (especially late), Brahms, Handel, Liszt, Schubert, and Scriabin, and I’m learning to appreciate the elegance of Mozart.
At this current stage in my life, I have to acknowledge that some pieces are popular for a reason, and in some cases they are the “gateway drug” for kids or teenagers to get serious with piano. But I think it’s important for pianists to stay curious and keep seeking out music off the beaten path, as I have. The repertoire is so vast. If you’re looking for a place to discover some of these hidden gems, follow this blog. I’ve got quite a list of music to share.