Composer & Performer Elizabeth Brown Joins Faculty as Composer-in-Residence

This academic year, Cali School students will have the opportunity to work with internationally prominent composer and performer Elizabeth Brown. She has combined a successful composing career with an extremely diverse performing life, playing flute, shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute), and theremin in a wide variety of musical circles. Her music, shaped by this unique group of instruments and experiences, has been called luminous, dreamlike and hallucinatory.

Brown's music has been heard in Japan, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Australia, South Africa and Vietnam as well as across the US and Europe. A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, she has received grants, awards and commissions from Orpheus, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, Newband, the Asian Cultural Council, the Japan/US Friendship Commission, Meet the Composer, the Electronic Music Foundation, the Cary Trust, and NYFA. She has been Artist-in-Residence in locations from the Hanoi National Conservatory to Grand Canyon National Park. She has two solo CDs: Elizabeth Brown: Mirage (New World) and Blue Minor: Chamber Music by Elizabeth Brown (Albany).

Kyle Gann wrote in Chamber Music Magazine: "Elizabeth Brown writes the only music I know of in which the flute might be playing 'London Bridge is Falling down' while the cello is sliding through a long glissando underneath, yet nothing feels incongruous. There's a kind of imaginary quality to her music. It's as if not only each piece but each passage is based on some strange conceit: a bird sings while a pianist plays Mozart and a cellist shakes like a bowl full of Jell-O. Each conceit morphs into the next in a stream of non-sequiturs, and yet every juncture is smoothly blended, no seam visible. It's elegant, quiet, thoughtful, well-crafted music, and as bizarre as hell. Imagine walking into a Magritte painting: fish protrude from the vase instead of flowers, the chairs are bolted to the ceiling, but the wallpaper is lovely and the furnishings tasteful. That's a little what listening to Elizabeth Brown is like."

This season includes numerous performances of 'A Bookmobile for Dreamers' for live theremin, recorded soundscape and video, Brown's fourth collaboration with artist Lothar Osterburg. She will appear as flutist with the American Symphony and the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and often performs both traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi.