2010 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: Before Minneapolis

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Taylor Brizendine

Well it’s Sunday. Perhaps Saturday. I’m so busy, I honestly don’t know what day it is anymore. I feel, though, that I should probably explain a little about myself and who I am before continuing with the tiring minutia of me not knowing what day it is.

First off, my name is Taylor Brizendine, and I will be taking part in the 2010 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute in just a few days. My piece Mandragora Officinarum will be performed at the Future Classics concert next Friday, October 29th. A few things about myself, I do write music, however at this point in my life, I like to consider myself an artist before I consider myself a composer. I don’t only write music, I design costumes, make puppets, and animate and direct films among other things. I get called a composer frequently, but composition is just the artistic medium I am most familiar with right now. I won’t lie, that sounds pretty ostentatious, but I don’t intend to be that way.

I’m incredibly excited and nervous for next week. Even though I have seen the schedule and been in correspondence with almost everyone involved, I still have an overwhelming feeling of “I have no idea what is about to happen.” From what I can tell, I am the only person in the Composer Institute without a degree. I don’t know whether I should feel nervous that I don’t have a masters or doctorate, or honored that I was chosen regardless. To be clear, I didn’t fail out of school or anything like that. I’m only twenty; I’m still finishing my BFA. But I’m still nervous. I have had orchestral pieces performed before, but never by such a major orchestra! This will no doubt be the defining week that starts my career.

Sorry I have to cut this entry short, but please feel free to comment. I would like to know what the readers want to hear about during the coming week, any suggestions?

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Taylor Brizendine is a 20-year-old composer currently studying at the Herb Alpert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles for his bachelor of fine arts degree. Taylor has written for many acoustic and electro-acoustic mediums, including prepared piano, brass ensembles, orchestra, string quartet, Folk band, Drag performers, and many other mixed ensembles and soloists. His music has been performed many times by such accomplished groups, soloists, and associations as the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, the California Institute of the Arts Chamber Orchestra, Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, The Portland Youth Philharmonic chamber music series, the Oregon Pro Arte Youth Chamber Orchestra, as well as faculty members from Lewis and Clark College, and the California Institute of the Arts. Taylor has studied with composers such as Tomas Svoboda, Barry Schrader, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, and Michael Johanson. Currently, he studies with Dr. Anne LeBaron. He is also a bassoonist, saxophonist, a filmmaker working in stop-motion animation and dance; a costume designer; as well as a photography/sculpture artist. Taylor’s main influences include J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messaien, Gyorgy Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Primus, Heiner Goebbels, Lady Gaga, Harry Smith, Lee Alexander McQueen, David LaChapelle, Jan Svankmajer, ideas of circular time, sexuality, and death. He has received several commissions and awards for his compositions, including being commissioned to write an orchestral work for the 150th anniversary of Oregon for the Portland Columbia Symphony. Current projects include a series of composition installations entitled Geistes-Filme 3-7, and an opera: Ah Puch(Pook) in 3-D!

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