Brian Fennelly

Brian Fennelly (born 1937) studied at Yale with Mel Powell, Donald Martino, Allen Forte, Gunther Schuller, and George Perle (M.Mus ‘65, Ph.D. ‘68). From 1968 to 1997 he was Professor of Music in the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University, where he is now Professor Emeritus. In addition to a Guggenheim fellowship, his awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Koussevitsky Foundation commissions, and an award for lifetime achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His catalogue includes fifteen works for orchestra, eleven of which have been recorded; choral music; and chamber music including Skyscapes I-IV, Evanescences for instruments and tape, two piano sonatas, three string quartets and three brass quintets. His music has been awarded prizes in such prestigious competitions as the Louisville Orchestra New Music Competition and the Goffredo Petrassi International Competition for orchestral music. He is co-director of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, which he founded in 1976. In November 2007 Albany records released a new CD of his chamber music featuring the Da Capo Chamber Players, Pro Arte String Quartet, the ensemble counter)induction, and pianist Blair McMillen.


This is the single setting completed of a planned set of nature poems by Walt Whitman for Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers. It was written for a now-abandoned recording project of some years ago involving all my choral music.

Soon shall the winter’s foil be here;
Soon shall these icy ligatures unbind and melt -- A little while,
And air, soil, wave, suffused shall be in softness, bloom and
growth -- a thousand forms shall rise
From these dead clods and chills and low burial graves.
Thine eyes, ears -- all thy best attributes -- all that takes cognizance
of natural beauty,
Shall wake and fill. Thou shalt perceive the simple shows, the
delicate miracles of earth,
Dandelions, clover, the emerald grass, the early scents and flowers,
The arbutus under foot, the willow’s yellow-green, the blossoming
plum and cherry;
With these the robin, lark and thrush, singing their songs -- the
flitting bluebird;
For such the scenes the annual play brings on.

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