Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Brandon Ridenour

The ongoing question of “How do we save classical music?” has been looming for years it seems.  Luckily, in the creative world, multiple ensembles are not just asking the question, they are finding unique ways to SOLVE it.  FONT Music 2015’s opening concert “Without A Frame” will be held at Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday September 24 at 8:30 where we will be featuring three of contemporary classical music’s forward looking, genre bending “classical” ensembles – yMusic, Asphalt Orchestra and Founders.  It’s hard to truly call them “classical” groups as they start in one camp and jump constantly around to countless others. We’ll be spotlighting these groups in the next few weeks to give you a sneak peek for this exciting evening.

brandon 1Today we catch up with FONT Music, Canadian Brass and Juilliard alumni and all around great trumpeter, pianist and musician, Brandon Ridenour.  What doesn’t he do?  We’re still trying to figure that one out.  His latest musical project brings together 5 classically trained musician in a more “Singer Songwriter” setting – bringing both covers of multiple genres and originals to listeners ears.  If this is what the future holds for classical music, I think we’re in for a treat.  Here’s what Brandon had to say to us!


Thanks for chatting with us Brandon.  You’re not a stranger to FONT Music.  You played a few years back, right?  What did you present then?

The last FONT Music concert I recall being involved in was back in 2008. I played an arrangement of mine of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time – written for trumpet w/ electronic effects, electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, piano, and auxiliary percussion.On a Messiaen side note, Thomas Bergeron’s “Sacred Feast” features works of Messiaen reinterpreted on Sept 25 at The Dimenna Center this year (coincidence?  Maybe…).  This year you’re coming back to us with a whole new project – singer-songwriter meets classical.  A match made in heaven, in my mind.  Tell us a bit about this group.

Founders is the group I’ll be playing with at FONT Music this year. It’s a singing-songwriting group of classical musicians. I was told the working theme of this FONT Music event was something like “Indie Classical”.brandon founders  So yeah, you could call us that. We do some originals, some arrangements. Sometimes there are vocals, sometimes not. The other instruments are violin, viola, cello, bass. I alternate between trumpet and piano depending on what the song calls for. Like yMusic, we might appear to be a classical group, but we don’t necessarily sound classical. Better to experience it in concert than for me to keep rambling about it…Yeah, we’re looking forward to the experience, but we don’t mind your rambling.  Give us a rundown as to what you’ve been up to over the years since your days at Juilliard.

I played with the Canadian Brass from 2006-13. My father and girlfriend are both professional pianists, and I play trumpet/piano

canadianbrass concerts with them quite often. I’ve also been performing a new piece I wrote for solo trumpet and orchestra – based on Paganini’s theme from Caprice No. 24.I’ve also started an ensemble called Useful Chamber, which I direct. It’s a chamber ensemble collective that brings the classical sound
world to singer songwriters. The ensemble’s instrumentation is flexible, but always acoustic. Could be as small as 3 instruments, orbrandon 2as large as a 20 piece chamber orchestra. Our debut album “A Dream Within A Dream” uses the full ensemble, featuring a major mixture of musical minds. Melodies are intertwined from Debussy, Mahler, Glass, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and current writers/singers Leila Adu, Elliot Cole and….me. It’s a fun project. Maybe FONT 2016??Doesn’t sound like a bad idea … we’re really looking forward to Sept 24th!  Thanks for chatting with us!

 


Check out Brandon Ridenour’s website: http://www.brandonridenour.org
Check out Founders website: http://www.foundersmusic.org
Check out this video of the Founders recording session: