Composer Gregory W. Brown [b. 1974] studied composition and conducting at Amherst College, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. His teachers included Lewis Spratlan (composition) and Joseph Flummerfelt (conducting). Brown’s works have been performed across the United States and Europe — most notably in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Cadogan Hall in London, and the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.
Brown’s 2015 CD of original choral and vocal works — Moonstrung Air — was Q2’s Album of the Week for Feb 16th: “[Brown’s] command of transcendent sound is constant” and Gapplegate Classical-Modern Review remarked: “The performances are exemplary, the sound excellent and the compositions show us that Gregory W. Brown takes to vocal writing as a natural. The music has eloquence, verve and old-in-new panache.” Missa Charles Darwin was recently re-issued in a special edition to coincide with the publication of his brother’s latest novel — Origin — in which it makes an appearance.
Brown’s cantata — un/bodying/s — was premiered by two-time Grammy-winning Philadelphia choir The Crossing in June 2017. This 35-minute cantata for 24 voices uses new texts by poet Todd Hearon and focuses on issues of displacement and ecology around the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir. un/bodying/s was released on the Innova label in 2018. Gramophone’s review of un/bodying/s remarked that “[Brown's] writing is lively and affecting, full of exhilarating lines amid pungent details.”
His latest major work — Fall & Decline — was commissioned by Variant 6 and released on Navona Records in 2021. The piece fuses six voices with electronics to create a nightmarish meditation on hubris and the cyclic fall of civilization.
Recent commissions include works for Grammy-nominated Skylark Ensemble, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Nobiles (Leipzig), Boston Choral Ensemble, soprano Mary Hubbell (USA), contralto Kristine Gether (Denmark), countertenor Geoffrey Silver (UK), and others.
In addition to musical pursuits, Brown is also an avid photographer who maintains and shoots with several vintage film cameras. His photographs of the Quabbin Reservoir are the featured album art for if there were water.