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Brennan, John Wolf

jazz swiss piano music

Brennan, John Wolf, Irish-Swiss composer and pianist; b. Dublin, Feb. 13, 1954. He moved to Switzerland as a youth, and began playing bass and guitar as a teenager in Lucerne. He studied musicology, film, and literature at the Univ. of Fribourg and attended the Swiss Jazz school in Berne (1975–79), continuing his studies in piano, composition, and theory in Lucerne, Dublin, and N.Y. (1979–84). From 1984 Brennan formed various duets, quartets, and quintets with a number of European jazz virtuosos. In 1993 he formed the “Groupe Lacroix” a cooperative of six Swiss and Austrian composers who perform their own works. From the mid-1980s, Brennan worked internationally as a jazz musician, conductor, music director for radio and television, piano teacher, and leader of improvisation workshops. In 1999 he performed in a festival of his works held in Chicago to celebrate Swiss Days. Brennan is a unique musician, equally comfortable in the worlds of jazz and concert music. From an early influence as diverse as Miles Davis and the Beatles, Brennan’s music evolved into a high-art synthesis of John Cage, Henry Cowell, Pierre Henri, and free-jazz, which at times involves theatrical techniques such as musique concrète, bowing of piano strings, and multiphonics. His titles reflect his proclivity for word play.

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