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Brent Chancellor
is the Music Director of LUX and acting Music Director of the Montclair State University Opera. Recognized for his powerful dynamic style and direct human communication, recent engagements include Cover Conductor with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor to Stéphane Denève, Martin West and Joel Revzen at Festival Napa Valley, Conducting Assistant with Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Cover Conductor for concerts with André Watts, Leon Fleisher, Robert Levin, Joyce Yang, Angel Blue and Lester Lynch. He also serves as Assistant Conductor with New Jersey Festival Orchestra and since 2017, has served on faculty of the International Vocal Arts Institute directed by renowned Metropolitan Opera Assistant Conductor and opera coach, Joan Dornemann. This summer he attends the Cabrillo Festival with conductor Cristian Măcelaru and composers John Corigliano, William Bolcom and Nico Muhly.

A devoted opera conductor, Brent has collaborated with some of the most accomplished musicians and emerging artists from The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Hailed by mezzo-soprano Mignon Dunn as “a real singers’ conductor”, he served as Assistant Conductor to Paul Nadler from 2008-2012 on productions of Ariadne auf NaxosLa TraviataThe Rake’s ProgressDon Pasquale and Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as concerts with the Israel Chamber Orchestra at the New Opera House in Tel Aviv and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Montreal. He has also worked with revered stage directors Joshua Major, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, Jeffrey Gall, Lawrence Edelson and Joachim Schamberger. Other opera credits include musical preparation for Madame ButterflyDon GiovanniLa Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Suor Angelica, Les Nozze di Figaro, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Cendrillon and The Rape of Lucretia, for which he stepped in last minute to take over as Music Director.

Equally passionate about music education, access and engagement, Brent is rapidly gaining recognition as a unique and imaginative presenter. In 2016 he founded LUX, an orchestra initiative focused on engaging new audiences with symphonic music. LUX merges high-energy orchestral performance, light-shows and video projection alongside the music of popular artists like Beastie Boys, Björk, Desiigner and Skrillex, creating an opportunity for young people to connect with classical music in a fully-immersive and informal setting. Recent projects include collaborating with the South Orange Performing Arts Center to provide student outreach concerts that also encourage diversity and equity through inclusion, tolerance, and individuality. Upcoming performances will feature Grammy Award-winning violinist and member of Snarky Puppy, Zach Brock. Brent has also presented pre-concert talks and audience outreach at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, UC Davis, CSUS and the John J. Cali School of Music. With a deep curiosity and appreciation for music across genres, Brent spent almost four months in Uganda studying traditional ngoma drumming with Mpambire Drum Makers of Uganda. His recordings are under consideration for archival with the Library of Congress.

Photo: Rodney Leinberger

An award-winning composer and dedicated advocate for new music, his works have been performed at the Festival of New American Music, Festival of the Arts, Center for Contemporary Art and NY Fashion Week. 2016 highlights included premieres performed by contemporary flutist and TEDx presenter Cathie Apple, and special recognition for his role helping to found the all-women’s choir Vox Musica with Daniel Paulson. In 2010, 2005 and 2004 Brent was a featured composer and guest performer at the Festival of New American Music with the ensemble SEM-G premiering his works Vestiges for 20 flutes and cellos, On the Essence of Light and Killer for laptop and live electronics. A champion of living and contemporary composers, Brent led the 2015 New Jersey premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s, Licht Bogen and has performed works by composers John Adams, Morton Feldman, Terry Riley, George Crumb, Pierre Boulez, Toru Takemitsu and Karlheinz Stockhausen among others. As a student, his performance of Piano Phase by Steve Reich was praised by the composer as “one of the best performances” he had heard. 

From 2008-2012 he served as Assistant Conductor with Astoria Symphony, making his New York debut stepping in for performances of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concert with Elizabeth Bacher and collaborating with Martha Graham 2 dance company. Additionally, he has conducted the Round Rock Symphony, Chelsea Opera, Pocket Opera NYC, Hofstra University Opera, Syracuse University Opera Orchestra, Montclair State University Opera and Orchestra and Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. In 2017, he made his debut with New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

Brent studied conducting with Paul Nadler (Metropolitan Opera) and Ken Lam (Charleston Symphony Orchestra) and holds degrees in composition, piano and conducting. He attended the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen, California State University Sacramento and the John J. Cali School of Music, and in 2007 was an alternate for the Doctoral Program in Composition at Princeton University. He has worked with many celebrated musicians in workshops, festivals and coachings, including conductors Riccardo Muti, Markand Thakar, Peter Bay, Johannes Schlaefli and Ken Kiesler, composers George Crumb, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros and Aaron J. Kernis, and opera coaches Benton Hess and Sherrill Milnes. A native of California, Brent spent 12 years immersed in intensive drum studies with Matt Marrucci, Mike Lawson and Johnny Rabb before studying composition, piano and percussion.

2018/2019 season. Kindly destroy all previous materials. May be reprinted in concert programs. Please contact to make changes.

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