Brent Chancellor is an American conductor and composer currently serving as a Conducting Assistant with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor with the Montclair State University Orchestra and Opera, and is the founder and creative visionary behind LUX, an initiative to engage new audiences with symphonic music. 2016-2017 highlights include serving as Assistant Conductor for Stéphane Denève, Martin West and Joel Revzen at the Festival Napa Valley, Assistant Conductor at the International Vocal Arts Institute and Cover Conductor for concerts with Leon Fleisher, Joyce Yang and Micah McLaurin.
Brent began conducting in 2008 by special invitation to the International Vocal Arts Institute where he collaborated with some of opera’s most accomplished musicians and emerging artists now singing at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He served as Assistant Conductor to Paul Nadler for productions of Ariadne auf Naxos, La Traviata, The Rake’s Progress, Don 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 from 2008-2012. Other opera credits include musical preparation for Madame Butterfly, Don Giovanni, La Boheme, Die Zauberflöte, Lamico Fritz, Cendrillon and the premiere of Penelope, his electronic arrangement of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at New York’s Fashion Week. From 2008-2012 he served as Assistant Conductor of Astoria Symphony, making his New York debut stepping in last minute for performances of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concert with Elizabeth Bacher. Other notable concerts with Astoria Symphony include collaboration with Martha Graham dance company for performances of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring with the original choreography. He has conducted with Chelsea Opera, Pocket Opera NYC, Hofstra University Opera, Round Rock Symphony, Syracuse University Opera Orchestra, Montclair State University Opera and Orchestra and Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in workshop. In 2017 he also made his debut with New Jersey Festival Orchestra.
As a composer and advocate for new music and performance practice, Brent is actively engaged in pushing the boundaries of tradition. His compositions include music for chamber ensembles, choir, orchestra, sound-installation, improvisation, computer music and film, and span a diverse array of styles ranging from pop-art to experimental noise. His music has been performed at the Festival of New American Music (FENAM), Festival of the Arts, Center for Contemporary Art, NY Fashion Week. 2016 highlights included the FENAM premiere of Crane Songs performed by contemporary flutist and TEDx presenter Cathie Apple, debut performances by LUX and special recognition for his role in helping to found the women’s choir Vox Musica. In 2015 he performed the New Jersey premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Licht Bogen and led orchestral readings of student composer works. 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 and included the premieres of his works Vestiges for flutes and cellos, On the Essence of Light and Killer for laptop and live electronics. He has performed works by John Adams, Morton Feldman, Terry Riley, George Crumb, Toru Takemitsu and Karlheinz Stockhausen among others. As a student, he performed Steve Reich’s Piano Phase for the composer who praised it as “one of the best performances” he had heard.
A native of California, Brent spent 12 years immersed in intensive drum studies before studying composition, piano and percussion at California State University Sacramento and the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen, graduating cum laude. His principal conducting teachers include Paul Nadler (Metropolitan Opera) and Ken Lam (Charleston Symphony Orchestra) and composition with Steve Blumberg. He has attended workshops and coaching’s with many of the world’s most recognized musicians including conductors Riccardo Muti, Markand Thakar, Peter Bay and Ken Kiesler, composers George Crumb, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros and Aaron J. Kernis, and vocal pedagogues Joan Dornemann, Benton Hess and Sherrill Milnes.