Brendan Nguyen is a pianist who displays uncommon versatility as a performer, artist and thinker. His bold programming style, infusion of technology and extravagantly produced concert concepts aim to explore new musical territory while casting a contemporary eye on the established canon. Presently, he is in close collaboration with mezzo-soprano Leslie Leytham and video artist Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli on a televised, large-scale multi-media show called Vanity Run Amok. He will also begin a tour with soprano Bonnie Lander with the hour-long song HARAWI by Olivier Messiaen.
Brendan has performed at prestigious concert halls and concert series including the REDCAT Theater at the Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Zipper Hall, the Monday Evening Concert series, Merkin Hall and The Stone in New York. He is also a former member of the highly acclaimed Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Echoi, and Palimpsest ensembles, and has recorded with Carrier Records and Populist Records. Brendan’s most recent project The Seven Tragedies of Space Travel was conceived as a multi-space, multi-media, opera for solo pianist that mixes western performance tradition with technology, food, and aliens who speak Vietnamese.
He has worked closely and in workshops with composers such as George Crumb, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Lewis Nielson. Brendan’s enthusiasm for contemporary music has lead to a number of premieres and commissions, including works by Wojtek Blecharz, Aaron Helgeson, Nicholas Deyoe, Clint McCallum, Josiah Oberholtzer, and by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Roger Reynolds. He has also performed with ICE violinist David Bowlin, pianist Aleck Karis, and percussionist Steven Schick.
Brendan performed at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine as a recipient of a Performer’s Associate Fellowship. There, he was featured both as soloist and chamber musician on the Upbeat! Concert Series and the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music alongside esteemed faculty and guest artists. Brendan has also made appearances at the Shandelee International Music Festival in New York as two-time recipient of the C.J. Huang Foundation Scholarship and the Jim Ricketts Foundation Scholarship. In 2004, he was invited to perform again at Shandelee and honored as one of the most outstanding alumni since the festival’s foundation.
A graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio (BM, 2005) and UC San Diego (MM, 2010/DMA, 2015), Brendan has also studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands with Jan Wijn. His teachers also include Aleck Karis (UC San Diego), Alvin Chow (Oberlin Conservatory), Yong Hi Moon (Peabody Institute of Music), and the late Earl Wild. He has also studied in master classes with Yoheved Kaplinksy (Juilliard), Martin Canin (Juilliard), Julian Martin (Juilliard), and Craig Sheppard (U of WA). He currently teaches private piano to undergraduate majors and a keyboard skills class at UC San Diego.