Chamber Music – Ensemble

Chamber Music – Ensemble

| Duets  |  Trios  |  Quartets | Quintets |


The Dreams of Birds for alto flute and piano

dreams of birdsThe Dreams of Birds explores the world of what birds might dream.  Would they dream of running, of flying to the sun?  Would they dream of being human?  I wanted to explore the possibility of bird dreams while continuing to be evocative of a bird with bird-like songs in the alto flute.  The little turns and grace notes as well as the flutter tongue played by the alto flute offer the listener the voice of the bird.  The piano, both supportive and, at times, grand, helps give flight to these dreams of birds.  It was an honor to write this piece for Jenni Olson to premiere and record.

LISTEN to a live recording of the work – Jenni Olson, alto flute and Bryan Pezzone,piano



Take a look at the SCORE

Jenni’swork The Dreams of Birds for alto flute and piano is performed by Jenni Olson-alto flute and Bryan Pezzone – piano on Jenni Olson’s new CD “The Dreams of Birds” featuring the works of living composers!

Other composers featured on this new exciting CD of works for various flutes includes Alex Shapiro, Dave Volpe, Damian Montano, Bear McCreary, Joachim Horsley, Peter Jaffe, and Daniel Kelley.


 On Holt Avenue for oboe and piano

On Holt Avenue – for oboe and piano is a fun, light-hearted piece in four movements.  Written for the oboist Jennifer Mitchell, these pieces portray life ‘On Holt Avenue’ as told by the composer.

I. Morning Coffee – a little bit of coffee to get the day going

II. The Lemon Tree – a slow, thoughtful movement with just a touch of jazz as the oboe and piano portray a lemon tree on a rainy day in Southern California.  A short haiku sets the mood of the piece:      The lemon tree waits-
rain falls on outstretched branches-
How the lemons shine!

III. That Mockingbird… – a constant change of melody and rhythm depicts the mockingbird that sings each and everyday outside of the composer’s window.

IV. Daisies – Gerbera daisies are a favorite, and these colorful flowers are portrayed by the oboe and piano in a touching yet sophisticated melodic landscape.

 The Lemon Lily Waltz for oboe and piano


Lemon Lily BrandonThis 5 minute work tells the story of the Lemon Lilies that grow in the mountain region of Idyllwild, California.  Short yet picturesque, this work makes a great concert opener!

Take a look at the SCORE





Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds for B-flat clarinet and piano

King od Clouds BrandonThe inspiration for this piece comes from a wonderful book titled The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. In this book he describes all types of clouds, from the Stratus all the way up to the Cirrocumulus cloud. I particularly loved his chapter on the Cumulonimbus cloud and the description of the destruction and havoc that this cloud can make. I thought it would be exciting to write a work that represented this cloud and its fury.

The piece begins ominously as a storm approaches and then moves into crashing clusters and the fast fury that a storm like this can bring. The clarinet leaps like hail and lightning, and the piano boldly grows bigger as the storm rages. I try to tell the story of this cloud much in the way that the book describes the cloud, including that “…it can lead to untold loss of life and damage to property. It has also been known to frighten little children with its thunder.”

I had the pleasure to write this work for Marianne Breneman and Philip Amalong of Conundrum, a Cincinnati-based new music ensemble. They premiered the work in Los Angeles on November 12, 2011 at Occidental College during a Synchromy concert.

Take a look at the SCORE

LISTEN to a recording from the premiere with Mariane Breneman – clarinet and Philip Amalong-piano



The Wildflower Trio for oboe, bassoon, and piano

wildflower trioThis piece was commissioned in 2004 by the College of Fine Arts of the University of Texas at Austin as part of a celebration to honor the life and work of Lady Bird Johnson.  Not only was performed for Mrs. Johnson in May of 2005 at her Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, but has been performed around the world, including at the International Double Reed Society conference in Melbourne, Australia in 2004, the fourth International Colloquium of Bassoon in the Gabriel Fauré Conservatoire of Angoulême in April of 2005, and Brigham Young University to name a few.

Rebecca Henderson-oboe, Kristin Wolf Jensen-bassoon, and Kevin Puts-piano, are the performers on these excerpts of the piece from the New Music Ensemble concert at the University of Texas at Austin in October of 2004.

CLICK HERE to look at the SCORE

Found Objects: On the Beach for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon

Found Objects Reed Trio tells of finding objects on the beach – from tumbled stones to sea glass; from driftwood to black feathers on the sand and the seashells that populate the beach as far as the eye can see.

Premiered by the PEN Trio (Nora Lewis-oboe, Phillip Paglialonga-clarinet, and Eric Van der Veer Varner-bassoon), this work is published by TrevCo Music Publishing on the new PEN Trio Collection Series!

Listen to recordings below from the premiere with the PEN Trio.

Visit TrevCo Music Publishing to purchase score.

The Sequoia Trio for oboe (or flute), bassoon, and piano

Sequoia TrioI had returned from a trip to Sequoia National Park in July of 2008 and was inspired by the great trees. I knew that these would be the basis for the new work, and in searching for a voice of these great trees I turned to the words of John Muir for inspiration.

Each movement of The Sequoia Trio takes a quote about Sequoia trees from John Muir’s book The Yosemite and uses it to inspire the music. The opening waving pattern creates the gentle breeze as the growth of the tree starts in the bassoon, moving through the clarinet and is carried all the way to the top of the tree through the oboe.   Movement two is sassy and jazzy, describing the kind of resilient attitude that young trees must maintain in order to survive. “The Three Graces” plays on the idea of the three instruments in the ensemble and Muir’s own reference to Greek mythology. Finally in “The Noble Trees” the instruments play a hymn-like tribute to the largest living things on earth. The two “Tree Interludes” represent the individual voice of a tree and its story.

This piece was written during my composer residency with the Vientos Trio during 2008-2009.

I. Sequoiadendron giganteum: The Big Tree
“Southward the giants become more and more irrepressibly jubilant, heaving their massive crowns into the sky from every ridge and slope, waving onward in graceful compliance with the complicated topography of the region.”

Tree Interlude One

 Movement II. “A crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings…”
“But here for every old storm-beaten giant there are many in their prime and for each of these a crowd of hopeful young trees and saplings, growing vigorously on moraines, rocky ledges, along water courses and meadows.”

III. The Three Graces
“Groups of two or three (sequoias) are often found standing close together…They are called “loving couples,” “three graces,” etc… By the time they are full-grown their trunks will touch and crowd against each other…”

Tree Interlude Two

Movement IV. The Noble Trees
“…the Big Trees (sequoia gigantean), the king of all the conifers in the world, ‘the noblest of the noble race.’”

– Quotes taken from The Yosemite, 1912
by John Muir
Text is in the public domain.

 Spider Suite for oboe (or flute), clarinet, and bassoon

Spider Suite Brandon Spider Suite tells the story of the adventures of a spider and his daily activities. We are first introduced to the world of spiders through the fast and many-legged theme in “Along came a spider…,” full of skittering, racing, and lurking. In movement two a young spider takes flight – baby spiders will spin a balloon out of silk and fly away from their mother’s web to embark on their own journey, letting the wind take them wherever it might. Our spider lands gently and immediately begins to make his web in “Spinning Song.” Once the web is spun, it is time to wait for dinner to come along. Our spider dances “A Wicked Waltz,” laughing manically as he waits for the “Happy Bug (unsuspecting)” to get stuck in his web. As the bug flies and sings, he gets increasingly stuck in the web – listen as the timbral trills in the oboe become more and more frequent. In the final movement the spider reflects on his day (flying, spinning, and hunting…), tearing down his web, as spiders often do, to begin again the next day.

Spider Suite for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon was commissioned by the California Association of Professional Music Teachers and was premiered by the Vientos Trio at the state conference in February 2010 at the Pacific Palms Resort.

It is recorded by Ceora Winds on their debut CD Postcards.

Take a look at the SCORE

Movement I: Along came a spider…

Movement II: The Spider’s Flight (solo bassoon)

Movement III: Spinning Song

Movement IV: A Wicked Waltz: The Spider and the Happy Bug (unsuspecting)

Movement V. The end of the day…begin again


Sea Quartet for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and piano

Sea QuartetSea Quartet for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and piano was inspired by the beautiful ocean beside which we live as well as the many trips I have taken to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California…

This magical place brings to us the beauty of the sea, from the creatures that call it home to the delicate coral reefs and fragile ecosystems that depend on the balance of the sea for their survival.

This piece uses each of the instruments to tell the story of the sea in various sections, from the playful waves to a “watery waltz;” from the “gentle pulse of the wave,” to the clarinet’s “moonlight” solo.  The relative calmness of the sea finally begins to break as the waves move faster and faster, creating a “wild, frothy frenzy” at the end of the piece.  At this point the instruments joyfully crash over one another, and we are left with the feeling of the power and excitement of the sea.

Commissioned by the L.A. Musical Salon as part of my composer residency with the Vientos
Trio during 2008-2009 and written specifically for a premiere at the L.A. Musical Salon with Rose Chen on March 7, 2009, I believe that a quote from the poem The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gives a wonderful impression of what this piece is truly all about:

“Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
WATCH The Vientos Trio with Rose Chen perform Sea Quartet during the L.A. Musical Salon in March 2009!

Double Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon with Piano and Percussion (optional)

(This piece is also available with Wind Symphony)

This piece tells the story of our Galaxy, of the great unknown and what lies beyond, and where we belong within this vastness of space. The soloists and the ensemble paint a picture of this great mystery of the universe, taking us on a journey through the Spiral Galaxy, the Milky Way, and onto our own arm in the galaxy, the Orion Spur, where we dance the waltz of the Blue Planet. Being pulled toward the Supermassive Black hole, the djembe lends a rhythmic background of mystery to this journey. The bassoon, then joined by the solo oboe, begins to tell us a story of Dark Matter, “…an elementary particle that pervades the universe.” We then travel to the place where stars are born in “The Orion Nebula,” quoting Carl Sagen from his book Cosmos that, “we are made of star-stuff.” Finally, we begin to leave the orion nebula to continue our journey again through the spiral galaxy, exploring the vastness of space as thematic material returns to carry us on this ever-continuing journey of exploration.

It was an honor to write this work for Scott Pool and to have him premiere it with Rogene Russell on oboe and the University of Texas at Arlington Wind Symphony under the direction of Doug Stotter in February 2013. It is a thrill to have the European premiere of this work given by the Banda Simfònica Municipal de Madrid under the direction of Rafael Sanz–Espert with Víctor M. Ánchel, oboe and Enrique Abargues, bassoon.

 This work is in one movement

I. The Spiral Galaxy
II. Travelling through the Milky Way
III.  The Orion Spur: The Blue Planet Waltz
IV. Supermassive Black Hole: Falling into the abyss…
V. Dark Matter: “…an elementary particle that pervades the universe
VI. The Orion Nebula: “We are made of star-stuff.”
…Flying through the Spiral Galaxy


 Meditations for Piano Quartet

Meditations Jenni BrandonWhen I was commissioned to write Meditations for the Central4 Piano Quartet, I was asked to
write a piece that could be paired with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major. I
wanted to write something that could not only stand alongside of this work, but also be able to
stand on its own. I t was a bit of a daunting task – writing a piece to be paired with any Bach
work is like having a giant peering over your shoulder as you write. But I decided to take what I
love about Bach’s music – his perpetual motion and his well‐defined themes, and incorporate
these ideas into my own work.
Some of the memorable themes and motives from the Brandenburg 5 will be obvious, even
direct quotes; and at other times I deconstruct the original material, selecting and expanding
elements that were interesting to me compositionally. For example, the open 5th’s that
bookend the piece are plucked from Bach’s opening outline of a D major chord with the E on
top (D‐A‐E). The title of the piece and each movement reflects this idea of meditating on the
musical ideas that come from the Brandenburg.

Listen to a recording from the premiere of the work by the Central4 Piano quartet:

I. Contemplate

II. Interlude (Ruminate) III. Nocturne (Cogitate) IV. Ponder (Perpetual Motion)

V. Reflect
In Movement I (“Contemplate”) the music uses the outline of Bach’s opening measures to
introduce the fluid and spacious “meditation” theme. Also introduced is a triplet figure (listen
for it in the violin) that is found throughout the Brandenburg and permeates my work as well.
This slow opening eventually breaks into a joyful theme which ecstatically twists and turns
building on the familiar opening of Bach’s movement I. And the harpsichord solo in the Bach,
which is so virtuosic, makes an appearance in my work as homage to this solo, although in a
much milder manner.
Movements II (“Interlude: Ruminate”) and movement III (“Nocturne: Cogitate”) are linked in
theme with snippets of the theme from Bach’s affettuoso movement as well as the triplet
gesture. The viola solo of movement II leads directly into movement III where the other
instruments join, overlapping and continuing this variation.
Without pause, a dramatic shift starts Movement IV (“Ponder (Perpetual Motion)”). Admiring
the constant motion of Bach’s music, I wondered what it would be like if that motion fell apart. I
decided this movement would begin in the style of a tango and could represent this perpetual
motion, but this is not your ordinary tango. It begins dance‐like, but as it progresses, it goes a
bit wild, driving through to the end with energy and motion. Listen for the crashing in piano as
the movement comes undone!
Movement V (“Reflect”) loosely plays with ideas from Brandenburg movement three. I wanted
to take some time to let the dust settle, after the tango movement, and spend some time
allowing the music to be beautiful and flowing while wrapping up the themes from the
Brandenburg. In the final section you will hear a grand moment where the triplet gesture that
has been heard throughout the piece sweeps through the music, bringing the piece to a close as
the original meditation theme concludes the work.
It has been an honor to write this work to be premiered during the Long Beach Bach Festival by
the amazing Central4 Quartet.



Five Frogs for woodwind quintet – now published by Boosey & Hawkes!

Five Frogs CoverFive Frogs Windependence Chamber Ensemble, Master Level. By Jenni Brandon. Boosey and Hawkes Chamber Music. Size 9×12 inches. Published by Boosey & Hawkes. (48018979)
See more info…


Five Frogs is inspired by One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato, a little book that takes a look at one hundred different haikus, sonnets, prose poems, and even limericks based on Bashô’s haiku, “Old Pond/Frog jumps in/The sound of water”. Each of the instruments in the ensemble is so different and so exceptional in their sound and abilities that I realized each one could be one of the frogs from the book. The clarinet is perfect for “Leaping” because of its agility and grace, the way a frog can be still one minute and gone the next. “Catching Bugs” gave me the opportunity to use the piccolo and allow the ensemble to run ‘amuck’ after their bug dinner. Finally in “Epilogue” all the frogs sing together, each one bringing their own musical motive into this final movement.


The Woman with the Unfathomable Eyes
for Narrator (man), flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

Duration approximately 12 minutes

women unfathomable eyesWelcome to the gritty world of our Los Angeles detective in the 1940’s as he takes on the case of the woman with the unfathomable eyes.  Her sister’s been kidnapped, and her husband has stolen the ransom money and disappeared.  The detective sets out to find the husband and the money, blinded by the woman’s beauty and her lies. It’s only a matter of time before he finds out her true motives, but will it be too late?

Original text by Timothy Decker.  This noir-style text makes a good work for staging either in a concert setting or as a dramatic monologue with music in th theater.