Born: August 23, 1968 Primary Instrument: Clarinet
Todd Brunel is an innovative, critically acclaimed clarinetist and saxophonist, who performs extensively as a crossover classical and jazz musician. In the world premiere event 'From Requiem to Renewal' at Boston College, Eileen Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe hailed: Clarinetist Todd Brunel and pianist Synthia Sture played with tremendous virtuosity and heart. He has premiered works by numerous composers including: George ‘Skip’ Brunner, Matthew D. Harder, Rick Sowash, Ara Sarkissian, Jose Louis Hurtado, Johnny Reinhard, Vuk Kulenovic, Etienne Rolin, Pamela Watson, and Vache Sharafyan. “The perfect control over the instruments allowed the soloists the subtle at times almost jocular transition through different styles and genres.” Musical Horizons Magazine.
As a jazz/improvisational performer and composer, he produces The Vortex Series for New and Improvised Music, a 2010-11 grant recipient from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Cambridge Arts Council and the Somerville Arts Council. The Vortex Series has also been chosen as the jazz pick of the week in the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Globe. Among his hundreds of performances at clubs and social establishments, Brunel and his groups have played at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Boston Jazz Festival, The Bowery Poetry club, The National Black Arts Festival, Mobius, The International Woodwind Festival, Preservation Jazz Hall, Ryles, CBGB’s Gallery, The Boston Music Festival and the American Microtonal Festival under the direction of Johnny Reinhard.
As a classical freelance musician, Mr. Brunel's busy performance schedule includes ALEA III, the Boston Chamber Ensemble, the Lexington Symphony, the Bulgarian Virtuosi, the Waltham Symphony, the Claflin Hill Symphony and the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative. Brunel has made guest appearances at: Carnegie Hall, the SEAMUS Festival, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the Boston Conservatory, The Longy School of Music, The Academy of Music Dance and Art in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and The Winter Sun Music Festival with legendary pianist, Daltin Baldwin. He has recorded for the PBS documentary, Paul Robeson, Here I Stand and for several independant films.
He is a founding member of the Circadian Rhythm Kings (2008 Innova Recordings), Musaner, Benny and Beyond with pianist Joe Reid, the Palimpest Ensemble, Sonic Sandbox, Neon Juju, the Lilli Lewis Project, and the Vortex Other Dimension Ensemble. His work with conductor and composer Lawrence ‘Butch’ Morris includes Conductions recorded in NYC and performances in Boston, with the New England Skyscraper.
He is a member of the Meltdown Incentive, and collaborates frequently with Garrisons Fewell's Variable Density Ensemble, the Jeff Robinson Trio, singer songwriter Andy Pratt and is often a featured artist at Rob Chalfen's Subconscious Café Series. He has premiered his own compositions at the Stein Chamber Music Festival, the 2010 MLK Celebration for the Town of Lexington, MA, the Longy School of Music, Boston University and the Electric Rainbow Coalition Festival at Dartmouth College. His website: www.clarinetconspiracy.com is dedicated to an innovative approach to clarinet playing in the 21st Century.
Mr. Brunel received an MM from the Brooklyn College Conservatory, where he was a teaching assistant to Paul Shelden. He holds a BM from the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he studied clarinet with Atilio Poto. Other clarinet teachers have included Pasquale Cardillo, Thomas Martin and Jonathan Cohler. He has pursued additional graduate study at the Longy School of Music as a scholarship recipient, the University of North Texas and Boston University. He was a scholarship participant at the Aspen Music Festival and has studied composition with Sam Headrick and jazz improvisation with Bob Mover and Peter Cassino.
Awards:2010-2011 Grant recipient Massachusetts Cultural Council
If you frequent the tiny avant-improv bunker Outpost 186, then you're familiar with clarinettist Todd Brunel's Vortex Series, which features some of the city's finest jazz musicians and free-improvisers of all stripes. -The Boston Phoenix, Bos Picks
The performances were all high quality..... Mr. Brunel, mostly on bass clarinet treated, to quote Judith Weir, as “a hysterical treble instrument with a surprise bass extension,” exhibited sure command of all his extended and unextended techniques.... Read the full review here -Vance R. Koven, the Boston Music Intelligencer
The Circadian Rhythm Kings With a name that mashes up the biological day/night clock with a prototypical jazz ensemble moniker, and a roster that includes some of the most adventurous musicians around, the Kings marry free jazz with swinging and funky beats. -Kevin Lowenthal, The Boston Globe
Kalvos and Damian IN THE HOUSE! Show #555: August 15, 2009: Click Here
Clarinetist Todd Brunel and pianist Synthia Sture played with tremendous virtuosity and heart. -Eileen Pfeiffer, the Boston Globe
The perfect control over the instruments allowed the soloists the subtle, at times almost jocular transition through the different styles and genres � waltz, jazz, Bulgarian folk rhythms!… The emotional and capturing performance aroused the spontaneous applause of the audience and the consequent encore � a brief improvisation by Todd Brunel based on the Bulgarian folk song Recumbent Todora � Polina Kuyumdzhieva, Music Critic, Musical Horizons Magazine
Sweeping solos blown in a diverse stream of study nothingness.........played by true cats, heavy pros. � The Gods of Music .com
Todd Brunel's Vortex series presented Katt Hernandez and himself with highly regarded blues oriented pianist David Maxwell sitting in with the duo. The music was all over the place, succeeding and failing intermittently with all of its diversity. The highlight of the set.....was the Brunel Hernandez encore in which everything came together beautifully. � Stu Vandermark, Cadence Magazine
In Freedom by Design, Butch Morris's Conduction leaves little to chance. The success of the conductions depends on Morris's ability to find compatible musicians.... In Boston, he'll have local clarinettist Todd Brunel, with whom he's worked before, as well as a couple of musicians from New York, including accordionist Andrea Parkins.... � John Garelick, Boston Phoenix
The Hurtado was nimbly traversed by.........clarinetist Todd Brunel � David Cleary, the New Music Connoisseur
E. Boston, MA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
I'm a dedicated and patient teacher with over 25 years of experience, teaching a variety of styles from classical to jazz, world music and contemporary improvisation. Lessons are open to students at all levels from beginner to advanced. Many of my advanced students consistently place at the top of competitive District and All State auditions. Beginning students will learn to assemble and play their instrument in the first lesson and work with my carefully guided and patient system. College and advanced students will gain conservatory training focusing on tone production in all registers, dynamic control, articulation and interpretation that will help you to find your 'voice'. 2000-present Powers Music School, Belmont MA
If you are a private university professor, or band director, my clinics give your students resources to help foster their artistic growth and gain an understanding of the composer's concept using exercises that go beyond simple repetition. To optimize their performances, we examine the scales, arpeggios and extensions within a phrase to build confidence and strengthen technique. Once the conerstone of a solid technique is built, we develop a musical character that can be taken to any stage. Students need to feel that their work and commitment to music is valued and musical growth takes time and patience. My improv workshops help the non improvisor and the improvisor get away from the written page, starting in a group environment, guided completely by the idea that listening is a creative act. No one person stand-outs, just guided acts of musical dialogue. The results are astonishing!