Primary Instrument: Piano
Brent Runnels Executive and Artistic Director
Brent Runnels directs the Jazz Orchestra Atlanta big band. He has fashioned a broad and diverse musical career as a performer, arts administrator, educator and musical entrepreneur.
As a pianist Brent Runnels has won critical acclaim for his performances in the US, Europe, Australia and Russia as an orchestral and recital soloist, chamber musician, and jazz pianist. He is the top-award winner of the New Orleans International Piano Competition and the Jacksonville Classical Piano Competition. Mr. Runnels has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the Atlanta Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Kosice State Philharmonic, Ural Academic Philharmonic, Slovak Sinfonietta of Zilina, Florida Orchestra, Florida Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Mansfield Symphony, Brevard Symphony and the Gwinnett Philharmonic. He has given recitals in London, Prague, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney and Atlanta.
Chamber music and jazz performance are a significant part of his performance career. He performed for 13 years with The Inman Piano Trio, an ensemble with the late violinist Beth Newdome and cellist David Bjella. The Inman Piano Trio was known for performances of the masterpieces of the trio repertoire as well as unusual and rarely heard chamber works. Brent Runnels has performed extensively as a jazz pianist and has appeared with such jazz artists as Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, Gene Bertoncini, Lou Soloff, Laurie Holloway and Warren Covington. In 1993 and 1994 he toured central Europe with John Whitney as the Runnels/Whitney Jazz Piano Duo. He is currently director of music at Temple Sinai in Atlanta, where he directs the High Holy Day choir and performs services and concerts. He is also a member of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Brent Runnels maintains a strong commitment to arts education and support for the performing arts. From 1993-1999 he was founder and Artistic Director of the Orlando Jazz Festival. He has been a frequent guest at the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic and has given masterclasses for the European Piano Teacher's Association in Prague, Brno and as guest artist at the Urals Summer International Academy of Arts in Novouralsk, Russia. Mr. Runnels has taught on the music faculties of Rollins College, Concordia College, the Manhattan School of Music and Georgia State University. Brent Runnels is currently on the music faculty of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
Brent Runnels trained with Constance Keene and John Browning as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. There he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as well as the school's highest graduate honor, the Harold Bauer Award. A native of Rockville, Maryland, he is a member of the international roster of Steinway Artists.
DMA Manhattan School of Music Professor of Music, Oglethorpe University