Gerald Brennan

Biography by

Composer Gerald Brennan was born on September 2, 1953, in Jessup, PA. At age two he moved to Dearborn, MI, where he lived with his family until his late teens. The eldest of six children, he went to Catholic…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Composer Gerald Brennan was born on September 2, 1953, in Jessup, PA. At age two he moved to Dearborn, MI, where he lived with his family until his late teens. The eldest of six children, he went to Catholic school, graduating in 1971. Believing that he could not be taught as a composer, he chose not to attend college. In 1978 Brennan married Patricia McInerney, with whom he went to high school.

Brennan is primarily a composer and pianist, but he has also worked as a radio producer, author, and journalist. His first radio job was with Michigan Radio and the National Public Radio affiliates WUOM, WVGR, and WFUM, based at the University of Michigan. He produced hundreds of weekly programs in his decade there -- including The Musical Theatre, New Music, New Releases, From the Monophonic Era, Music of Our World, Excursions, and Nocturne.

In 1980 Brennan organized the Ann Arbor-based Sinewave Studios for the development and propagation of new art music. During that time, Sinewave Studios and its offshoot Twice Festivals were leading force in new music. Brennan produced about 20 concerts and conducted the highly successful North American premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Für kommende Zeiten at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Brennan's career as a writer started in 1984 when he wrote and self-published a booklet on starting a classical record collection. That booklet was eventually expanded and published as Classical Records, Starting Your Collection (and Books, South Bend, 1984). Soon afterward, Brennan also began reviewing concerts for The Ann Arbor News.

In 1998, Brennan was recruited to direct the classical music department of the All Media Guide -- a post he held until 2004. During his tenure at AMG, he oversaw the creation, standardization, and growth of the world's largest repository classical music data and produced the AMG Guide to Classical Music, which was published in 2005.

After leaving AMG, Brennan rededicated himself to composition and to concert promotion. His works include roughly 50 songs, a full-length Broadway-style musical called Penelope, and a large orchestral work called Sinfonia Matrix, which, by design, can never be performed in its entirety. Therefore, performance versions are extracted depending upon available forces, duration required, and occasion.