A composer equally accustomed to writing for orchestra, opera, film, theater, chorus, piano, and chamber ensembles, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom’s voice includes a strong affinity for long melodic lines, distinctive tonal harmonic vocabulary, engaging rhythms, skillfully executed counterpoint, and dramatic imagery.
Audiences take to his compositions immediately, finding in his music traces of Copland and Puccini, along with dramatic lines evocative of a film score.
Classically trained in piano as well as music theory from Gettysburg College, he continued orchestration and composition studies with John David Earnest (with BWG in photo).
Based on Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Toll, Grundstrom has written a new lyrical grand opera in two acts, with libretto by David M. Dorsen.
Soprano Indra Thomas, one of the foremost Aida's in the world today and a regular at the Metropolitan Opera and other top opera houses, premiered one of Maria's arias from Grundstrom's opera, accompanied by the Rome Symphony Orchestra in Georgia led by Maestro Jeffrey Dokken.
With Parma Recordings and Maestro Miran Vaupotić, the London Symphony Orchestra recorded the opera's overture.
Also with Parma Recordings and conducted by Maestro Erik Ochsner, Grundstrom's CD, An Orchestral Journey, was released in 2016 under the Navona Records label with distribution by Naxos.
Grundstrom's orchestral music has been performed by: Orquestra sinfônica do Teatro Nacional Claudio Santoro (Brasilia, Brazil), La Orquesta Sinfonica De Loja and La Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil (Ecuador), Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia, SONOS Chamber Orchestra, North/South Consonance, Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Trinity Chamber Orchestra, George Washington University Orchestra, NIH Philharmonia, Oconomowoc Chamber Orchestra, Holyoke Civic Symphony, and The Queer Urban Orchestra.
Other ensembles include Sunderman Woodwind Quintet, Chamber Music by Candelight by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians. Colla Voce and The New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus. His music has also been seen on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
Grundstrom won Outstanding Emerging Artist in the 2013 DC Mayor's Arts Awards and has received eight fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. His awards also include Encore from American Composers Forum, ASCAPLUS from ASCAP and Composers Assistance Program from the American Music Center. He has received four Peer Awards from Television, Internet, & Video Association of DC (TIVA-DC) including a Gold Peer Award for Children of Zeus – a 46-minute work for chorus and orchestra commissioned by Maestro Jeffrey Dokken and the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia, CoroAllegro and St Marie’s Choral Arts.
A member of ASCAP, Grundstrom attended the prestigious ASCAP/NYU Buddy Baker Film Music Workshop. His features include Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss, and 2 Minutes Later, in addition to writing music for many short films. His studio includes the latest in technologies, including Vienna Symphonic Library, and he is able to render his orchestral compositions at high professional standards.
Sonos Chamber Orchestra Director Erik Ochsner writes "Many audiences cringe at the thought of new music. We had such positive feedback from audiences on how much they enjoyed Grundstrom's work. It is modern, yet tonal."
Maestro Jeffrey Dokken writes about American Reflections for Strings and Harp: "The polyphony of the work is nothing short of genius. Truly. The relationship between the parts is so well written. Having your work on the program was wonderful. It truly embodies the best of American contemporary classical music. It is rhythmically enticing, harmonically satisfying and interesting, makes full use of what a string section can do, shows a broad spectrum of colors without forcing anything, provides several 'eye closingly beautiful moments', and keeps the audience engaged from beat one."
Edward Tyndall, Writer/Director of Sadie's Waltz (Mobius Films) writes: "It was a joy to work with Brian on my last two projects. His dedication to the collaborative nature of filmmaking and the creative process greatly increased the dramatic complexity of my films. Brian has an amazing talent for composing cinematic scores. I look forward to working with him on our next film."
Brian is currently writing an opera based on Ernest Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls.
Bindhu Pamarthi presents Composer Brian Wilbur Grundstrom with the Outstanding Emerging Artist Award at the Mayor's Arts Awards in Washington DC. (photo by EDI Photography)
Senior Piano Recital at Gettysburg College in 1985