Pianist Brian Connelly’s performances span an exceptionally broad range of historical and modern repertoires. Born in Detroit, he attended the University of Michigan, where he studied with famed Bartok protégé Gyorgy Sandor, and with American virtuoso Theodore Lettvin. His former students are active soloists, chamber musicians, and scholars. Several hold piano positions with major orchestras.
Connelly has premiered works by a host of contemporary composers such as William Albright, Karim Al-Zand, Derek Bermel, William Bolcom, Curtis Curtis-Smith, Gabriella Frank, Pierre Jalbert, and many others. Widely respected as a chamber musician, he appears as guest artist with chamber groups across the U.S. He directs the renowned ensemble Context, now in its twenty-third season. He was founding pianist with Da Camera of Houston, performing over 150 works for that group in its path-breaking first six seasons.
Known for his affinity for the works of Olivier Messiaen, Connelly’s recent performances have included Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus and Catalogue d’Oiseaux for solo piano, the complete songs cycles with sopranos Carmen Pelton and Lucy Shelton, all of the chamber music, the Oiseaux exotiques with chamber orchestra, and the Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine with conductor Donald Runnicles at the Grand Teton Music Festival.
Mr. Connelly is also praised as a performer of historical instruments, appearing in the U.S. and Europe on 18th- and 19th-century pianos by Walther, Rosenberger, Graf, Pleyel, Bösendorfer, and Streicher, among others. He has partnered with many of Europe’s finest early-music players, including cellist Roel Dieltiens, flutist Ildiko Kertesz, pianist Riko Fukuda, bass Michael Schopper, and clarinetist Lorenzo Coppola.
He appears frequently with many of today’s most respected instrumentalists, such as violinists Sergiu Luca, Axel Strauss, and Stephanie Chase, cellists Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Michael Kannen, and Lynn Harrell, flutist Carol Wincenc, clarinetist Richie Hawley, and pianists Jeremy Denk, Jason Hardink, and Robert Levin.
Mr. Connelly teaches piano performance and chamber music for the BM, MM, AD, and DMA programs.