Sy Brandon - Composer

A Catalog of My Music is available at:

From performances of his music on NPR's "Performance Today" to the use of his music on TV's "Animal Planet" and MTV's "Never Before Scene", Sy Brandon's compositions and arrangements are as varied as they are accessible. His versatile ease in composing effectively for young musicians as well as professionals and his ability to utilize jazz and folk music in addition to writing in more abstract styles, enables his music to meet the needs of a wide variety of performers. Conductor, Robert Hart Baker writes, "his music is well-crafted and has maintained his desired artistic content without sacrificing the realistic aspects of orchestration." Tom Everett, bass trombonist and Harvard University Band Director writes, "I admire Dr. Brandon's success with the lyrical qualities of the solo instrument without sacrificing rhythmic interest" and conductor, Larry Newland describes his music as "stirring, well written, and highly effective with its audience." His music has been performed live and via broadcast throughout the United States and abroad, including performances by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force Bands. Sy Brandon has received numerous awards including first prizes in the WITF-FM's 25th Anniversary Composition Contest, the El Dorado Sacred Music Composition Contest, Franklin and Marshall College's Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, the Quadre Composition Competition, and the New England String Ensemble Composition Competition. He has received numerous commissions for his music from organizations that include the Boise Philharmonic, York Symphony Orchestra, the Twentieth Moravian Music Festival, as well as numerous professional musicians and school music organizations.

In 2010, he was awarded a commission from the Arizona Commission on the Arts to compose the band composition celebrating the Arizona Centennial during 2011-12. In 2015, he was awarded the Thor Johnson Memorial Commission from the Delta Omicron Foundation to compose a piece for the 2018 convention. In both 2013 and 2014, he was either a semi-finalist or finalist for the American Prize in several composition categories. He has been a recipient of an ASCAP Special Award annually since 1998. His music has been recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on the Albany Records Label, the Philharmonia Bulgarica and the Kiev Philharmonic on the ERM Label, Emeritus Recordings, the Contemporary Record Society, and by the Swiss Duo Dilemme on the Arizona University Label. Tuba/Euphonium Press, Trombone Association Publishing, the Theodore Presser Co., and Co-Op Press publish his music. His books, �A Composer�s Guide to Understanding Music with Activities for Listeners, Interpreters, and Composers� and "Dr. B's Music Practice Guide" are published by Co-op Press. Sy Brandon (b. 1945 in New York, NY) holds the rank of professor emeritus of music from Millersville University, Millersville, PA where he taught low brass, composition, orchestration, music history, electronic music, and music industry for twenty-four years. He received his B.S. and M.S. in music education from Ithaca College and his A. mus. D. in composition from the University of Arizona. His composition teachers include Warren Benson, Elie Siegmeister, and Robert McBride.


Celebration Overture
This work was composed during August and September of 1995 in honor of WITF-FM's 25th Anniversary. It was selected as the winning composition in WITF-FM's Composition Competition from a field of over forty international entries and received its premiere by the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Richard Westerfield conducting on April 23, 1996. During March 1997, the overture was recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Paul Freeman for release as part of CD series entitled "Paul Freeman Introduces" on the Albany Label in 1998. This six minute overture alternates sections of fanfare-like figures with sections of playful rhythms and counterpoint. The overall form consists of two main sections that contrast each other and a middle section that serves as a development of previously stated material. The composition is an economical one as its material is derived primarily from the opening brass fanfare and the woodwind counter melody. The modal melodic and harmonic material is interwoven with polyrhythm, imitation, counterpoint, and timbre changes to create a composition reflective of the excitement of this celebration.