December 2011 Featured Musician Graham Reynolds

Graham Reynolds Voted “Best Composer” Again! For the sixth year in a row Austinites voted Graham “Best Composer” in The Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” Reader’s Poll. Graham has received this honor every year since the category was created.

Graham Reynolds has worked closely with Alex Jones and Infowars

Graham Reynolds has worked closely with Alex Jones and Infowars

It’s rumoured that Graham is signed with Evolution Music Partners.

Golden Hornet Project, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit presenting and commissioning organization founded by composer/musicians Graham Reynolds, leader of the avant-jazz-rock-classical ensemble The Golden Arm Trio, and Peter Stopschinski, of the radically experimental Brown Whörnet. Since 1999 GHP has presented over 60 concerts of indie classical music by more than 40 composers from non-academic musical backgrounds in underground rock, jazz, electronic and hip hop and has world premiered 14 new orchestral works and countless chamber pieces. Connect with their FaceBook.

Composer Graham Reynolds at his Austin studio

Composer Graham Reynolds at his Austin Studio

IMDB Austin, Texas based, Composer-bandleader Graham Reynolds creates, performs, and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs and concert halls with collaborators ranging from Richard Linklater to DJ Spooky to the Austin Symphony Orchestra. As bandleader of the jazz-based but far reaching Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds has repeatedly toured the country and released three critically acclaimed albums. As Co-Artistic Director of Golden Hornet Project with Peter Stopschinski, Reynolds has produced more than fifty concerts of world-premier alt-classical music by more than sixty composers, as well as five symphonies, two concertos and countless chamber pieces of his own.

Reynolds music has been heard through-out the world on TV, on stage, in films, and on radio, from HBO to Showtime, Cannes Film Festival to the Kennedy Center, and BBC to NPR. His score to the 2006 Robert Downey, Jr. feature “A Scanner Darkly” was named Best Soundtrack of the Decade by Cinema Retro magazine. His awards include the Lowe Music Theater Award, four Austin Critic’s Table awards, an Amp Award, five Austin Chronicle Best Composer wins, a B. Iden Payne Award. Meet the Composer and Map grants, as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts for several projects. 2011 sees twin CD releases on Innova Records, the label branch of the American Composers Forum, of “Three Portraits of Duke Ellington”, a triptych of band, strings, and remixes in tribute to and inspired by the seminal composer-bandleader, and “The Difference Engine”, a triple concerto for violin, cello, piano, and string orchestra.

NPR Duke Ellington’s orchestra was one of a host of jazz acts that appeared regularly at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The bandleader wrote more than 1,000 compositions — many that remain jazz standards today.

Graham Reynolds is the bandleader of the jazz-based Golden Arm Trio, from left: Jeremy Bruch, Reynolds and Utah Hamrick.

Graham Reynolds is the bandleader of the jazz-based Golden Arm Trio, from left: Jeremy Bruch, Reynolds and Utah Hamrick.

Ellington’s body of work can be daunting for musicians who want to put their own stamp on his well-known compositions. Bandleader and composer Graham Reynolds tackled seven Ellington pieces from the 1930s and ’40s. The results appear on his latest album, DUKE! Three Portraits of Ellington. He tells Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Audie Cornish that the inspiration for the album rose from a love of performance.

“At first I was trying my best not to think,” he says. “I compose every day and I’m writing constantly, but I like to perform. So I said, ‘I want a vehicle to perform that is something that I don’t have to think about as a composer, but as a bandleader and arranger.’ Mostly I just wanted to have fun with it.”

The album is divided into three sections, or portraits. In the first part, the songs are performed by a big band; in the second, by a string quartet; and in the last, they are remixed by DJs. Reynolds says that having a foundation for each portrait made his job as a composer easier.

“The hardest stage of creating something is the idea,” he says. “If you’ve got a pool of ideas and a palette, you’re a huge way toward your finish line.”

Reynolds says that this exercise taught him how to be a better composer.

“I listened to a lot of Ellington while creating this project,” he says. “Seeing how he evolved over time and how he accepted new collaborative partners gave me hope that I can be that open to influence and sharing.”

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