Brooks takes his inspiration from a wide range of influences and synthesizes these into a sound that is totally unique:
Jeffrey Brooks is an American composer living in Minneapolis. He began composing at an early age, eventually going on to study ay Tanglewood and Yale University, where he earned masters and doctorate degrees. His primary teachers include Louis Andriessen, Gilbert Amy and Martin Bresnick.
Brooks composed the popular work, Dreadnought, for wind ensemble, which has been performed by hundreds of bands throughout the world. Brooks considers it a privilege to write for band where he can have a direct connection with the thousands of players, mostly high school and college students, who perform his music. Since composing Dreadnought in 1996, he has composed several large-scale works for wind ensemble, including Providence, a double concerto for trumpet and trombone, and the John Henry Symphony, which was featured in a one-hour special on Tennessee Public Television in 2012.
Besides his works for band, Brooks has a considerable body of work composed for mixed chamber ensembles. He has been commissioned by Bang on a Can All Stars, Alarm Will Sound, and The Michael Gordon Philharmonic (New York), Zeitgeist, Rose Ensemble and the Bakkan Trio (Minneapolis), California Ear Unit (Los Angeles), Present Music (Milwaukee), Relache (Philadelphia), Pianoduo and Icebreaker Ensemble (Amsterdam), and 5th Species (Toronto). In 2013, Zeitgeist presented a retrospective of works covering his last twenty years of work.
Brooks was the Artistic Director of the American Composers Forum from 1990 to 1995. He was the creator and Artistic Director of The Composers Voice, a radio program that aired on National Public Radio from 1992 to 1996. The program received the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Silver Award in 1995 and ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award in 1995.
Brooks is associated with the post-minimalist composers of Bang on a Can. He was closely involved in shaping the aesthetic profile of the early festivals in the 1980s. His music fits the Bang on a Can image in terms of rhythmic drive, single-minded approach to form, and use of amplified instruments. But his work is also characterized by attention to counterpoint and an almost neoclassical sensibility.
Brooks waiting for a bird to land on his finger