Australian born Aaron Brown is a performer and composer with a focus on historical instruments and repertoires, improvisation, and genre-bending new music based on historical sources. Aaron has worked extensively as a performer with many prominent artists and ensembles in Australia, the United States and Europe, including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (where he is a current ensemble member), Farinelli and the King (Broadway production), New Vintage Baroque (contemporary music on period instruments), Oracle Hysterical (composers/performers collective), L’Arpeggiata, Francesco Tristano, Kinan Azmeh, Mark Morris Dance Group, Early Music New York, The Clarion Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, New Bach Players, New Juilliard Ensemble (premiering a work by Steve Reich), and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Le Poisson Rouge, National Sawdust, Rockwood Music Hall, BOZAR Brussels, Grand Teatre Luxembourg, the Arsenal in Metz, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia universities, City Recital Hall (Sydney) and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Recording credits include two solo albums, and numerous other releases on the ABC Classics, Hyperion, Naxos, CD Accord, and Lyrichord labels. Aaron is a member of ASCAP, and recordings of his compositions and arrangements have been played on Radio National and ABC Classic. In 2019 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to conduct research in Europe in medieval and early modern performance practices and approaches to improvisation. Aaron is currently undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Queensland, where he is a confirmed PhD candidate in music composition.
Violinist and early music specialist Aaron Brown began his musical studies in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia. At 16, he was a Recitalist in the National Youth Concerto Competition, and in early 1998 he began working as a violinist with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Later that year he won the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Performing Arts Fellowship and the Anglican Church Grammar School’s Overseas Study scholarship for study at the Juilliard School in New York, in the studio of Dorothy DeLay. In 2001, he co-founded the New Bach Players with fellow Juilliard student and pianist Francesco Schlime (AKA Francesco Tristano), appearing as concertmaster and soloist with the group for performances in New York and two European tours, and recording J.S. Bach’s complete keyboard concertos for the CD Accord label. Soon after he began studies in baroque violin at Mannes College of Music and later at Hunter College, earning an M.A. in baroque violin performance, and quickly became an active member of the early music community in New York and elsewhere in the United States, performing with the Clarion Music Society, Opera Lafayette, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, Four Nations Ensemble, the Mark Morris Dance Group, The New York Collegium, The American Classical Orchestra, ARTEK, Early Music New York, and Sinfonia New York among others.
In 2008 Aaron released his first solo CD, Aaron Brown: Baroque Violin, and in early 2009 co-founded Guido’s Ear, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of music from medieval to early baroque. Later that year he returned to Australia to begin work with Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and has been involved in many of their productions since, including performing as a featured soloist in the orchestra’s 17th century Tapas program, which won the 2010 ARIA award for best classical CD. In 2010 the orchestra generously awarded Aaron a mentorship and professional development grant to work with acclaimed Canadian violinist Marc Destrube and the Orchestra of the 18th Century in Amsterdam, and in 2011 he was awarded a grant from the Australia Council to work with Chicago-based early music specialist David Douglass and the Newberry Consort.
Aaron also performs medieval repertoire on early string instruments, including the rebec and vielle, and has given master classes and lectures on early music topics at venues including the City University of New York, Vanderbilt University, and Brisbane International Youth Music Festival. He has also been an active performer in the new music and non-classical scene, appearing with a diverse range of artists including Oracle Hysterical, Raimundo Penaforte, Kyle Sanna, electronic music artist Francesco Tristano, cabaret performer Annie Lee, singer-songwriter Buddy Mondlock, and his musician father Wayne Roland Brown.
Aaron has appeared at many of the world’s major venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, BOZAR Brussels, Grand Teatre Luxembourg, the Arsenal in Metz, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia universities, Sydney Opera house, Sydney Recital Hall, Melbourne Recital Center, Adelaide Town Hall and the Queensland Performing Arts Center, and has recorded for Naxos, Lyrichord, ABC Classics and CD Accord. In 2018 Aaron appeared in the Broadway production of “Farinelli and the King”, staring Tony and Oscar winner Mark Rylance, and in 2019 was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to continue his research in baroque and medieval performance practice. His second solo CD, Early Modern, features original compositions alongside historically informed performances of early 17th century Italian repertoire.
Photo Credits: Anne Zahalka, Jim McGuire, James Kennerley