Brendan Blendell (b. 1992) is a composer, musician, and independent music theorist based out of New York's Capital District and Western Massachusetts. He has an A.B. in Music
from Vassar College, where he studied composition with Richard Wilson and Susan Botti and
guitar with Mike DeMicco and Chris Connors; he has also earned a Specialist Certificate in Blues, Rock, and Jazz Guitar from Berklee College of Music’s extension school.
In 2014, Brendan took part in the Atlantic Music Festival’s composition program, where he was able to study with George Tsontakis, Nils Vigeland, Eric Ewazen, Robert Cuckson, David Ludwig, Robert Paterson, Ken Ueno, Michael Harrison, Vera Ivanova, Stephen Cabell, and Sheridan Seyfried. He has also had the opportunity to study with acclaimed eight-string guitarist Tosin Abasi.
Brendan’s compositions draw influence from a wide range of styles, including modern and contemporary classical music, jazz, and progressive rock; some of his favorite composers include Ravel, Carl Ruggles, and Ben Monder. His music has been commended for its “fresh, imaginative musical language, engaging overall musical design, and keen sensibility for the idiomatic use of instruments” by the Vassar music faculty. Brendan has also written and recorded music for a number of independent projects, including short films and children’s puppet shows.
Brendan has extensive performing experience on jazz trombone, guitar, and bass guitar with the Vassar College Jazz Ensemble and Combos as well as in pit orchestras, including Rent, Legally Blonde, and Cabaret. In addition to his formal instruction in jazz, Brendan has a background in many other idioms, including classical (trombone and piano), rock, folk (guitar, banjo, and mandolin), R&B, funk, and reggae. He is currently a guitar and bass instructor at Blue Sky Music Studios in Delmar, New York.
Since 2011, Brendan has been a member of both the Society for Music Theory and the Music Theory Society of New York State; his academic interests include popular music, music cognition, and the relationship between music and language. He was previously a contributor to Subdivider, where his articles focused on making music theory accessible to a wide audience of music lovers. Brendan’s senior thesis at Vassar, "Harmony and Syntax in Contemporary Pop Music," explored the applicability of linguistic syntax to popular music from 2009 through 2013 and articulated a functional model to describe the varying forms of harmonic structures, taking into consideration the idiosyncrasies that exist in pop music analysis. Brendan plans to pursue graduate studies in music theory, composition, and ethnomusicology in the future.