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Getting to Know Brianne Chasanoff - Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist

Brianne Chasanoff, from New Fairfield, Conn., has been trained as a classical vocalist and pianist and has earned her stripes accompanying other musicians and singers in a variety of different musical milieus. She’s played in orchestras for plays, chorus ensembles, church services of all kinds and covered the range from Broadway to classical to pop. Many of the people whom she has performed before have no idea that there’s a secret side of Brianne—a side that is much more personal and connected to the music she plays….because that music is her own.

Brianne Chasanoff is one of 24 emerging artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes). The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.

In reading your bio, it sounds as though music has been an integral part of your life since you were very young. Do you recall how the power of music made you feel when you listened to it? How did it change once you began to play music?

Music has always been an extremely powerful tool for me when I listened to it. It could transform my mood instantly. I remember playing music for as long as I can remember, but when I started performing and composing (playing piano and singing) it became even more powerful for me, because I could express myself through the music.

You have degrees in classical voice and piano as well as studio composition. Do you still participate in shows or recordings that are more classical in nature?

Yes, I am a piano accompanist as well as a performer and music teacher. I accompany vocalists who perform various styles of music, including classical music. I also composed a classical instrumental piece that can be heard on my most recent album, Breathe. If you listen closely to my music, I’m sure you can also hear its classical influence.

Is it true that Sarah McLachlan’s music helped to change your mind about popular music? What was it about her songs that move you so much?

At the time I was attending high school, all I knew of popular music was what was being played on the radio. I wasn’t a big fan of it because I felt that it lacked a natural emotional quality. When a friend gave me a tape of Sarah Mclachlan’s Touch  and Fumbling Towards Ecstacy, I could hear the emotional depth in her voice. Her compositions and arrangements were also different from anything I’d ever heard on the radio and I immediately felt connected to her music.

Have you gone on to be inspired by other singer-songwriters?

Most definitely! Patty Griffin is a big one. Her poetic lyrics are inspiring, as well as her compositions and the way she expresses herself vocally.  I’m also inspired by Damien Rice, Ingrid Michaelson, the Beatles, and Joni Mitchell, among many others.

How do you get yourself into a frame of mind to create music?  Do you set time aside or do you wait for the muse to come and visit?

It has to happen naturally, when it’s ready to come out. It’s usually inspired by something happening in my life, or someone else’s life.  Sometimes I write songs and I have no idea what they mean. The meaning of these songs often reveal themselves in the future as premonitions. If I want to get myself into a frame of mind to create music, listening to artists that inspire me may spark a few words or put me in the mood to write.

You’ve recorded two albums, Breathe (2013) and Broken (2007). How would you describe both of them?  Did the time between the two projects help you envision new possibilities in the studio or are they pretty much compatible soundmates?

I’ve never stopped growing as a musician and being inspired by all genres of music. I believe there is a definitive difference between the two albums.  Breathe (2013) has a jazz and Dixieland influence among some of the tunes, with brass arrangements, while Broken (2007) has a mellow/sad tone throughout the album and its style is mostly ballad/pop. Both albums are similar in nature because they both contain songs that tell stories that the listener can identify with.

Have you ever attended Falcon Ridge Folk Festival before? If so, what did you think?  If not, what are your expectations?

I have never attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival before and I am very excited to have the opportunity to attend and perform! I look forward to meeting other musicians who share the same passion that I do. I walk through life having no expectations. Having no expectations makes life experiences much more exciting, but I know it will be an amazing experience that I will always remember.

To learn more about Brianne, visit her website.

"WestConn grad back to celebrate release of second CD, "Breathe"

Singer-songwriter Brianne Chasanoff, is coming home to roost. On Friday, Oct.25, the graduate of Western Connecticut State University's music department will return to her alma mater to celebrate the release of her new album, "Breathe."

The Cd release party will take place at 7:30pm in the ballroom of the Westside Campus Center on the university's westside campus. Admission is free. "Breathe" is her second CD, and will be available for $15.

Chasanoff graduated Western Connecticut in 2003 with a bachelor's in music education, with a concentration in voice and piano. Though her focus in school was classical music and she's now gone the folk pop route, you can still hear classical influences in her songs. Her piano parts are memorably moving and her voice soars with the beauty and precision of a classically trained singer. Yet her music is a far cry from chamber music. She sings melodic folk rock reminiscent of celebrated singers such as Sarah Mclachlan. Chasanoff's original lyrics are thoughtful and arresting. While at Western, Chasanoff performed on trumpet in the jazz and brass ensembles in addition to her voice and piano studies. She also took conducting and arranging classes, which sparked her interest in arranging. She's able to expertly channel all these various influences into music that's skillful, entertaining and powerful. She's a young local musician whose live show is not to be missed.

The ballroom of the Westside Campus Center on Western Connecticut's westside campus is at 43 Lake Ave. EXT., Danbury.

WCSU alumna in free concert Friday

Danbury- New Fairfield singer/songwriter Brianne Chasanoff will preview songs from her second CD, "Breathe", at a concert Friday before the CD is available on iTunes and cdbaby.com. Chasanoff's performance will be at her alma mater, Western Connecticut State University, starting at 7:30 pm in the ballroom of the Westside Campus Center, off Lake Avenue Extension. It is free and open to the public. While at WCSU, Chasanoff played trumpet in the jazz enemble and the brass ensemble, in addition to studying voice and piano. She also took conducting and arranging classes. After graduating in 2003, she attended a songwriting workshop at Berklee School of Music in Boston and she went on to complete her master's degree in studio composition at SUNY Purchase. Her voice has been described as both "sultry" and "angelic". Her first CD, "Broken", was released in 2007. She was a semi-finalist in the National Pantene Pro Voice Singer/Songwriter contest for two consecutive years for her songs "Does it Still Sound the Same" and "Blinded." Chasanoff now teaches music at Pawling Elementary School in Pawling, N.Y.

"It's a Brave New World at Groovin' in New Fairfield's Coffee House This Saturday, April 28, 7:30 PM"

 

"I got to hear Brianne Chasanoff at an open mic fave of mine over in New Milford. The 59 Bank Street barroom hosts the show, and depending on the night, can have it's distracting background chatter. The instant she sang her first phrase the room went silent as she captured the attention of eveyone in the room. Having studied piano and voice, and graduating with her Masters in Music Composition, she blends the two instruments seamlessly, emoting of what she has seen and experienced in love and human resiliency."

"Where Music takes her: Brianne Chasanoff's Dual Career"

"How long have I been singing? Well..."

Brianne Chasanoff '03, just off the stage after doing a set at a local coffeehouse, settles into a brief but thoughtful silence. She has to reach back to her childhood for an answer to the question. "Pretty much as long as I can remember, I guess". She laughs softly. In spite of her quietness, there is a melodic resonance in Chasanoff's voice. It's especially present in the songs she writes and offers her audiences in live performances or on her CDs. She seems to have a natural ease with the deeper subjects in life. Lyrics from her haunting song, "Here Forever," written for her late grandmother whom she adored, speak about love and loss with a power both delicate and fierce:

"Swing set's too small, suddenly I can't fly as high...

And I lose you one more time as the picture slowly dies..."

Music has always been Chasanoff's cheif passion in life, she says, and clearly performance and teaching are her preferred methods for pursuing it. Her delight in opening the world of music to youngsters is obvious when she speaks of the classes she taught at the Green Chimney's schools in Brewster, NY, and teaches now at Pawling Elementary School, a few miles north of there. "The kids get so involved in it. To them, learning music is discovering a new language,"she says. She can really identify with that. "I wanted to study voice even as a very young child, but of course in third grade you take a band instrument. I took flute, which I played all through school." She and her family were living in Yonkers, NY...Chasanoff's hometown, at the time. Soon after, they moved to Brewster. One lesson she learned along the way: A good teacher is critical. "I loved the French Horn and wanted to learn it, but the instructor was just not very good, " she says. Then she was able to have lessons after school with the right teacher. " Six months after that, "she says, "I was playing French Horn in band". As a Brewster High School student, Chasanoff played in every music program, on every instrument she could. French Horn, flute, piano. She even learned trumpet. "I loved them all. I wanted to be great at every one!" Again that melodic little laugh. She sounds self-depricating, but she's telling the truth. For college, WestConn was her choice. "For obvious reasons,"says Chasanoff. "The music education program is just outstanding. Once I got there, I started wanting to do it all again. jazz ensemble, brass ensemble, opera, chorus...Finally Dr. Astrup had to bring me back down to earth." That would be WestConn Professor of Music Margaret Astrup. She advised Chasanoff it was time to focus on one instrument only, besides her voice. She chose piano. "But I did get to accompany lots of other students in recital,"she adds brightly. "Watching them rehearse with their teachers taught me so much!" After graduating, Chasanoff went on to earn her master's degree at SUNY Purchase. These days she lives happily with her two musical disciplines: teaching eager young students or performing live at regional venues ranging from WestConn's own coffeehouse(where she'll be appearing on May 7th) to the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, NY.

Age: 28. Band: I'm a solo artist, but often perform with Derek Leslie (upright bass, cello) and Kelly Denton (vocal harmony). Website: Briannechasanoff.com. Next gig: Jan. 13 at The Space, with Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, Pat Hull and Jason James. Music style: A softer style of pop music...how would you categorize Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos? Wishes she had: A drum set. I'm not really a drummer, but I do like to rock out. First record bought: Debbie Gibson, Electric Youth. First concert: The Lilith Fair, summer '97. Listening to: Feist, Brandi Carlile, Sufjan Stevens, The Weepies, Girlyman, Radiohead, The Shins, Regina Spektor and The Carpenters. Album that changed her life: Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. I studied classical music since sixth grade. I never cared for music on the radio. My tape collection consisted of classical and Broadway tunes. I thought pop musicians lacked an emotional quality in their voice until a high school friend let me listen to Sarah McLachlan. I was so inspired by her style and the sensitivity in her voice. When I perform, I try to make the audience feel as if they were a part of my story and experience the emotions. First notes: I sang The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" at my fourth grade talent show. In fifth grade, I [sang] "The Rose," accompanying myself on the piano. Always wins: Guitar Hero. Buy her a drink: Anything with tequila. Reading: The Buddha In Your Mirror, by Woody Hochswender. On TV: I'm not really a TV-watcher, but my all-time favorite show is Seinfeld. I'm a big movie lover; one of my favorites is Magnolia. Favorite websites: MySpace and YouTube. Join another local band for a day: I'm always up for a jam session! Most memorable local shows: Jenn Friedman—she's a great performer and her music is gorgeous. Another great experience was when I opened for Grammy award winner Bill Miller at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, New York. He asked me to jam with him on the spot during his performance. Also found: Helping children discover their musical talents as a music teacher at Pawling Elementary School. Fun fact about Brianne: I have my Reiki II degree. Question she wished I asked: Do you have any pets? A. Why, yes, I have a big fluffy kitten named Bailey. He's black and white with bright white whiskers and hairy ears. He looks like a wizard. 
kcei@newhavenadvocate.com 

  • WestConn graduate Brianne Chasanoff has been far from idle since the release of her 2004 debut EP "Illusions." 
    In addition to beginning her career as an elementary school music teacher, the 28 year old earned her master's in studio composition at SUNY Purchase and still managed to find time to complete her first full-length disc, "Broken." 
    The recently released LP features 10 songs, including slightly reworked versions of the four songs from "Illusions." 
    Chasanoff, who recently moved to New Fairfield, cites among her influences Sarah Mchlachlan, Tori Amos, Karen Carpenter, Aimee Mann and Radiohead. 
    The new album wears many of these influences proudly, especially the slightly ethereal song work and dynamic vocals of McLachlan. 
    Interestingly, it wasn't any of these influences that spurred Chasanoff to begin writing her own songs. Rather, it was her boredom with studying classical music while a student at WestConn, where she studied music education with a concentration in classical voice and piano. 
    "I started to get tired of reading the dynamics on the page of this classical music, doing things the way it was written, and just started doing my own thing," she said. 
    "My junior year at WestConn I ended up working with this band who wanted to record a demo, so I went into the recording studio and I was so excited to be able to record my own songs. I just loved the experience and I just wanted to continue recording." 
    "Finding an outlet from the contrainsts of formal music theory, Chasanoff's creativity soared. 
    "In a way I just wanted to break away from that structural thinkingand I just started writing and it was almost a spiritual process where it just kind of came out of me," she said. 
    Soon, though, her schooling kicked in and she began applying more theory to her work. 
    "I had to combine the two(creativity and theory) and realize that these were my roots, that this structural part was where I came from," she said. 
    " It's almost like having the perfect balance between the right and left sides of your brain. I find that molding the two schools of thought together can be extremely rewarding." 
    Whatever her formula may be, it appears to be paying off. 
    In addition to being a semi-finalist in the National Pantene Pro Voice Singer/Songwriter contest for two consecutive years-including once for the song "Does It Still Sound The Same" from Illusions and Broken, - her recording have reached the top of the charts on Broadjam.com for various categories and have been aired on WXCI 91.7 FM as well as radio stations in Purchase and Poughkeepsie. 
    She also had opportunities to perform at the Towne Crier Cafe and Cafe Vivaldi in New York City, and has shared the stage with artists ranging from Mary Fahl ( The October Project) to Grammy Award winner Bill Miller. 
    It has been a great experience," said Chasanoff who plans to spend the summer performing throughout Connecticut and New York in support of "Broken." 
    "Broken" is available at Cdbaby.com, digstation.com, and through www.briannechasanoff.com. The album can also be ordered at many retail music stores and will soon be available for download from iTunes. 

     

"Beautiful, creative, and original music, Brianne Chasanoff is a phenomenal performer, which is rare for modern music. Her CD, "Broken", is a must for any audiofile collection." - Billy Dee ; Dj @ WAPJ 89.9 FM Torrington, CT Folk-n-Rock Show

  • "Chasanoff has a sultry, low voice and she writes dark, melodic songs about love. She said, "My songs come from pain and sorrow. I feel there's something beautiful in pain which a song can come out of." She tends to write songs in bursts. "Does It Still Sound The Same?"- arguably the best song on the eponymous EP- was written in "maybe a half hour. It just poured out. It came from an experience." She describes writing as "a meditation, the way it comes out."

     

Music is the message at Voice’s Café’s season finale

 
Updated 10:43 am, Friday, June 9, 2017

It’s not surprising that Brianne Chasanoff’s career path has steered her into the world of music. “Music has always been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember,” said the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music educator. “From the time I was a toddler, I was drawn to music and the many facets of it. If I wasn’t singing or playing the piano, I was in my room listening to records.”

Those early baby-steps to music led her to become a critically-acclaimed performer, award-winning songwriter, and professional teacher. She performs at Voices Café in Westport at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, along with percussionist Mary Gardner and viola player Michael Alas in a concert that closes out the series’ sixth season. Voices Café is located at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road, Westport.

Chasanoff’s many musical credits include an appearance at The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s Emerging Artists Showcase. She’s also a two-time semi-finalist in the National Pro Voice Singer/Songwriter contest and has shared stages with national touring acts like Mary Fahl of the October Project, Susan Werner, and Bill Miller. And although music has always been a part of her life, she didn’t start developing her composing skills and writing songs until a little after those early years.

“It wasn’t until college that I discovered songwriting,” she said. “I was studying to become a music teacher while taking a concentration in voice and piano. I spent time in the practice room for hours learning classical piano pieces. I’d then need to take breaks throughout my practice time. Within those breaks, my first composition naturally came to life.” One of her first original songs was a semi-finalist in a national songwriting competition, which gave her the assurance she needed to continue writing music. She’s since recorded two albums of original songs, “Broken” and the more recent “Breathe.”

“Music has always been an outlet for me to express myself, and composing songs was the best way for me for me to do so,” she said.

Chasanoff began formal training by studying voice and piano privately. She also played trumpet, French horn, and flute in school, although the piano is her main instrument when she performs on stage. A graduate of Western Connecticut State University, she received her bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in classical voice and piano.

“My music education background has enabled me to explore the huge world of music,” she said. “All of the knowledge and experiences I have gained throughout my studies play a role in the outcome of my songwriting as well as my ability as a performer.” She earned a master's degree in studio composition at SUNY Purchase. She’s currently a music teacher at Pawling Elementary School in Pawling, N.Y.

“It’s extremely rewarding to share my love of music with my students and nurture their musical growth,” said Chasanoff. “I remember what it was like to be in their shoes, so I am very sensitive to what these young musicians are experiencing as they are first discovering the gifts they have.”

The songwriter sees her musical muse changing with her life experiences. “I believe that as human beings we are constantly growing,” she said. “It is inevitable that we will never stop learning through our life's journey. As I continue to learn and grow, my songwriting reflects this growth.”

The singer’s influences include Joni MitchellSarah MclachlanThe Beatles, and Patty Griffin, and the set list for Saturday’s concert will be “a combination of covers and originals,” said Chasanoff. “Mostly originals,” she added.

Saturday’s concert has cabaret style seating, and table reservations are accepted. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.voicescafe.org/show/brianne-chasanoff/ or call 203-227-7205, ext. 14. Visit the performer’s website, www.briannechasanoff.com, for more information on her music. One of her videos has a particularly moving version of Snow Partol’s “Chasing Cars” she did live with a band. Check it out.

  • May 25, 2017
  •  

Brianne’s angelic voice captures listeners and takes them on a personal journey through life’s experiences. She has a unique way of expressing herself through her passionate vocals, accompanied by her own piano skills and creative arrangements. Her songwriting journey began when she was awarded semi-finalist status in a national singer/songwriter competition. You can detect a touch of Sarah Mclachlan along with Joni Mitchell, however, she is truly her own artist and a master at creating arrangements to frame the story she is telling.

Brianne Chasanoff, Mary Gardner, and Michael Alas make the perfect trio as their sensitivity and depth of emotional expression blend seamlessly. They have performed at various venues including Infinity Hall (Norfolk, CT), Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (Emerging Artists Showcase), Merryall Center for the Arts (New Milford, CT), The Towne Crier Cafe, The Mews (Provincetown, MA) and various locations in New York City. Brianne has shared the stage with national touring acts including Mary Fahl of the October Project, Susan Werner, and two-time Grammy award winner Bill Miller.

Brianne (Singer/Songwriter) is a classically trained vocalist and pianist, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education concentrating in Voice and Piano and a Master’s Degree in Studio Composition from Purchase College Conservatory of Music. She performs various styles of music from Pop and Broadway to classical. Her vast experience and love for all styles of music shine through in her songwriting, reaching listeners of all ages and tastes. Brianne has released two albums which can be purchased on CDBaby.com or iTunes, and have been aired on various local radio stations, Pandora Radio, and Spotify. Her song, “Pretend,” was recently aired on WHUD’s 100.7 FM Hudson Valley’s Artist Spotlight where she was interviewed by Andy Bale. Aside from her performing career, Brianne teaches music in the Pawling Public School District helping children discover the gift of music that resides within them.

Mary Gardner is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and conductor specializing in world music, marimba, and orchestral percussion. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Performance from Ithaca College and her Master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Connecticut. Mary has received acclaim for her fluency in a wide variety of styles on several different instruments. She has performed with the New Haven Symphony, Hartford Pops, and has appeared on stage at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Goodspeed Opera House, and NYU’s Skirball Centerfor the Arts. She is the Director of Percussion Studies and teaches beginning band in Westport Public Schools.

A native of the Philippines, Michael Alas has degrees in romance languages/pre-medical studies from Wagner College and viola performance from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Ira Weller. He has performed all over the world from Alaska to New Zealand, from Carnegie Hall to breaking cultural ground and touring all over Asia with the Manhattan Symphony. Equally at home in the Emergency Room and the concert stage, Michael pursued pre-medical studies at Columbia University, was a Research Associate at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell, and has appeared as pit violist for productions at The Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Seating is cabaret style (at tables) and table reservations (minimum 4 people) are accepted by contacting David Vita, david@uuwestport.org or calling 203.227.7205 x14. Doors open at 7:30. Purchase tickets at: http://voicescafe.org/show/brianne-chasanoff/

Brewster Alumni to Perform in Westport

Brewster High School alumni Brianne Chasanoff will perform Saturday, June 10th at 8pm at Voices Cafe in the Unitarian Church located at 10 Lyons Plains Road, Westport, Conn.

Chasanoff’s angelic voice captures listeners and takes them on a personal journey through life’s experiences. She has a unique way of expressing herself through her passionate vocals, accompanied by her own piano skills and creative arrangements. Her songwriting journey began when she was awarded semi-finalist status in a national singer/songwriter competition. You can detect a touch of Sarah Mclachlan along with Joni Mitchell, however, she is truly her own artist and a master at creating arrangements to frame the story she is telling.
Her songwriting journey began when she was named semi-finalist status in a national singer/songwriter competition.
Chasanoff,  along with Mary Gardner, and Michael Alas make the perfect trio as their sensitivity and depth of emotional expression blend seamlessly. They have performed at various venues including Infinity Hall (Norfolk, CT), Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (Emerging Artists Showcase), Merryall Center for the Arts (New Milford, CT), The Towne Crier Cafe, The Mews (Provincetown, MA) and various locations in New York City.
Chasanoff has shared the stage with national touring acts including Mary Fahl of the October Project, Susan Werner, and two-time Grammy award winner Bill Miller.

The singer/songwriter is a classically trained vocalist and pianist, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education concentrating in Voice and Piano and a Master’s Degree in Studio Composition from Purchase College Conservatory of Music. She performs various styles of music from Pop and Broadway to classical.

Chasanoff has released two albums which can be purchased on CDBaby.com or iTunes, and have been aired on various local radio stations, Pandora Radio, and Spotify. Her song, “Pretend,” was recently aired on WHUD’s 100.7 FM Hudson Valley’s Artist Spotlight where she was interviewed by Andy Bale.

In addition to her performing career, Chasanoff teaches music in the Pawling Public School District helping children discover the gift of music within themselves.

A native of the Philippines, Michael Alas has degrees in romance languages/pre-medical studies from Wagner College and viola performance from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Ira Weller. He has performed all over the world from Alaska to New Zealand, from Carnegie Hall to breaking cultural ground and touring all over Asia with the Manhattan Symphony. 

Seating for the upcoming performace is cabaret style (at tables) and table reservations (minimum 4 people) are accepted by contacting David Vita, david@uuwestport.org or calling 203.227.7205 x14. Doors open at 7:30. Purchase tickets at: http://voicescafe.org/show/brianne-chasanoff/

2 Hour Radio Interview with Bruce Swan "Music My Mother Would Not Like"

CLick the link to hear the interveiw:

http://archives.wpkn.org/bookmarks/listen/187248

Links

Facebook -- www.facebook.com/briannechasanoff CD Baby -- www.cdbaby.com/briannechasanoff

More Links

Broken                 

Breathe          

EPK                

Reverbnation     

 

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