Artistic Director & Conductor

Photo by Yasmeen Anderson

Appointed Artistic Director and Conductor in 2019, Brent Chancellor leads the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra into an exciting 2020-2021 season. Joining a distinguished list of RSO conductors, Brent’s first season was marked with music by Brahms, Prokofiev and Lowell Liebermann, featured soloists Kathleen Nester and Laura Hamilton, and saw bold new digital media and audience outreach initiatives for the orchestra. Recognized for his compelling performances and innovative programming, Brent has performed on some of the world’s foremost stages including Carnegie Hall, BAM, Symphony Space and NJPAC. In addition to the RSO, Brent also serves as Music Director of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra, Interim Music Director of the Rutgers University Sinfonia and is a cover conductor with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Recent guest appearances include the New Jersey All-State Orchestra and The Irish Tenors.

An enthusiastic educator, in 2016, Brent founded LUX, an orchestra initiative dedicated to connecting young people with symphonic music through bold dramatic multi-sensory concert experiences. Acclaimed performances have included Grammy Award-winning jazz violinist and member of Snarky Puppy, Zach Brock, fully immersive multimedia concerts with live DJ, and partnerships with Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program and the South Orange Performing Arts Center. During summers, Brent serves as Music Director of the New Jersey Vocal Arts Collaborative, and since 2008 has maintained a close relationship as a conductor with the world renowned young artist training program, International Vocal Arts Institute. He has also served on the faculty of Montclair State University and from 2018-2019 was the Interim Music Director of the Montclair State University Opera Orchestra.

Previous positions include Conducting Assistant with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra where he helped plan audience outreach events, led pre-concert discussions connecting works through musicology, history, and social sciences, and helped facilitate the first live streamed concert in the orchestras history, and Assistant Conductor positions with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and Festival Napa Valley, where he worked closely with conductors Martin West, Stéphane Denève and Joel Revzen to prepare a wide variety of concert programs featuring André Watts, Angel Blue, Lester Lynch and the San Francisco Ballet.

Brent studied at the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen, the John J. Cali School of Music and Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. His principal teachers include Paul Nadler and Ken Lam. Additionally, he has held fellowships at the Blackburn Music Academy, attended advanced conducting courses at The Juilliard School, and in 2018 and 2019 attended the prestigious Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music with Cristian Măcelaru. He has learned from many celebrated musicians in workshops, festivals and seminars, including conductors, Riccardo Muti, Markand Thakar, and Diane Wittry, composers George Crumb, Steve Reich and Aaron J. Kernis, and opera coaches Joan Dornemann, Gerald Martin Moore and Sherrill Milnes.

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