California Coast Inspires New Classical Music – Jenni Brandon IMA Nom

California Coast Inspires New Classical Music – Jenni Brandon IMA Nom

Strings bellow a low tone, imitating bubbling tar. Piano notes capture a musical interpretation of the movement under the sea. A high note seems to stretch to the top of the tallest Sequoias.

Released last year by Long Beach-based composer Jenni Brandon, “Songs of California: Music for Winds and Piano,” has been chosen as a nominee for the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards in the contemporary classical category.

The CD features a collection of songs inspired by Brandon’s favorite Southern California attractions, such as California’s Sequoia trees, La Brea Tar Pits and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

“All the songs are California-themed,” Brandon said. “They are like postcards from living here for 10 years.”

A Pennsylvania native, Brandon started playing the piano at age 5 and fell in love with the sound. In high school, when she first began song writing, she found her passion for the arts, participating in band, theater and choir.

The 33-year-old said she loves music, particularly the classical form, because it is a sort of universal language that can be appreciated by people of all backgrounds. She describes her songs as having a lyrical, melodic quality that comes from her background as both a singer and composer.

After earning her master’s degree in composition and moving to California, Brandon began documenting her time in the Golden State through the musical “postcards” found on the 32-track CD.

“I have been inspired by the natural beauties of this state as well as the urban centers and cultural wonders,” she said, adding that the CD also is an expression of herself as a person and musician.

Musicians featured on the CD were selected from the Definiens Project, which performs new music by living and classical composers. Brandon is a member of the Definiens Project board of directors.

The Independent Music Awards winners are expected to be announced in mid-March and are chosen by a panel of artists such as Seal and Ozzy Osbourne and experts such as Anthony DeCurtis from Rolling Stone magazine. Nominees were chosen from more than 300 submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Additionally, the Independent Music Awards has a fan-favorite category. Fans can vote for their favorite contender through July 11.

“Songs of California: Music for Winds and Piano” is available for purchase at

By Ashleigh Oldland

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