Comprising stories, nods to classic holiday tunes, and an underlying current of wistful nostalgia, DASHING VOL. 3 series keeps the spirit of holiday music alive with new compositions and arrangements of well-known favorites. Brought to life by a number of orchestras, chamber ensembles, and choirs, the works of new and returning composers to the series are sure to ignite the charm and congeniality of the holiday season. Composer Gavin Brown brings several holiday works to the table on this festive Navona Records release.

Today, Gavin is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn how The Sting inspired Gavin to learn the piano, and why he’d choose the guitar as an instrument to master…

Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?

Johann Sebastian Bach. I’ve been listening to him since I was about 5 years old and his music still enchants and awes me. If there is such a thing as perfect music, he wrote it.

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

When I saw the movie The Sting. I became a piano player just so I could play the ragtime music in that movie.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I listen to a lot of popular music from around the world. Some of it is delightful and I think as a composer you have to be in touch with it to write music which appeals to today’s audience.

If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?

The guitar. The instrument has always fascinated me because it is completely different from the piano, and because of that, I’ve never yet composed for it.

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

The jazzy midsection of Remembering December. I think it’s the high point of any of the songs, musically, for its mood, and artistically. Plus it’s fun to play!

Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?

Christmas music doesn’t have to be cheerful songs about tinsel, red & green lights, and reindeer. There are many moods of Christmas and I try to touch on some of them that haven’t been done before.

  • Gavin Brown

    Composer Gavin Brown’s musical journey began with The Sting. He took up piano so he could play the ragtime music of Scott Joplin which was featured in that movie. He studied music at DePauw University and composition with Panamanian composer Roque Cordero at Illinois State University. His music draws from a number of influences from classical to jazz and rock to pop.