Featured Artist: B.J. Brooks

Meet Dr. B.J. Brooks, who composed Pathway to Polaris, featured in the upcoming issue of Synkroniciti Magazine as a music video recorded by the West Texas A&M Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Mark Bartley with featured soloist and concertmaster Havuka Lund. It is a stirring piece, energetic and vibrant.The title refers to the North Star, Polaris, long used for navigation in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ve also written a three page article about the creation of the piece, from composition, to performance and recording, to adding the drone footage that entertains the eye. It is a fascinating process.

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Dr. BJ Brooks, originally from Portales, NM, USA, has composed hundreds of works for ensembles, solo performers and the electro-acoustic medium. His music is enjoyed by a wide range of performers, from military bands to beginning ensembles, around the world. His scores have been honored with numerous awards, have been included as educational material at several universities and in the acclaimed book series Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, in addition to being featured at numerous conventions such as TMEA, TBA, CBDNA, Midwest Clinic, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. BJ is an active clinician and adjudicator with concert ensembles and marching bands across the Southwest.

Dr. Brooks is the Assistant Artistic Director of the Amarillo Youth Choirs and Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. There he resides with his wife, Melanie, and two children, Meghan and Tobin.

Here is Movement II of the 3rd Symphony by B.J. Brooks, played by the WTAMU Symphonic Band conducted by Don Lefevre. There are some astonishing musical harmonics, sonorities and textures here. Sometimes I am put in mind of cicadas or locusts, other times it’s like a church organ. The combination of transparent and opaque textures is unusual and mesmerizing.

The entire symphony is a study of human cognition, with this particular movement being based on M.C. Escher’s lithograph, Drawing Hands. If you read the notes on the video you’ll see what it is about. Fascinating!


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