Growing up, Dr. Allen Brings had been surrounded by music – from his father buying recordings of great artists of the day – to touching his first set of piano keys at 7 years old. His fond memories of music in his early life carried on into his military service, where he was a member of a regimental band. He considers these years, 1957 to 1959, some of the greatest times of his life due to the music he played and his fellow bandmates. He became the conductor of the military band.
Dr. Brings pursued music academically, first earning a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Queens College of the City of New York in 1955. He then attended Columbia University to receive a Master of Arts in 1957. He concluded his education at Boston University, earning a DMA in music in 1964. At this time, he had already been working as an instructor of music and teaching fellow. Furthermore, from 1962 to 1963, Dr. Brings completed postgraduate coursework at Princeton University as a Naumburg Fellow. From 1959 to 1960, he taught at Bard College, and then joined his alma mater of BU as a teaching fellow from 1960 to 1962. In 1963, he was invited to join the faculty at Queens College, becoming a professor of music at the Aaron Copland School of Music. He taught in this position until becoming professor emeritus in 2001. In addition, Dr. Brings has taught and served as the associate director of the Weston Music Center and School of Performing Arts since 1960. While at Queens College, Dr. Brings worked as the coordinator of the Theory and Ear Training Program. Dr. Brings is also active with the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs.
Throughout his career, he composed and conducted various musical pieces, including 1990’s “Sinfonia da Camera” and 1975’s “Tre Sonetti.” Throughout his career, he composed more than 242 works. His latest works include 2019’s “A Dual Encounter Between Two Double Basses,” 2018’s “Trialogue for Flute, Viola and Piano” and, in 2017 “Duo for Flute and Piano,” “3 Scintillae” and “All Around and About.”
Although he has often performed his own music as a pianist and occasionally also recorded it, Dr. Brings has come to realize that his career as a pianist began when he was in second grade at Public School 154 in Jamaica, Queens, when he was asked to play a piece that he had been studying with his first piano teacher as all the students were assembling in the school’s auditorium. Together with his wife, Genevieve Chinn, he has given innumerable performances both in the US and in Europe of music for piano, 4-hands, by composers of both the past and the present. Music by Dvořák, Brahms, Muzio Clementi, and George Onslow can be found on the Centaur label while music by the Americans Robert Helps, Raoul Pleskow and Thomas Moore, originally recorded and released on long playing records by Composers Recordings, Inc., is now available from New World Records.
On May 24, 2019, Parma Recordings announced the release of a compilation recording entitled In Tandem on its Navona label that included a performance by Christopher Morrison and Stephanie Watts of Allen Brings’s Duo for flute and piano composed in 2017. For further information about this recording visit the website navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6227.
On April 12, 2019, Dr. Brings performed his Variations on an American Folk Song for piano on a program presented by the Long Island Composers Alliance in Bellport, NY, and which can now be both heard and seen on the internet. He had last performed this composition in New York City on April 7, 2014 on a program entitled “Spring Counterpoint” that was presented by the East Coast Chapter of the National Association of Composers, USA. Included on that program was his performance of his Three Studies for Piano left-hand, a work that he performed again on June 28 that season in Steinway Hall in New York City and that might be seen and heard on the internet from a performance he gave of it on Long Island, NY. A recording by him of Three Studies is also available from Parma Recordings that was originally released on the Capstone label. In passing, it can be added that Variations on an American Folk Song was originally composed in 1954 when Dr. Brings was a composition student of Karol Rathaus at Queens College and revised in 1958 when he was stationed with a regimental military band in the US Army in Nuremberg, West Germany.