People who know Brendan Faegre can't say enough good things about him. He accepts all compliments, because the Lakeridge High School graduate is now carving a career in the music world and all good things coming his way are much appreciated.
His life is moving fast, but Faegre is remaining calm, humble and determined.
"I'm taking every good opportunity to get my name and music out there," Faegre, 27, said.
He is succeeding. His honors are piling up, and performances of his music are hopscotching the globe, in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, China, Italy, Denmark, Spain, and throughout New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Arizona and Maine. You could run out of breath listing all the accomplishments Faegre has achieved in his young life.
"I've gotten a lot of awards recently," Faegre said. "I can't complain. But for every success there are seven rejections."
Faegre had the first musical success of his career at age 13. He was the drummer in a rock band that took the 1998 Lake Oswego Junior High School Talent Show by storm with its rendition of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."
"It went well," Faegre said. "We ended the show. The crowd went wild."
He might well have developed a career playing the drums in garages all over Oregon, but instead Faegre's musical appreciation grew rapidly and his talent evolved. He began discovering jazz, classical music and the music of India and the Middle East.
Faegre wrote his first composition, a marimba concerto, while attending the University of Puget Sound. Today, he laughs and said, "I can't believe I wrote that."
But it was a start. His career picked up momentum when he was accepted by the graduate composers program at Indiana University in Bloomington. While there he started winning composing awards. His next stop was the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, where he studied for a year thanks to a scholarship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.
Not only was Faegre's musical career blooming, but so was romance. While studying at the Royal Conservatory at the Hague he met his future wife, Lucia Giraudo, a native of Argentina and a baroque violinist.
Everything seems to be in place for Faegre — who now lives in The Hague, Netherlands — to pursue a music career in which there may be no limit to his potential. His musical influences have vastly expanded since his Ozzy Osbourne days, and his sights are set on achieving music that is like spun glass — intricate but clear and easy to appreciate.
"What I'm trying to do is find the common links of the music tradition," Faegre said. "The driving energy of rock with the rhythm of jazz, the Western classics like Beethoven, contemporary composers, Scandinavian folk music. I want to push boundaries and experiment."
It might seem like Faegre is in danger of composing musical mishmash that few people would want to listen to. But much like when he performed at Lake Oswego Junior High School — he is a crowd pleaser.
"I don't want the surface of my music to be too intellectual and academic," Faegre said. "I want to be appreciated by a large audience and explore more complicated ideas at the same time."
Some outstanding musicians are predicting a brilliant future for him.
"There are simply not enough superlatives to describe Brendan's intellectual and musical abilities," said Claude Baker, chancellor's professor of composition at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. "While studying here he had unparalleled enthusiasm and was a model of dedication and self discipline. His pieces already reveal remarkable imagination, sensitivity and craft of the highest order. His future as a composer is very bright indeed."
Academia across the globe agree.
"I find that his music is beginning to show a composer with integrity, beyond the clever student," said Lasse Thoresen, professor of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music. "Thanks to his bright spirit, musicality, intelligence and personal motivation, he will become a composer of engaging and substantial music."
The kudos continue from Peter Adriaansz, professor of musical composition at The Royal Conservatory at The Hague.
"What makes him stand out is his pursuit of as much technical mastery as possible without letting that overrun the immediacy of what he wants to say, and combined with that, an awareness that a quest for immediacy should not lead to bluntness.
"All in all Brendan has always shown himself to be a true musician, somebody who is actively involved and not afraid to dirty his hands. I have little doubt that he will do just fine in the future."
However, Faegre doesn't give the impression that he just might be too good to be true. He does not expect success to be delivered to him on a golden platter just because of his great talent. His desire to work and learn is incredibly strong.
"I want to keep writing better and better music," Faegre said.
For more information, visit http://brendanfaegre.com.