Brandon J. Rolle, PhD

Music Theory and Ear Training Faculty
Music Theory and Ear Training Faculty

Dr. Brandon J. Rolle is a composer whose work fuses traditional methods with research in acoustics, psychoacoustics, and computer-assisted approaches to composition. He was a student of pioneering composers Pauline Oliveros at Mills College and Clarence Barlow at UC Santa Barbara.

Drawing on psychoacoustics, sonology, and computer programming, Brandon J. Rolle’s compositions engage interdisciplinary methods and technologies in order to realize the deeply-immersive sound worlds that define his music. Brandon has studied and worked with some of the century’s most groundbreaking composers, including Clarence Barlow, Pauline Oliveros, and Roscoe Mitchell; he holds a Master’s Degree from Mills College and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2017, Rolle moved to Los Angeles, where he works as a freelance composer. Brandon has given masterclasses and lectures on his music at universities across the United States, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University Northridge, Chapman University, and at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music where he is Music Theory & Ear Training Faculty.

Brandon’s musical work and research have been supported through commissions, grants, and awards, including from the Borchard Foundation, New Music USA, the University of California, Synchromy, and the Hear Now Festival. Giovanni Albini’s 2021 recording of “Afterward” on A Contemporary Ukulele (Da Vinci Classics) was called “a work of considerable imaginative power” that “really shows off the instrument (and player) to the greatest musical effect” (Musicweb-International). Brandon’s upcoming projects include his forthcoming debut album, Glitch Portraiture, which is being released by Arpaviva Recordings through the support of the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, a commission for the electronics to Joel Feigin’s new opera, Outcast at the Gate, and a new audio-video collaboration with artist Christopher Richmond for the Hear Now Festival in Los Angeles. Rolle’s musical catalog includes orchestral, chamber, electro-acoustic, and intermedia music, which have been performed at festivals and concerts of new music across the United States and Europe.

As a conductor and ensemble coach, Brandon is passionate about supporting new works by living composers. He has premiered numerous compositions by his colleagues, including at ArtShare LA, as Resident Conductor of the 2020 Black House New Music Workshop at Oh My Ears! Festival, and as the director of a major concert of new works by algorithmic music pioneer, Clarence Barlow, at the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles in 2017. While Composition Associate at UC Santa Barbara, Brandon guest conducted the Ensemble for Contemporary Music, worked with the orchestra, coached jazz ensembles, and was the director of an orchestral reading of new works by doctoral composition students.

Outside of his creative work, Dr. Rolle is a committed advocate for the arts. In 2019, he co-founded the Impulse New Music Festival, a nonprofit organization that supports talented early-career composers through creative training, professional development opportunities, and career mentorship. Under his guidance as Artistic Director, the festival has grown to include a faculty of Los Angeles’ top artists to teach and mentor participants, programs including workshops, lessons, readings, performances, recordings, and mini-grants, and the commissioning of more than 40 new works from emerging artists. He has worked with other L.A.-based organizations as well, including as Modern Music Writer at NewClassic.LA, and as part of the teams at Equal Sound and Brightwork New Music. In January 2023, Rolle joined the acclaimed contemporary piano series, Piano Spheres, as Associate Director.