" ... what a joy it was to hear so many strong, compelling works by the likes of Vivian Fung, Nicole Lizee, Jocelyn Morlock, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Caroline Shaw, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Luna Pearl Woolf this year, not to mention emerging composer Amy Brandon’s sleeper hit 3 Portraits led by WSO resident conductor Julian Pellicano."
"The second highlight of the night came from Amy Brandon. Her 3 Portraits for Orchestra is a sonic roller coaster through tension and release. The calm of a low string drone spreads into a web of anxiety through strenuous groans before resolving into a lustrous sound bath. With stabs of solo cello spurring way for gut-wrenching and horrific swells, Brandon’s timbral palate could humble even seasoned composers .."
Sarah Jo Kirsch
"The music was unsettling, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It was anxiety-inducing at times, but a full-body reaction to music is usually the sign of something worth hearing. Amy Brandon played a standard guitar with, what was that, a scrub brush? And suddenly she transported us to an icy, barren, electro-alien planet. It was strange. It was incomprehensible. It was so completely and utterly brand new to my ears."
"The boldly cross-genre music of Canadian guitarist-composer Amy Brandon fuses elements of jazz, classical, electroacoustic, and improvised music. Scavenger, the title track from her 2016 release, blends the meditative pacing of traditional classical guitar slow movements with repetitive structures and non-traditional harmonies from the 20th and 21st centuries."
"Otherworldly and meditative ... one wonders whether geography of the coastal North Atlantic may have influenced Brandon in her creative orchestration of this clashing of bleakness with beauty ... [her] compositions succeed, as all excellent music does, in conjuring a palpable and astonishing mood."
"... a model of classical guitar clarity in the tradition of Segovia, Yepes and Bream, with lyricism and triadic harmony that can suggest idiomatic composers like Villa-Lobos and Rodrigo ... This is a fascinating debut, and one looks forward to Brandon’s further explorations.
"... a quietly singular figure ... it’s nearly impossible to think of any cohabitants of her very particular universe ... Brandon’s phrasing is as nimble as it is Delphic, tracing uneven coils that swiftly fall inward ... the harmonic fabric is peculiar, skillfully woven from disparate stray fibres. Scavenger is strongest and most magical when Brandon’s enigmatic personality comes through without any adulteration ... it disorients its audience, surreptitiously enveloping the listener in rich, unfamiliar surroundings."
"Amy Brandon's music is a wondrous and mysterious landscape. The constantly shifting interplay of delicate guitar work and electronic washes is an intricate dance of ancient and futuristic sounds. Brandon's technique is an understated kind of virtuosity, with an emotional weight to it that serves to draw the listener in to her world ..."
" .. mesmerizing nylon-string guitar work. Anchored by a droning backdrop of stretched and scrambled guitar sounds, she traced rapid, tangling trajectories in a performance that was one of the festival’s highlights."
"Her warm and resonant guitar-work contrasted with the recorded soundscapes, which were much more varied and unexpected. Sometimes they were dissonant and abrasive and metallic, other times attenuated and whispering and reminding one of birds calling or winds rushing.
The result was immersive and multi-layered, pulsating and almost hypnotic in places. Consistently you could hear how Brandon was responding in the moment to the soundscapes. Throughout the pieces, he audience was still and intent, listening carefully and applauding warmly."