BIOGRAPHY

 

Paulo do Nascimento Brito (born 1987 in Rio de Janeiro) is a Brazilian composer and pianist.  He grew up in the United States and has also lived in France and Ukraine.  Having played the piano since the age of five, he began composing at fifteen.  He received his musical training and liberal arts education in Kiev, Paris, New York, and Chicago.

 

Paulo is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, where he studies with award-winning composers Anthony Cheung and Marta Ptaszynska while writing and performing his music. Prior to graduate school, he pursued an interdisciplinary path.  First, at the Kiev Conservatory, he devoted his focus equally to study of the piano, theory and composition.  Subsequently, aspiring to write opera, he pursued a B.A. in Classics and German Literature at Columbia University that gave him a firm grasp of its cross-disciplinary intricacy.

 

In his recent projects Paulo unites not only different artistic disciplines but also different cultural traditions.  The Legend of the White Snake (2015), in its original version, is a three-act, evening-length ballet with a libretto that he based on several literary sources for the Chinese tale of the White Snake.  From this he has adapted an orchestral suite, as well as a solo piano version that was recently awarded First Prize in the Robert Avalon Foundation for Modern Music International Competition.  Both these scores are informed by traditional Chinese music, which Paulo further explores in "Viola chinesa": Three Poems of Camilo Pessanha (2016), a "distillation" in music for piano and violin of texts by the major poet of Portuguese Symbolism that was recently awarded a UChicago Arts Grant to fund its première and recording.  The Portuguese poet is again featured in Paulo's latest piece Romanza ed Elegia, a song cycle for soprano and piano (a version with orchestra is also planned) that sets one of Pessanha's translations of classical Chinese poetry alongside Arthur Rimbaud's "Voyelles".

Photo: Gudrun Olthoff

Watch Paulo introduce and perform his music from THE WHITE SNAKE in a documentary short by filmmaker Jiexiong Liu (2016)