Hi. My name is Brian. I used to be in a rock and roll band. I now release my own records of piano and ambient music and collaborate with other film makers and artists on a variety of projects.
I like making music with organic sounds mixed with electronica and classical music. I mostly record on my restored August Förster piano from the 1920s and will often process sounds from the piano to make lush ambient textures.
I live at the foot of the Wicklow mountains in Ireland with my wife Layla and our three young kids. I enjoy building stuff, and have built a wooden cabin at the end of our plot which I call the Treehouse and which is filled with loads of wonderful instruments and clever gadgets that I use to make music.
BIO AND CAREER
Brian’s music career started at the age of 16 when he and Damien Rice started playing music together in school. This led to them forming the indie band Juniper and then later Bell X1, with whom Brian recorded four records and toured the world extensively between 1996 and 2008.
During this period Brian also founded The Cake Sale – a band featuring an eclectic collective of artists such as Paul Noonan (Bell X1), Lisa Hannigan, Gary Lighbody (Snowpatrol), Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Glen Hansard and Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) to raise funds for the charity Oxfam. The record was a multi-platinum hit in Ireland, was released in Europe and America to huge critical acclaim and to this day still generates royalties for the charity.
Towards the end of his time in Bell X1 Brian had become drawn to film scoring work and had started a very rewarding collaboration with visual artist the late Paddy Jolley on a number of his films. It was the taste of this more spacious yet intimate way of creating music that in part led to him departing Bell X1 to pursue a career as a film composer.
Shortly after leaving the band Brian made the decision to move his life and studio to Berlin. A year after his arrival, Brian converted a 3,500 sq ft factory in the city’s Kreuzberg district to a modular studio complex with nine rooms. The studio rapidly became home to a thriving Berlin film music scene and it was here that he collaborated with fellow studio residents Dustin O’Halloran, Hildur Guõnadóttir, Rutger Hoedemaekers and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson on numerous Film and TV scores. During this period he also co -wrote a body of original work to be performed on two pianos with French pianist Fabien Leseure.
Brian maintained strong ties with the Irish music scene and in 2016, alongside many well-known figures in Irish contemporary music, was a central collaborator on Starboard Home, a project which culminated with two live shows at the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the release of a critically acclaimed studio album.
In 2017, Brian moved back to Ireland with his family and two years later set up home in rural county Wicklow at the foot of Carrick Mountain. Inspired by the wooded landscape around him, he designed and built Treehouse Studios, a beautiful log cabin set in the native Irish forest that surrounds his home. It was here that Brian recorded his debut solo album Imbrium which was released in the Spring of 2021 while most of the world was still in lockdown. The Sunday Times describes the record as “nine unadorned piano instrumentals capture the stillness of life suspended, each piece as delicate and moving as it is restrained. The result is a quietly meditative work perfectly in tune with our present lives”, while The Irish Times says “Gorgeous gems to enthral and delight. Imbrium is a soothing and riveting new chapter“.
In addition to creating and performing his own solo work, Brian continues to write music for Film and TV and is a vocal advocate for artists rights, is a director of the Irish Music Rights Organisation and is Chair of the Screen Composers Guild of Ireland.
Music composition for television is a complex fusion of pragmatic craft and creative inspiration and Brian possesses consummate skill in both these – sometimes contradictory – areas. Whilst doing all the important practical things such as coming in on time and on budget (always with graciousness and ease), he brought his considerable gifts of musical composition and artistic instinct to bear on the project.
He has a subtle gift for enhancing the action without dominating it and for progressing the narrative in an intelligent and dynamic way. I hope that I will have the opportunity to work with Brian again in the future but, for now, I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Brian Crosby was commissioned by Publicis Dublin to compose music for TV commercials and content over the past 12 years. During that time Brian has consistently produced the highest quality work for us. He is a brilliant collaborator, he hits deadlines and always ﬁnds an answer to our creative challenges. And at all times he is a pleasure to deal with.
Executive Creative Director
Brian Crosby was commissioned to compose the music for our feature documentary In Our Own Words in Nov 2018.
Brian rose to the challenge of an unusually tight deadline and produced a beautiful score that way exceeded our expectations.
All the way during the process we found Brian to be positive professional and a pleasure to work with. Brian is a very talented composer, and it would be my pleasure to recommend Brian for other work in this area.
Producer, Yellow Asylum Films
Brian makes his debut solo release with a collection of nine delicate instrumental pieces recorded on a prepared upright piano in his remote Treehouse Studio at the foot of the Wicklow mountains in Ireland.
“I wanted to write piano music that had a certain restraint and stillness to it. Pieces that lagged behind the regular tempo of our routines and melodies that resisted following huge emotive curves. It came from a place uninterrupted, an escape from the noise and stimuli of daily life”.
Brian’s minimal approach to piano playing and his attention to detail in capturing every sonic facet of the instrument results in a spacious collection of meditative, pared back recordings filled with mesmeric, recurring phrases and textural soundscapes. The pieces are recorded on a beautifully restored August Förster piano from the 1920’s which he brought back to Ireland after his time spent living and recording in Berlin.
You can order digital or a limited vinyl copy on the Store page.
THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
“Nine nimble, elegant piano pieces that quell anxiety and clear brain fog are exactly what the doctor ordered for 2021”
THE IRISH TIMES
“Gorgeous gems to enthral and delight. Imbrium is a soothing and riveting new chapter.”
THE SUNDAY TIMES
“Nine unadorned piano instrumentals capture the stillness of life suspended, each piece as delicate and moving as it is restrained. The result is a quietly meditative work perfectly in tune with our present lives.”
HIGHER PLAIN MUSIC
“The whole album is recorded up close and personal. From the hammers of the piano to the velvet ribbon to the wire twang inside – you can hear it all. Brian recorded the pieces on a restored 1920’s August Förster piano and that vintage warmth glows throughout. It also supports each piece on the album too because they often balance something soothing against a glorious mystery too.”
THE IRISH TIMES
“Imbrium is worth not only the wait but also its weight in gold. Constructed with a view to mute last year’s shrieks of anxiety, Crosby presents nine graceful, self-possessed pieces (played on a restored 1920’s August Förster piano) that tease for more of the same sometime sooner rather than later.”
I’ve adapted several spaces and converted them into studios over the years, from the humble beginnings of a 8m2 bunker on Lombard Street in Dublin to a 350m2 factory conversion on OranienStrasse in Berlin which became home to my fellow Berlin composers and artists and which outputted some of the most inspiring art and film music during my time there. It was always my dream though to build a studio from the ground up in a tranquil setting. And so the opportunity landed when we moved back to Ireland and found our plot at the foot of the Wicklow mountains near Ashford village which is where I built The Treehouse.
“Elevated above the ground and sitting in the trees, the studio has two interconnecting rooms filled with natural daylight and views of the surrounding woodlands and Carrick Mountain. Both rooms have wooden floors, are acoustically treated and are connected with microphone lines, cat6 ethernet and video lines.
The grounds around the studio have various seating areas and walks as well as a stream running at the end of the plot.
The studio is also filled with all the various weird and wonderful instruments and gadgets that Brian has collected over the years, including a bunch of pianos, a modular system, analog tape delays, classic analog synths from the 60’s and 70’s, various stomp boxes and kids musical toys, a hurdy gurdy, a harmonium (that’s in tune!), a collection of omnichords and various other stringed and percussion instruments from around the world.
The Blüthner grand and August Förster upright pianos are special treasures of the studio. They both date back to the 1920’s and were meticulously restored in Berlin before they found their way to Ireland. In contrast to the shiny pristine sounds of modern pianos, they offer an old vintage sound full of character and warmth and were used on many films scores and recordings by Dustin O’Halloran and the late Johann Johannsson as well as Brian’s own work.
I’m truly very lucky to be able to work here and hopefully I’ll see some of you here sometime.
© Brian Crosby 2020