Edwin Orion Brownell is a composer, concert pianist, entertainer, rocker and author who has been electrifying audiences in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and across North America. Born in Ottawa to musical parents, he started playing piano at the age of four and two years later began his training with the Royal Conservatory.
After a successful international career touring over two decades with rock and R&B groups (including Longbottom, Straight No Chaser, Black and Blue, Crawdaddy, Bobby Lee Silcott, Derek Martin, Angel Forrest and his own ensemble Edwin & the Bedouins) Brownell returned to his roots, performing the romantic repertoire and specializing in the music of Chopin and Tchaikovsky.
In 1995 he began working with ballet companies (most notably Montreal’s “Ballet Divertimento”) and some of his improvised pieces for the dancers were later turned into his earliest classical compositions. This focus on composition lead to the release of his first classical albums; “Maimonides Pops” and “Music of the Dance.” Although these CDs contained classical covers and ballet classics, they also featured original works which were premiered at Place des Arts in 2005.
Over the next two years Brownell completed “Journey of the Spirit,” a double album of entirely original music, including his tour-de-force “The Ein Gedi Suite.” This disc was launched at the Ein Gedi Concert Hall in Israel in 2007, at Place des Arts in 2008, and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2012 and 2013.
In 2009, the composer released his fourth classical album, the CD / DVD “SMILE” at another sold out Place des Arts concert. Over the next three years, he wrote, produced and launched his 5th classical disc and first chamber music album “Songs of Love and Marriage.” Featuring solo piano pieces alongside works performed by his quintet The Zara Strings, the concerts at Place des Arts and the National Arts Centre launching this CD were recorded and released on his 2014 live album “Forever Laughter.”
With new chamber music works under his belt, “The Inside Track” (featuring studio recordings of 11 new original compositions), was launched with a sextet version of the Zara Strings to a sold out show at Loyola Chapel in the fall of 2016. This concert and the rehearsals leading up to it were recorded for Brownell’s 11th album “Songs for Canada,” released on Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st, 2017. His latest classical opus contains six new compositions for solo piano, one new work for bassoon quintet, and his famous Ein Gedi Suite re-arranged for piano sextet.
Edwin continues to play with Edwin & the Bedouins (who now include the musicians of The Guess Who, Mahogany Rush, April Wine and Offenbach), and launched the group’s 3rd album “One for All” in 2011. In 2013, he celebrated his group’s twentieth anniversary by headlining a huge benefit concert for the Philippine typhoon relief. In August of 2017 he performed with Gary Moffet and Jerry Mercer at the Hemmingford Campground just south of Montreal, and continues to play occasionally with these great musicians. Brownell’s 4th rock album “Before,” a compilation of his work as a sideman, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2019.
Along with composing and performing music. Edwin is also an author. In late 2015 he finished his first book Operation Hannibal, the story of the German evacuation of Prussia at the end of World War Two, and he is now looking for a publisher.
At the present date, Edwin’s original music is being played on radio stations across North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and the Far East. Having just finished the first part of his famous Corona Concert Series, Edwin is now playing Facebook Live Concerts twice a week while he awaits the restart of his live shows after the Pandemic comes under control. Besides performing live online, he has three albums already recorded and the launch of his next classical release, “Edwin Orion Brownell Goes Baroque,” is set for 7PM, July 29, 2020 here.