Praised for his sensitive and nuanced accompanying, Brent Funderburk is one of the nation’s most promising collaborative pianists. Equally at home in opera, art song, chamber music, and vocal coaching, he is fast becoming known throughout the country as a respected recitalist, coach, and music director.
Funderburk maintains a committed presence in the opera world. He served as pianist and music director of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 “Rising Stars Concert Series” tour, which presented more than 50 performances, workshops, and masterclasses at key universities and concert halls across the U.S.
In vocal and instrumental recitals, Funderburk has graced such distinguished venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, National Sawdust, and Symphony Space in New York; the Krannert Center and Chicago Cultural Center in Illinois; and the Arts Club of Washington in DC. Through appearances at Café Sabarsky at New York’s Neue Galerie, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Louisville’s Festival of Faiths, and Stanford University’s Shenson Recital Series, he and his longtime collaborator, mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell, have become known for inventive programs that range from classics to cabaret.
An ardent champion of art song, Funderburk has served for four consecutive seasons on the faculty of the venerable CoOPERAtive Program at Princeton’s Westminster Choir College, where, as well as coaching the young artists, he inaugurated the program’s Alumni Recital Series in 2017. He has performed art songs at festivals including Carnegie Hall’s “Marilyn Horne Song Celebration” and “The Song Continues,” the Ravinia Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Art Song Preservation Society of New York, New York’s Joy in Singing and SongFusion, the Brooklyn Art Song Society, Princeton’s Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project (CUSP), and Ohio’s Schmidt Vocal Institute.
High in demand as an audition, workshop, and competition pianist, Funderburk regularly supports singers from around the world at major companies and festivals. In the 2018-19 season, he played for the Eastern Region of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions and the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Marcella Sembrich International Voice Competition, besides anchoring workshops of new operas at both American Lyric Theater and the Center for Contemporary Opera.
The pianist’s growing discography includes complete albums The Lads In Their Hundreds (2017), Wild Cities (2016), Bawd Ballads and Other Songs by Seymour Barab (2015), Francesca Anderegg (2015), and Vincent Millay Cycle (2012), as well as appearances on The Garden: Songs and Chamber Music of Tom Cipullo (2018) and New American Song @ SongFest (2016). He has been featured on radio broadcasts including WQXR’s Classical Beer Jam, Sirius XM’s Symphony Hall, and programs on Chicago’s WFMT and MPR (Minnesota Public Radio).
A South Carolina native, Funderburk holds bachelor’s degrees in music and biology from Wisconsin’s Lawrence University and a master’s from New York’s Juilliard School, where he served for four years as staff pianist in the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts. He currently lives in New York City, maintaining a private coaching studio.