Brent Runnels has fashioned a broad and diverse musical career as a performer, arts administrator and advocate, educator and musical entrepreneur.
As a pianist Brent Runnels has won critical acclaim for his performances in the US , Europe , Australia and Russia as an orchestral and recital soloist, chamber musician, and jazz pianist. He is the top-award winner of the New Orleans International Piano Competition and the Jacksonville Classical Piano Competition. Mr. Runnels has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the Atlanta Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Kosice State Philharmonic, Ural Academic Philharmonic, Slovak Sinfonietta of Zilina, Florida Orchestra, Florida Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Mansfield Symphony, Brevard Symphony and the Gwinnett Philharmonic. He has given recitals in London , Prague , New York , Chicago , Los Angeles , Sydney and Atlanta . Chamber music has become a significant part of his performance career. He is the founder and pianist of The Inman Piano Trio, an ensemble represented by Philip Truckenbrod Concert Artists known for performances of the masterpieces of the trio repertoire as well as unusual and rarely heard chamber works. He has performed extensively as a jazz pianist and has appeared with such jazz artists as Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, Gene Bertoncini, Lou Soloff, Laurie Holloway and Warren Covington. In 1993 and 1994 he toured central Europe with John Whitney as the Runnels/Whitney Jazz Piano Duo.
Brent Runnels also sings professionally with The Schola of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta , where he is a staff tenor and director of the concert series.
Brent Runnels maintains a strong commitment to arts education and support for the performing arts. He is Executive and Artistic Director of Orchestra Atlanta, Inc., a not-for-profit cultural organization based in Atlanta that conducts summer classical and jazz music camps and presents performances of chamber music and jazz. From 1993-1999 he was founder and Artistic Director of the Orlando Jazz Festival. He has been a frequent guest at the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic and has given masterclasses for the European Piano Teacher’s Association in Prague , Brno and as guest artist at the Urals Summer International Academy of Arts in Novouralsk , Russia . Mr. Runnels has taught on the music faculties of Rollins College , Concordia College , the Manhattan School of Music and Georgia State University .
Brent Runnels trained with Constance Keene and John Browning as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York . There he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as well as the school’s highest graduate honor, the Harold Bauer Award. Other pianists he has worked with are Karl Ulrich Schnabel, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Martino Tirimo, Richard Goode and George Driscoll. A native of Rockville , Maryland , he is a member of the international roster of Steinway Artists.
Critical praise for performances by Brent Runnels:
"great capacity for lyricism and tonal nuance ..."- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“featured a crystalline performance by pianist Brent Runnels." - Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Runnels plays with freedom, bravura and a big surging sound." - Orlando Sentinel
“gloriously played and rapturously received ... (Inman Piano Trio) – Des Moines Register
“the evening’s highlight was the Concerto in A minor by Edvard Grieg. Guest pianist Brent Runnels showed no signs of fatigue despite driving 1,100 miles from Atlanta after flights were grounded. His playing was beautiful; equally effective where asked to express boldness or a softer sensibility.” – Lubbock Avalanche-Journal ( September 16, 2001)