Fernando Brandao

Associate Professor
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  • Career Highlights
    • Flutist with extensive orchestra, solo, and chamber music experience throughout Brazil and New England
    • Leader of own septet featuring several Berklee faculty members and of the group Alma
    • Member of groups Brasilis, Sergio Brandão and Manga-Rosa, the Teresa Inês Quintet, and Choro Democrático
    • Performances and/or recordings with Pablo Ablanedo, Kris Adams, Leni Andrade, Leandro Braga, Emmanuel Music, George Garzone, Marta Gomez, Greg Hopkins, Toninho Horta, Los Changos, Bill Pierce, Bruno Raberg, Gilson Schachnik, Luciana Souza, and John Stein
    • Author of the a play-along book series Brazilian and Afro-Cuban Jazz Conception, published in English, German, and Japanese by Advance Music
    • Studio recordings in Brazil and the United States on Chesky Records, Glider Records, Global Village Records, Narada Lotus, Ouver Records, and Vee Records
    • Faculty member at Longy School of Music and the Community Music Center of Boston
    • Guest artist at Jordan Hall and Pickman Hall
  • Awards
    • Winner of prizes including national competitions in Brazil 
    • Pappoutsakis Flute Competition in Boston (1991)
  • Education
    • B.M., Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
    • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
    • Artist diploma, Longy School of Music

In Their Own Words

"Working with both classical and popular music has been fundamental for me to develop sound control, dynamics, reading, playing in tune, listening, interpreting a variety of styles, playing by ear, and improvising and developing melodic and rhythmic ideas on the spot. I try to keep challenging myself with new experiences, and they help me to be a better teacher."

"When it comes to instrumental technique, I try to make rhythm the focus of the technical approach, understanding rhythm both theoretically and practically, and solving technical problems through understanding and incorporation of rhythmic elements. Rhythm is your technique."

"I tell private students that improvisation does not imply playing with a bad sound and unclear articulation. A full tone, clear articulation, and variety of tone color and dynamics are fundamental for clarity in your phrasing, independent of the music style you play. When teaching a groove, I talk to students about the music and social history of its musical styles, and among other things, explain the differences between bossa and samba. I ask them to sing the rhythms with feeling, not just the written rhythms. If they can groove when they sing, they can certainly groove when they play."

"In ensemble classes, I tell students that the music is going to be fun but challenging—not just for the rhythm section, but for the whole band. The groove is essential, but I also like the ensemble to experience playing kicks, basslines, dynamics, long form tunes, and elaborate arrangements. I often choose songs people don't know, to expose them to contemporary composers. I try to bring in about five to six styles a semester. From the northeastern part of the country I might bring in baião, afoxé, or frevo; from the southeast (like Rio), besides bossa and samba, I might bring in choro or maxixe."

"The most important thing I want for my students is musicality in playing whatever they want to play: expression with rhythm, with pulse, and with movement. To make a beautiful sound, it doesn't need to be one kind of sound, but it does need to be expressive. I also want them to be aware of the culture, to be aware of what they're playing, and feel confidence in it. I try to make students aware—without being self-conscious—of how their body works with the instrument when they're performing."