Brent Taghap is a violinist from the Tampa Bay area. Brent holds degrees from Florida State University (BM ’16) and from DePaul University (MM ’18; Certificate in Performance 20’). His primary teachers include Eliot Chapo, Corinne Stillwell, and Janet Sung.
As an active performer, Brent has been a part of numerous ensembles in Chicago including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Oistrakh Symphony, the Matt Jones Orchestra, and Unsupervised, a conductorless chamber orchestra. He has also spent summers at festivals and institutions such as the Varna International Music Festival (Austria/Italy), Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival (Vermont, USA), and the National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado, USA).
As an educator, Brent has been active as a mentor with the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, an organization dedicated to working with students from underrepresented backgrounds within Classical Music. He also teaches privately, working with students of all ages and backgrounds.
In addition to his studies of traditional Western classical music, Brent is also interested in preserving, cataloguing, and performing works by Filipino composers in the hopes that they will become part of the canon of works for violin. Other interests include sleeping, eating, going to art museums, hanging out with friends, and playing with his cat, Wren.
Who is your favorite composer and why?
It’s definitely hard for me to pick just one favorite composer! Some favorites off the top of my head include J.S. Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Dvorak, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. It really depends on my mood or what vibe I’m looking for. I also really love Prokofiev, Ligeti, Andrew Norman, and others!
What is your favorite musical memory from when you were young?
One of my favorite musical memories from my teens was participating in the Florida All-State Orchestra program. The big piece on the program was Mahler’s monumental first symphony. We prepared just the first movement, which is challenging enough for a young violinist. The symphony begins very quietly and I remember feeling so engrossed in the performance, almost as if time itself had stopped. The whole concert felt like magic. My peers and I were moving, breathing, and playing together like one organism.