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Martyn Brabbins

Conductor

Music Director, Huddersfield Choral Society
Visiting Professor of Conducting, Royal College of Music

  • British conductor Martyn Brabbins is known for his affinity with music of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, to which he brings a Romantic sensibility, unerring sense of pace and an extraordinary ear for detail. He has conducted hundreds of world premieres by leading international composers, has championed British music at home and abroad. After studying composition in London and then conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, he won first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition. Since then he has become a frequent guest with leading orchestras across the globe, and has held a succession of titles, notably Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005, Principal Guest of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic 2009-2015 and Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic 2012-2016 – remaining closely associated with all three.

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  • He has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra and La Scala Milan, and is a favourite of the BBC Proms, where in 2014 he shared the podium with Elder, Norrington and Gardner conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the First Night. He has visited the Bavarian State Opera and is also a regular guest conductor to the opera houses of Amsterdam, Lyon, Antwerp and Frankfurt.


    Last season’s highlights included his Rotterdam Philharmonic debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and debuts with WDR Cologne and Russian National Opera, both conducting Britten War Requiem. Brabbins led a series of high-profile opera engagements including his debut at Hungarian State Opera with Rake’s Progress, a Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky Peter Sellars double-bill with Opéra de Lyon, Tristan and Isolde at Grange Park Opera, and Andriessen’s rarely-heard La Commedia in-concert with BBC Symphony.


    2016 /17 highlights include re-invitations to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and performances of A Dog’s Heart with Dutch National Opera. He returns to Royal Flemish Philharmonic for the world premiere of an Aho concerto, and concerts with the BBC Scottish include the beginning of a Tippett Symphony cycle and a concert performance of Birtwistle’s A Last Supper.


    Martyn Brabbins has recorded around 120 CDs to date, his extensive discography ranges from Romantic to contemporary repertoire. He won the Gramophone Award for Birtwistle’s Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony (NMC), the Cannes Opera Award for Korngold's Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CPO), and the Grand Prix du Disque in the 2013 opera category for his recording of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream.


    Brabbins is an inspirational force in British music, and has contributed significantly over the years, conducting almost all the major UK orchestras and appearing at the major British festivals on many occasions. He was Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007, and is currently Music Director to the Huddersfield Choral Society with whom he has had a long association – one of the many ways in which he supports both professional and amateur music-making at the highest level in the UK. He is a leading advocate of British composers across the globe, and an inspiration to young conductors in his annual course at the St Magnus Festival on Orkney. This season, Brabbins takes up a new position as Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music.

    2016-17 season / 529 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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Sample programmes

Easter:
MacMillan Exsultet (version for symphonic brass)
Gubaidulina Seven Words upon the Cross
De Sabata Gethsemani (comtemplative poem)
Wagner Parsifal: Extracts 


Slavic:
Dvorák The Noonday Witch
Lutoslawski Cello Concerto
Interval
Pärt Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten
Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta 


World War I:
Gurney War Elegy / Ravel Mother Goose Suite
Beamish Violin Concerto
Interval
Walton Symphony No.1 / Vaughan Williams Symphony No.3 'Pastoral'


Songs and Dances:
Mussorgsky Songs and Dances of Death (Pesni i plyaski smerti) (mezzo soprano & orchestra)
Fujikura Song cycle in a new orchestral version
Interval
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel) 


“Firsts” – including a first performance by Kalevi Aho:
Beethoven Symphony no.1
Aho Trombone Concerto
Interval
Shostakovich Symphony no.1


Sibelius/Shostakovich:
Sibelius En Saga
A concerto
Shostakovich Symphony no.5 


Heroics:
Elgar Falstaff
Rachmaninov The Miserly Knight 


Dance of the Earth:
Birtwistle Earth Dances
Stravinsky Sacre de Printemps


Heavenly Bodies:
Harvey Body Mandela / Ades Asyla / Anderson Stations of the Sun
Holst The Planets  


Bartok/Hindemith
Bartok Miraculous Mandarin suite 
Bartok Piano Concerto No.1 
Interval
Hindemith Trauermusik (Viola solo)
Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis, on theme by Weber 

Opera repertoire

Beethoven 
Fidelio


Bartok 
Blaubart


Birtwistle 
The Mask of Orpheus


Bloch 
Macbeth


Britten 
All


Bryars 
Medea


Dallapiccola
Il Prigioniero
Volo di Notte


Debussy 
Pelleas


Henze 
Der Prinz von Homburg


Janáček 
All


Knaifl 
Alice in Wonderland


Korngold 
Die Kathrin


Mozart
Magic Flute
Don Giovanni
Le nozze di Figaro
Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail 


Mussorgsky
Boris Godounov
Khovanschina


Poulenc
Voix humaine
Les mamelles de Tiresias


Prokofiev
Gambler
Fiery Angel
Love of 3 Oranges
War & Peace


Puccini
All


Rachmaninov
Aleko
Francesca da Rimini
The Miserly Knight


Raskatov
A Dog’s Heart


Ravel
L’enfant et les sortileges


Sawyer
From Morning to Midnight


Schreker
Der Ferne Klang


Smetana
Bartered Bride


Strauss
All


Stravinsky
Marva
Nightingale
Rake’s Progress


Tchaikovsky
Queen of Spades
Eugene Onegin
Mazzeppa
Cherevichki


Tippett
Child of our Time (staged oratorio)


Verdi
Othello
Falstaff


Wagner
The Flying Dutchman
Tannhäuser
Die Walküre (act 1)


Zemlinsky
Der Zwerg 


Also possible: Borodin, Dvořák, Glinka, Martinu, Korngold, Rimsky-Korsakoff

Praise, above all, to Martyn Brabbins. A musician’s musician, he can turn his hand with ease and perception to anything. His Tristan und Isolde was alive and agile, each act unfurling slowly towards the climax, steady, transparent, explosive.

Guardian

Martyn Brabbins has a strong empathy for Zemlinsky’s musical language, demonstrating a masterly control of pacing… refined and subtle playing… ideal balance between textural clarity and Romantic warmth.

BBC Music Magazine

… Lucidly conducted. Martyn Brabbins, in charge of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, finds the natural ebb and flow in Tchaikovsky’s score and is instinctive in his support of the cast.

Independent

Intermusica represents Martyn Brabbins worldwide

Susie Mcleod
Director, Artist Management
+44 20 7608 9920
smcleod@intermusica.co.uk

Sana Khan
Associate Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9923
skhan@intermusica.co.uk

Michelle Laimeche
Administrator, Artist Management
+44 20 7608 9943
mlaimeche@intermusica.co.uk

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All artists

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Stage director

David Alden

Andreas Homoki

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles