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Martyn Brabbins

Conductor
Music Director, English National Opera
Artistic Advisor, Huddersfield Choral Society
Visiting Professor of Conducting, Royal College of Music

  • Martyn Brabbins is Music Director of the English National Opera. An inspirational force in British music, Brabbins has had a busy opera career since his early days at the Kirov and more recently at La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and regularly in Lyon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Antwerp. He is a popular figure at the BBC Proms and with most of the leading British orchestras, and regularly visits top international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, DSO Berlin and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. Known for his advocacy of British composers, he has also conducted hundreds of world premieres across the globe. He has recorded over 120 CDs to date, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Birtwistle and Harvey. He was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005, Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic 2009-2015, Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic 2012-2016, and Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music and Music Director to the Huddersfield Choral Society alongside his duties at ENO, and has for many years supported professional, student and amateur music-making at the highest level in the UK.

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  • In June 2019 Brabbins made his San Francisco Symphony debut conducting Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, appearing two weeks later at the Grant Park Festival in Chicago. Then in August, to mark his 60th birthday the BBC Proms commissioned a set of variations by 14 living composers, mirroring Elgar’s Enigma Variations (also in the programme). Brabbins was joined by the BBC Scottish Symphony, English National Opera Chorus and BBC Singers for the televised concert which also included Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music.


    To open the 19/20 season Brabbins conducts a new production of Birtwistle’s Mask of Orpheus at English National Opera - the first London staging since its debut 30 years ago, also at ENO; with Madame Butterfly later in the season. In May 2020 he conducts the world premiere of Thierry Escaich’s Khosrow et Chirine at the Opera National de Lyon. Symphonic highlights include the continuation of his acclaimed Vaughan Williams cycle with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican; a Shostakovich/Mussorgsky programme with the Royal Philharmonic in their London season; the European premiere of his Proms Enigma commission with the Antwerp Symphony, where he has a long association; and his return to Suntory Hall with the Tokyo Symphony to give the Japan premiere of Macmillan’s Trombone Concerto.


    Brabbins’ extensive discography ranges from Romantic to contemporary repertoire, with over 50 recordings for Hyperion Records alone, notably of Elgar, Walton and Tippett. 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 for his recording of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream.


    He studied composition in London and conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, subsequently winning first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition, launching his international career.

    Martyn Brabbins is represented by Intermusica.
    2019/2020 season /498 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

Bartok 
Blaubart


Bell
Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel


Beethoven 
Fidelio


Berg
Wozzeck


Birtwistle 
The Mask of Orpheus
The Second Mrs Kong


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)


Vaughan-Williams
Pilgrims Progress


Verdi
Othello
Falstaff


Wagner
The Flying Dutchman
Tannhäuser
Die Walküre (act 1)


Walton
Troilus and Cressida


Zemlinsky
Der Zwerg 


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

Once in a while, a performance comes along that focus an understanding of a familiar work in a new way – or recaptures an insight that might have been lost. Martyn Brabbins's Enigma Variations is revelatory. Brabbins’ performance as a whole is a reminder of what a masterpiece of construction Enigma truly is….shows that ardour and subtlety can be two sides of the same complicated coin.

BBC Music Magazine

Brabbins's instinct for structure, honed from years of experience in modern music, pays off handsomely….This Sea Symphony feels like the herald of a new age

Opera Today

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Intermusica represents Martyn Brabbins worldwide

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

Kimberley Bourlet
Assistant Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9943
kbourlet@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Clarinet

Mark Simpson

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles