Martyn Brabbins graciously agreed to become the President of FCMG in October 2015.
Martyn Brabbins was Music Director of the English National Opera from 2016-2023. 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 guests with top international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, San Francisco Symphony, DSO Berlin and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, as well as the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony and most of the other leading UK orchestras. Known for his advocacy of British composers, he has also conducted hundreds of world premieres across the globe. 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 Prince Consort Professor of Conducting at the Royal College of Music, Visiting Professor at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and Artistic Advisor to the Huddersfield Choral Society, and has for many years supported professional, student and amateur music-making at the highest level in the UK.
Brabbins’ extensive discography ranges from Romantic to contemporary repertoire, notably of Elgar, Walton and Tippett. He has recorded nearly 150 CDs to date, with over 60 recordings for Hyperion Records alone, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Harrison Birtwistle and Harvey. He has received two Gramophone Awards, one for Birtwistle Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony (NMC), and another in 2021 for Pickard chamber works with the Nash Ensemble (BIS); also the Cannes Opera Award for Korngold Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CPO), and the Grand Prix du Disque for his recording of Jonathan Harvey Wagner Dream. Birtwistle Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony (NMC), the Cannes Opera Award for Korngold Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CPO), and the Grand Prix du Disque for his recording of Jonathan Harvey Wagner Dream.
Brabbins 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. In 2019, the BBC Proms commissioned 14 living composers to write a birthday tribute to him and in 2023 Brabbins received the RPS Conductor Award for his “colossal” contribution to UK musical life.
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