Justin Brown Music Director Laureate
British conductor Justin Brown enjoys an international reputation in both the symphonic and operatic fields. After six seasons with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Brown has become Music Director Laureate; he will conduct several performances in the 2012-2013 Season and be the featured pianist on a Concertmaster & Friends concert in February, 2013. He continues to be the General Music Director of the Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe.
In his six seasons with the Alabama Symphony, Mr. Brown won recognition for the ASO across the country, in particular as a vibrant destination for contemporary music. Under his direction, the ASO was awarded three prestigious ASCAP awards for dedication to new music, one each in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In addition to commissioning many new works, Mr. Brown has conducted major works by distinguished composers such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, John Adams and Peter Lieberson. Mr. Brown and the ASO have also collaborated with highly-esteemed soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleischer, Leila Josefowicz, Yefim Bronfman and Joshua Bell. Building on the success, the orchestra received a invitation to perform in Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring for Music Festival in May 2012, one of only six invited orchestras. The concert was a resounding success.
In Karlsruhe, which has a rich and historical Wagner tradition, Mr. Brown has been particularly celebrated for his conducting of The Ring as well as the late operas of Verdi and Strauss. Since he took on the position of GMD in 2008, he has also significantly expanded the symphonic repertoire through a range of diverse programming including Varèse Ameriques and Mahler's 10th Symphony (the Cooke completion).
As a guest conductor Justin Brown has worked with many of the world's top orchestras, including in the U.K., the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony; in Scandinavia, the Oslo Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic and Swedish Chamber Orchestra; in mainland Europe, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Symphony, Musikkollegium Winterthur and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse; in the United States, the Indianapolis Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestras; and further afield, the Malaysian Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestras.
Since beginning his opera career at the English National Opera and Scottish Opera, he has conducted at Covent Garden, Santa Fé, La Monnaie, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Opèra de Nantes, Opèra de Strasbourg, Teatro San Carlo Lisbon and the Norwegian Opera. Future engagements include productions of Götterdämmerung, Der Rosenkavalier, La Traviata and Katya Kabanova in Karlsruhe and in December 2010 he made his Bavarian State Opera debut with L'Elisir d'Amore.
Justin Brown's recordings include a critically acclaimed recording of Elgar and Barber Cello Concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Anne Gastinel (Naïve). For Bridge Records he has recorded works by Elliott Carter and Poul Ruders as well as Gershwin and Dvorák, while his recording of Peter Lieberson's "The Six Realms" won a 2006 WQXR Gramophone American Award, and was nominated for a Grammy (Best Classical Recording). His Bridge release of Gershwin's complete music for Piano and Orchestra with Anne-Marie McDermott and the Dallas Symphony was chosen as an Editor's Choice by Gramophone Magazine. Under Brown's direction, the ASO recorded the three commissioned works by Paul Lansky (Imaginary Islands, Shapeshifters and With the Grain) on the Bridge label. The 2012 recording has already received great acclaim, including a 10/10 review on ClassicsToday.com.
Justin Brown studied at Cambridge University and at Tanglewood with Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein and was later assistant to both Bernstein and Luciano Berio. He made his conducting debut with the celebrated British stage première of Bernstein's Mass. In addition to his conducting work, Justin Brown is also in demand as a pianist and as such has garnered high praise including performances with the ASO where he played and directed concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, as well as performing regularly in the chamber music series.