Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra & Pekka Huusisto and BBC Schottish Symphony Orchestra & Martyn Brabbins

Biography Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra & Pekka Huusisto and BBC Schottish Symphony Orchestra & Martyn Brabbins

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra & Pekka Huusisto and BBC Schottish Symphony Orchestra & Martyn BrabbinsHelsinki Philharmonic Orchestra & Pekka Huusisto and BBC Schottish Symphony Orchestra & Martyn Brabbins

Martyn Brabbins
was Music Director of English National Opera 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 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. He is a popular figure at the BBC Proms, who in 2019 commissioned 14 living composers to write a birthday tribute to him. Known for his advocacy of British composers, he has conducted hundreds of world premieres across the globe. He has recorded nearly 150 CDs to date, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Birtwistle and Harvey. In 2023 he received the RPS Conductor Award for his "colossal" contribution to UK musical life.

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.

In Autumn 2023, Brabbins opened the season at English National Opera with Britten Peter Grimes, directed by David Alden. Other highlights of the season include concerts with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican; Tippett’s opera, New Year, in concert and recorded with BBC Scottish Symphony; Handel’s Messiah with Opera North and the Huddersfield Choral Society, and a return to the Aldeburgh Festival with Nash Ensemble, whom he also conducts earlier next season in their Brett Dean focus. Concerts abroad range from Wagner, Elgar and Beethoven with the Symphony Orchestra of India, Rachmaninoff with Malmo, Vaughan Williams with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias, and Szymanowski with the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra.

His discography ranges from Romantic to contemporary repertoire, with over 60 recordings for Hyperion Records alone, notably of Elgar, Walton and Tippett. He has received two Gramophone Awards, one for Birtwistle’s 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's Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CPO), and the Grand Prix du Disque for Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream.

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

Pekka Kuusisto
is renowned for his artistic freedom and fresh approach to repertoire. Widely recognised for his flair in directing ensembles, Kuusisto is Artistic Partner with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He is also Artistic Director of the ACO Collective and Artistic Best Friend of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Highlights of the 2019/20 season include concerto appearances with the NDR Elbphilharmonie, Chicago, NHK, Gothenburg, MDR, Swedish Radio and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras, and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich where he is an artist “In Focus”. Kuusisto returns as violinist-director-conductor to the Tapiola Sinfonietta, and the Norwegian, Swedish and Scottish chamber orchestras. He is also the main guest artist for Amsterdam’s annual Prinsengrachtconcert, where he joins the Camerata RCO for the largest classical open-air concert in the Netherlands.

The Finnish violinist is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music. This season he will perform the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s violin concerto co-commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Recital Centre, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra with the kind support of the MCO Foundation and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He will world premiere Enrico Chapela’s violin concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, as well as performing other concertos written for him including Daníel Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto and Anders Hillborg’s Bach Materia. In recent seasons Kuusisto has also premiered new works by Sauli Zinovjev, Philip Venables and Andrea Tarrodi.

Kuusisto is a gifted improviser and regularly engages with people across the artistic spectrum. Uninhibited by conventional genre boundaries and noted for his innovative programming, recent projects have included collaborations with Hauschka and Kosminen, Dutch neurologist Erik Scherder, pioneer of electronic music Brian Crabtree, eminent jazz-trumpeter Arve Henriksen, juggler Jay Gilligan, accordionist Dermot Dunne and folk artist Sam Amidon.

He has worked with South-Korean artist Aamu Song on the project REDDRESS which blurs boundaries between performance and visual art. Together with Samuli-Kosminen, Kuusisto co-composed the score to the new animated Moominvalley television series. He has also collaborated with Cannes award winning director Juho Kuosmanen in the Greenpeace campaign film ‘The Elegy of the Forest’.

Kuusisto has released several recordings, notably for Ondine and BIS. He has recently recorded Hillborg’s Bach Materia and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos.3 and 4 with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard for BIS, and Thomas Adès’ violin concerto Concentric Paths with the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon for release on Deutsche Grammophon. Past releases include Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Noesis concerto for violin and orchestra for Ondine and Sebastian Fagerlund’s violin concerto Darkness in Light for BIS, both recorded with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Hannu Lintu.

Other recent season highlights have included concerto appearances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln and Philharmonia. He has recently toured Europe with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and the UK and Singapore with the Aurora Orchestra.

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