“Justin Brown, a young British conductor of exceptional gifts (witnessed by his recent recording of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony), has made the Alabama Symphony into one of the finest, and most daring, regional orchestras in the country…Having heard the Alabama perform the Eroica in 2007, I was not surprised by the quality of their Beethoven Seventh. This was Justin Brown’s Carnegie Hall debut, and it was long overdue.”
Internationally recognized in both the symphonic and operatic repertoires, Justin Brown is Music Director Laureate of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and General Music Director of the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany. In his six seasons with the Alabama Symphony, he won recognition for the orchestra across the country, particularly as a vibrant center for contemporary music (the orchestra received a first-place ASCAP award in 2010 and 2012, and the 2011 John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music). Building on the success of recent years, the Alabama Symphony performed a highly acclaimed concert in Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring for Music Festival in May 2012.
Mr. Brown has recently made extremely well-received debuts in both Cincinnati (“Standing before the Cincinnati Symphony was an exceptional conductor, English-born Justin Brown…”) and Colorado (“I cannot stress enough that this performance was the best I have heard [Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome]…”). Next season’s debuts include the symphonies of Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Oregon.
In Karlsruhe, which has a rich and historical Wagner tradition, Justin Brown has been celebrated for his conducting of The Ring, as well as the late operas of Verdi and Strauss. During the 2011/12 season, his interpretations of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Wagner’s Lohengrin, and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier received rave reviews in the European press. During the upcoming season, he will direct new productions of Tannhäuser and Peter Grimes (celebrating Britten’s centennial year). Since becoming music director in 2008, he has also significantly expanded the Badische Staatskapelle Orchestra’s repertoire through a range of diverse programming. During 2012/13, Mr. Brown will conduct Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and works by Thomas Adès, Jonny Greenwood and Alfred Schnittke. He was recently selected by critics in Opernwelt’s yearly review in both Berlin and Frankfurt as best conductor of the year. In addition, the Staatskapelle Orchestra was selected by one critic as best orchestra of the year, and the Badisches Staatstheater’s production of Delius’s Village Romeo and Juliet was cited several times as best ‘lesser-known’ opera production.
As guest conductor, Justin Brown has worked with many of the world’s top orchestras, including, in the UK: 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 and Dallas symphonies; and further afield: the Malaysian Philharmonic, São Paolo Symphony, Sydney Symphony and the Tokyo Philharmonic.
Since beginning his opera career at the English National Opera and Scottish Opera, Mr. Brown has conducted at Covent Garden, Santa Fé, La Monnaie, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Opéra de Nantes, Opéra de Strasbourg, Teatro San Carlo/Lisbon and the Norwegian Opera. In December 2010, he made his Bavarian State Opera (Munich) debut with L’Elisir d’amore.
Justin Brown’s recordings include a critically acclaimed recording of the Elgar and Barber cello concertos with Anne Gastinel and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on the French label, NAÏVE. His recording of Peter Lieberson’s The Six Realms won a 2006 WQXR Gramophone American Award, and was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Recording category. For Bridge Records, his CD of Gershwin’s complete music for Piano and Orchestra, with Anne-Marie McDermott and the Dallas Symphony was designated as an Editor’s Choice by Gramophone Magazine. Also for Bridge, he has recorded works by Carter, Ruders, Gershwin and Dvo?ák.
Born in England, Justin Brown studied at Cambridge University and at Tanglewood with Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein; he later served as an assistant to both Bernstein and Luciano Berio. He made his highly acclaimed conducting debut with the British stage première of Bernstein’s Mass. Also in demand as a pianist, Mr. Brown has garnered high praise for his performances on both sides of the Atlantic. He has played and directed concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, and performs regularly in chamber music series both in the United States and Germany.