Internationally renowned musician Martyn Brabbins appointed Visiting Professor of Conducting

Internationally renowned musician Martyn Brabbins appointed Visiting Professor of Conducting

Published: 27/01/2021

He’s the internationally renowned musician who has led the world’s top orchestras and opera houses. For more than thirty years, conductor Martyn Brabbins has been at the forefront of British music in a career that has taken him from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic to the Kirov, La Scala and his current position as music director at English National Opera.

Now, he will share his wealth of experience and passion for performance with students at Scotland’s national conservatoire in his new role as Visiting Professor of Conducting.

Martyn will impart his expertise and insight with the next generation at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he’ll work with students on the postgraduate conducting degree course.  He will also conduct the RCS Symphony Orchestra once a year, working with young instrumentalists and sharing his knowledge of orchestral life. Martyn will mentor the institution’s Leverhulme Conducting Fellows, a two-year programme that’s delivered in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and new music ensemble Red Note.

Conductor Martyn Brabbins smiles at the camera with his hands crossed in front of him

Image © Ben Ealovega

Martyn, who is a long-standing champion of professional, student and amateur music-making in the UK, said: “In August 1988, I made my professional conducting debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Ever since, Scotland, and particularly the wonderful BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, has featured prominently and consistently in my conducting life.

“Having myself benefitted from two years of conducting study in Leningrad with Ilya Musin, one of the 20th century’s legendary teachers, I have consistently tried to pass on to aspiring conductors some of the genius of Musin’s conducting method. Although much of the conductor’s individuality has to remain instinctive and personal, there certainly are elements that can be taught.

“I am honoured that the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has asked me to become Visiting Professor of Conducting, and look forward to engaging with the brilliant young conductors that the RCS attracts.”

Dr Gordon Munro, Director of Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Martyn Brabbins is an eminent musician of international acclaim and we are thrilled that he is joining us as Visiting Professor of Conducting. Our students will learn from one of the best, a musician who brings a rich musical pedigree and a commitment to cultivating the conductors of the future.”

Martyn joins an illustrious list of visiting artists and industry experts – all leaders in their field – who work with the professionals-in-training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, one of the world’s top ten destinations to study the performing arts*.

In October, the celebrated composer Errollyn Wallen CBE was appointed Visiting Professor of Composition. The multi-award-winning musician worked with composition students and rehearsed her cello concerto with the RCS String Orchestra and Teresa Riveiro Böhm, RCS Leverhulme Conducting Fellow.

Martyn, who was born in Leicester, 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.

An inspirational force in British music, he has enjoyed a busy opera career with positions at the Kirov and more recently at La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and regularly in Lyon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Antwerp.

He guests with 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 which, in 2019, commissioned fourteen living composers to write a birthday tribute to him. He is also a prolific recording artist with more than 120 CDs to date, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Birtwistle and Harvey. Martyn remains Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music in London, a post he has held since 2016.

The Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is for young conductors on the cusp of their careers who work extensively with teaching staff, visiting conductors and with all of the orchestras and ensembles within the conservatoire.

The position provides a unique blend of training within the context of a supportive environment and extensive professional links, both with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra where Fellows act as assistants to its chief conductor Thomas Dausgaard and other Scottish performing arts organisations such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The programme aims to act as a final bridge between a young conductor’s postgraduate study and their entry into the profession. Past Fellows include international artists:

  • Jessica Cottis principal conductor of Glasgow New Music Expedition
  • Holly Mathieson, music director of Symphony Nova Scotia and co-artistic director of the Nevis Ensemble
  • Fergus Macleod, assistant conductor at English National Opera
  • Ciarán McAuley, former resident conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Simon Proust, former assistant conductor of the Ensemble Intercontemporain
  • Ji?í Rože?, recent performances include appearances with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, MDR Leipzig and Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice.

The postgraduate conducting degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers unrivalled opportunities to observe and collaborate with the country’s major orchestras. Graduates include:

  • Ryan Bancroft, principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
  • Kerem Hasan, chief conductor of the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck
  • Wilson Ng, associate conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustav Mahler Orchestra.

Find out more about studying conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Main image ©Hyperion S Perry

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