Sir Brian was born in Hitchin in Hertfordshire.He read law at the University of Bristol and Comparative Law at the University of Strasbourg.

In 1968Sir Brian joined EMI Records as a member of their International ClassicalDivision. In 1973 he went to English National Opera as Controller of Opera Planning and threeyears later joined Welsh National Opera as Managing Director, where he remained until1991.During the period 1984-89 he was also Artistic Director of Vancouver Opera.SirBrian was Director of the Edinburgh International Festival from 1991 to 2006.

In July 2007, the Secretary of State for Culture, asked SirBrian to undertake a reviewto report on:

· how artistic excellence can encourage widerand deeper engagement with the arts by audiences

· how to establish a light touch andnon-bureaucratic method to judge the quality of the arts in the future.

The McMaster Review resulted in the reportSupporting Excellence in the Arts from Measurement to Judgement, which was published inJanuary 2008.