Martyn Brabbins is Music Director of the English National Opera. 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 is a popular figure at the BBC Proms and with most of the leading British orchestras, and regularly visits top international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, DSO Berlin and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony (all of whom he conducted last season).
Known for his advocacy of British composers, he has also conducted hundreds of world premieres across the globe. He has recorded over 120 CDs to date, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Birtwistle and Harvey. 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 currently Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music and Music Director to the Huddersfield Choral Society alongside his duties at ENO, and has for many years supported professional, student and amateur music-making at the highest level in the UK.
In 2017/18 at English National Opera Brabbins conducts the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie and a revival of Marriage of Figaro – his first productions as Music Director. He launches a Vaughan Williams symphonic cycle with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican (and recorded for Hyperion) and tours Holland with the BBC Scottish Symphony, with whom he continues his Tippett symphony cycle at the Glasgow City Halls and also for Hyperion. He celebrates the London Sinfonietta’s 50th birthday at the Southbank, and conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Holland Festival 2018. In Summer 2017 he conducts Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Philharmonia at Three Choirs and he also conducts the final concert of the Edinburgh International Festival with the BBC Scottish Symphony.
Brabbins’ extensive discography ranges from Romantic to contemporary repertoire. He won the Gramophone Award for Birtwistle’s Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony (NMC), the Cannes Opera Award for Korngold's Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CPO), and the Grand Prix du Disque in the 2013 opera category for his recording of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream.
He studied composition in London and conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, subsequently winning first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition, launching his international career.