Brett Dean


Australian composer Brett Dean became the LPO’s Composer-in-Residence for three years from September 2020.

LPO partnership

The Orchestra worked closely with Dean on his opera Hamlet, which was premiered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2017 to great acclaim, winning both the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Award and the International Opera Award for Best New Opera. During his LPO residency he has also taken on the role of Composer Mentor to the LPO Young Composers, providing guidance and expertise to the five rising stars and conducting their annual Debut Sounds showcase, which this year takes place on 13 July 2023 at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

In December 2020 the LPO and Vladimir Jurowski gave the UK premiere of Dean’s The Players for orchestra and accordion, filmed at the Royal Festival Hall, broadcast and still available to watch on Marquee TV. On 9 February 2022 the Orchestra performed Dean’s Viola Concerto with soloist Lawrence Power, and on 18 January 2023 gave a performance of his Amphitheatre.

Background and music

Brett Dean began composing in 1988, initially concentrating on experimental film and radio projects and as an improvising performer. His reputation as a composer continued to develop, and it was through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music (1995), which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and Carlo (1997) for strings, sampler and tape, inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo, that he gained international recognition.

Dean enjoys a busy performing career as violist and conductor, performing his own Viola Concerto with the world’s leading orchestras. He is a natural chamber musician, frequently collaborating with other soloists and ensembles to perform both his own chamber works and standard repertoire. Dean’s imaginative conducting programmes usually centre around his own works combined with other composers: highlights include his appointment as Creative Chair at the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich 2017/18; projects with the BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon and Tonkünstler-Orchester; and as Artist-in-Residence with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

This season

September 2022 saw the world premiere of In This Brief Moment for double chorus and orchestra, performed at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall by the CBSO & Chorus under Nicholas Collon; the work was commissioned by the Orchestre National de Lyon, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the CBSO. Also this season Dean conducts the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and soprano Jennifer France in two recorded concerts at Örebro Concert Hall, including performances of his own composition And once I played Ophelia. Further premieres this season include the Australian premiere of the piano concerto Gneixendorf Music; A Winter’s Journey with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; the world premiere of a new work for the Bavarian State Orchestra; and the German premiere of In This Brief Moment with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. Dean’s critically acclaimed opera Hamlet also returned for a run of performances at the Bayerische Staatsoper in May 2023.

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