A musician of striking versatility, GRAMMY® Award winning conductor Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and his warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. His tenures as music director with the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in operatic, choral, British and contemporary repertoire. Mr. Tovey who is entering his twelfth season as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, also continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and as founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall. In 2008, both orchestras co-commissioned him to write a new work, the well-received Urban Runway, which has also been premiered in Canada.
An esteemed guest conductor, Mr. Tovey has worked with orchestras in the United States and Europe including the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. In North America, Mr. Tovey has made guest appearances with the orchestras of Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle and Montreal as well as ongoing performances with Toronto, wherehis trumpet concerto, commissioned by that orchestra received its premiere in winter of 2009 as a preview of his first full-length opera “The Inventor” premiered in Calgary in winter 2011. To his alreadybusy summer schedule in 2011 he added debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony as well as a return visit to the Philadelphia Orchestra, this time in their summer series in Saratoga, NY. Highlights of the 2010/11 season in Vancouver included Verdi's Requiem, the Canadian premiere of Adam's Dr. Atomic Symphony and a 'Bach and Beyond' series that featured the music of Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, and Mendelssohn concluding with a performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor. In 2009 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, he toured China and South Korea with guest artist Hillary Hahn. The VSO was the first orchestra from Canada to perform in China in 30 years, ending their tour with a performance at the Beijing Music Festival—another first for a Canadian symphony. In 2009/10 season, in addition to appearances with the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he lead the Vancouver Symphony in Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Toronto Mendelssohn and Vancouver Bach choirs and an international cast at the cultural Olympiad of the winter Olympic Games.
With a profound commitment to new music, Mr. Tovey has established himself as a formidable composer and is the first artist to win a Juno Award in both conducting and composing. Prior to hismusic directorship in Vancouver, Mr. Tovey spent twelve years as music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, where he founded its highly regarded New Music Festival. A significant milestone in the ensemble’s exploration of new music, the festival premiered more than 250 works by diverse international and Canadian composers under Mr. Tovey’s leadership, with every performance broadcast on Canada’s CBC Radio. Mr. Tovey’s other accomplishments as a composer include receiving the Best Canadian Classical Composition 2003 Juno Award for his Requiem for a Charred Skull, performed and recorded by the Amadeus Choir and the Hannaford Band in Toronto. Mr. Tovey has also built a strong reputation as an accomplished jazz pianist with two recordings to his name and has made memorable appearances on television, including two documentaries with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a 1996 CBC TV broadcast of Victor Davies’ Revelation, a full length oratorio based on the Book of Revelation, with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He has an extensive back catalogue including recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra, Halle and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra He has also recorded several DVDs, of works including Holst’s The Planets Suite and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony as well as a solo recording with distinguished guests such as percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, among many others. His recording with the Vancouver Symphony and James Ehnes of the Walton, Korngold and Barber concerti received both GRAMMY® and Juno Awards in 2007.
Awarded numerous honorary degrees, Mr. Tovey has received a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Fellowship from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a prestigious Canadian prize awarded to premier artists for outstanding contributions in professional performing arts organizations.