Brandon Keith Brown
American conductor Brandon Keith Brown, now resident in Berlin, is one of the most enterprising and skilful artists in classical music today.
Originally from North Carolina, he studied violin with renowned teachers Roland and Almita Vamos at Oberlin Conservatory and Northwestern University, where he gained his first conducting experience. He attended conducting masterclasses in Aspen with David Zinman (now his primary mentor); in Manhatten and Leipzig with Kurt Masur; and worked with Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival on operatic repertoire.
In 2011 he graduated from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He then moved to Europe to expand his experiences in masterclasses at the Salzburg Festival; in Leipzig; and at the Tonhalle in Zurich. In 2012 he was chosen by the Vienna Philharmonic to receive the Ansbacher Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival. In the same year, he achieved third place in the Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition, conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Wagner and Ravel, and was described by journalists as “the stand-out audience favourite”.
In April 2013, Brown gave a celebrated European debut with the Badische Staatskapelle, executing an "extremely demanding program which was mastered by the young conductor with flying colors" (Klassik.com). This led to a debut with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, to which he was promptly re-invited. In 2014, he won the Mendelssohn Fellowship to study with Kurt Masur in Leipzig.
Since then he has conducted the Staatskapelle Weimar, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and in 2018 made his debut with the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra, and conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic at the Tokyo International Competition. Engagements in the 2019/20 season included conducting the WDR Funkhausorchester, Bilkent Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Simon Bolivar Symphony, State Philharmonic of Košice and Johannesburg Philharmonic.
As an accomplished opera conductor, Brown has directed, among others, performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mozart's Così Fan Tutte and Puccini's Suor Angelica. He has also assisted on Britten's Albert Herring and studied Puccini's Il Trittico under Lorin Maazel.
A passionate educator, he has a wealth of experience as a university professor and youth orchestra leader. In addition, in 2011 and 2012 he conducted members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the opera camps for children of the Salzburg Festival.
Brown fights to change the racial conscience of society through classical music. His writings on race and classical music have been featured internationally including NPR's Here and Now, DIE ZEIT, The Medium, Deutschlandfunk/Kultur, BR Klassik, and the Berlin Tagesspiegel. He has given lectures at Humboldt University and at the Berlin University of Art and Music. He is a frequent podcast guest, speaker, and consultant on the intersection of race and music. For more information and to contact him about speaking engagements, please go to his website.