Brian Priestman

Priestman, Brian

Brian Priestman conducts regularly in the United States and in Europe, Canada and New Zealand where he has served as Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. He has conducted several full length opera productions for television which have been shown throughout the world and in addition he has broadcast on many occasions for important national and international radio networks. As a student at the Brussels Conservatory he received the rarely awarded Conductor’s prize in 1952 and soon after he was appointed assistant Conductor of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, at that time one of the most important British orchestras established outside London. In 1960 he was appointed Music Director of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon and during this period he also made several appearances as a guest Conductor with the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company in London. In 1963 he made his American debut in Philharmonic Hall, New York, In 1964 he became Music Director of the Edmonton (Canada) Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for four years. He then assumed the duties of Resident Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 1968 prior to his accepting the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Denver Orchestra.

As a teacher he worked with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, taking them on coast-coast tours, was for six years the Dean and Chair of the School of Music at the University of Cape Town, and is currently the “Artist-in-Residence” at the University of Kansas where he is also responsible for the graduate courses in conducting. He continues to teach at the Stockholm Conservatoire and is an examiner at the Brussels Conservatoire.

In recent years he has appeared many times in Mexico City, three times in the 1995-96 season with soloists such as Victoria de los Angeles, performing works by Mexican as well as European composers and including such rarities as the “Faust” Symphony by Liszt. He conducts opera as well as symphonic concerts at his University, thus continuing a sequence that stared with his work as a coach for the Sadlers Wells Opera in London where he introduced for the first time operas by Stravinsky, Ravel and Orff in English, and which continued with his television performances, especially for CBC and, in the instance of Puccini’s “La Rondine” in collaboration with the BBC and ABC. Most recently he conducted a series of performances of “Carmen” for the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. He has lectured widely and is moreover credited with editing several works for the Eulenburg edition of pocket scores, especially Handel’s “Water Music” and “Messiah”. In the academic field, he has written articles for Encyclopaedia Britannica and Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians.


Albums Featuring this Artist