GRAMMY and Juno award-winning conductor/composer Bramwell Tovey was appointed Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2000. Under his leadership the VSO have toured to China, Korea, across Canada and the United States. Mr. Tovey is also the Artistic Adviser of the VSO School of Music, a state-of-the-art facility and recital hall which opened in downtown Vancouver in 2011, next to the Orpheum, the VSO’s historic home. His tenure has included complete symphony cycles of Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms as well as the establishment of an annual festival dedicated to contemporary music. In 2018, the VSO’s centenary year, he will become the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus.
As guest conductor during winter 2017 he will return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, and in the spring to the Philadelphia Orchestra (whose 2016-2017 New Year's celebrations he will direct), the Melbourne and Sydney symphonies, as well as the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Toronto.
During the 15-16 season Mr. Tovey’s guest appearances included the symphonies of Montreal, Melbourne, New Zealand, and Pacific Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, reprising his programs with both at Bravo! Vail in summer 2016. The summer also includes returns to the Blossom Music Center, Ravinia Festival, and Hollywood Bowl. In the winter of 2016 he conducted Korngold's Die Tote Stadt with the Calgary Opera.
In 2003 Bramwell Tovey won the Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work Requiem for a Charred Skull. Commissions include the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Toronto Symphony and Calgary Opera who premiered his first full length opera The Inventor in 2011. A recording of the work by the VSO with UBC Opera and the original cast was made for the Naxos label and will be released this season. In 2014 his trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was performed by the LA Philharmonic with Alison Balsom as soloist, and was subsequently repeated by the same soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, in December 2014.
A talented pianist as well as conductor and composer, he has appeared as soloist with many major orchestras including the New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Toronto, and Royal Scottish orchestras. In the summer of 2014 he played and conducted Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil and in Saratoga with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has performed his own Pictures in the Smoke with the Melbourne and Helsingborg Symphonies and the Royal Philharmonic.
Maestro Tovey was Music Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 1989 to 2001 where he founded the WSO’s now celebrated New Music Festival. From 2002-2006 he was Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, leading tours of Europe, the USA, China and Korea. He opened Luxembourg’s Salle Philharmonie with the world première of Penderecki’s 8th Symphony.
Mr. Tovey is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and holds honorary degrees from the universities of British Columbia, Manitoba, Kwantlen and Winnipeg. In 2013 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for services to music.
In August 2011 he was described by Musical America as “one of the most versatile and charismatic musicians in the world.”