Nephew of the great Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, Alexander studied in Sydney and Munich and won first prize at the “International Competition for Conductors” in the Czech Republic in 1993. He later worked closely with Mackerras and the world-renowned French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez. He is also the great, great, great, great grandson of Isaac Nathan, the first man to compose an opera in Australia, as well as a direct relative of Prince Felix Yousoupoff, the man who killed Rasputin.

He performs regularly with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London (collaborating with such soloists as Alfred Brendel, Maria Joao Pires and Murray Perahia) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including their tour to China in 2004 and made his BBC Proms and Berlin Festival debuts with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (following a recommendation from Sir Simon Rattle) and Edinburgh Festival debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In August 2010 he founded the Australian World Orchestra, of which he is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, and in 2011 conducted their award-winning inaugural season at the Sydney Opera House with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which was subsequently released on Deutsche Grammophone.

Alexander’s 2012/13 engagements have included performances of John Adams’ I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, following a hugely successful debut at the same theatre in 2012 conducting the Paris premiere of Adams’ Nixon in China.

He has also worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, RTE Orchestra, Dublin, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchester, Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester, Stuttgart, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Nordwestdeutscherundfunk Orchester, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Danish Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg Mozarteum, Salzburg Camerata, Belgium National Orchestra, Flemish Radio Symphony, Orquesta Nacional do Porto, Japanese Virtuoso Symphony, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and with the London Sinfonietta, collaborating with Peter Sellars and pianist Hélène Grimaud for the premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Lament Tate.

In his native Australia he has conducted the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australian, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. Performances with the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras have included excerpts from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Holst’s The Planets and Janacek’s Sinfonietta.

 He made his debut with Opera Australia in 1998 conducting Jenufa, and his operatic work for Opera Australia has since included Madama ButterflyCosì fan tutte, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Marriage of Figaro and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also conducted The Rape of Lucretia (Covent Garden), The Magic Flute (Glyndebourne), Rigoletto and The Makropulos Case (English National Opera), The Cunning Little Vixen (Aix-en-Provence), From the House of the Dead (Canadian Opera Company), The Tales of Hoffmann (Royal Danish Opera), The Bartered Bride (Royal Swedish Opera), Pique Dame (Komische Oper, Berlin), La Bohème and Carmen (State Opera of South Australia) and Bartók ballets (Opera du Rhin), as well as the premiere of Simon Holt’s Who put Bella in the Wych’elm (Aldeburgh Festival).

Alexander has also recently conducted Mahler’s 9th Symphony with the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute, and will be conducting Katya Kabanova for the Opera de Toulon, Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, Ceiling/Sky for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and the Sydney Youth Orchestra in Pacific Opera’s performance of The Cunning Little Vixen in the coming months.


Alexander Briger
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor
Australian World Orchestra

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