Brett Dean

Australian Hometown: Brisbane
Education: Queensland Conservatorium

Brett Dean studied in Brisbane before moving to Germany in 1984 where he was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years, during which time he began composing. His music is championed by many of the leading conductors and orchestras worldwide, including Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Jurowski, David Robertson, Andris Nelsons, Marin Alsop and Sakari Oramo. Much of Dean’s work draws from literary, political, environmental or visual stimuli, including a number of compositions inspired by artwork by his wife Heather Betts.

Brett Dean began composing in 1988, initially concentrating on experimental film and radio projects and as an improvising performer. Dean’s reputation as a composer continued to develop, and it was through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music (1995), which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and Carlo (1997) for strings, sampler and tape, inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo, that he gained international recognition.

In 2009 Dean won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition for his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing and in 2016 was awarded the Don Banks Music Award by Australia Council, acknowledging his sustained and significant contribution to Australia’s musical scene. In June 2017 his second opera Hamlet was premiered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera to great acclaim, winning both the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Awards and International Opera Awards for opera.

Dean enjoys a busy performing career as violist and conductor, performing his own Viola Concerto with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Dean is a natural chamber musician, frequently collaborating with other soloists and ensembles to perform both his own chamber works and standard repertoire, including projects with the Doric Quartet, Scharoun Ensemble and Alban Gerhardt. Dean’s imaginative conducting programmes usually centre around his own works combined with other composers and highlights include his appointment as Creative Chair at Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich 2017/18, projects with the BBC Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and as Artist in Residence with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Dean is 2018/19 Composer in Residence of Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, which sees Dean join the orchestra as soloist in his Viola Concerto, and a focus on Dean’s orchestral and chamber works throughout the season. Dean also continues as Artist in Residence with Sydney Symphony Orchestra across 2016-2018.

Highlights of 2018/19 include the world premiere of Dean’s Cello Concerto for Alban Gerhardt, which will be premiered by Sydney Symphony conducted by David Robertson in August 2018 and receives its European premiere from the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sakari Oramo in October 2018. In April 2019 a new chamber work will be premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center and London’s Wigmore Hall, and Dean’s String Quartet No.3 will be premiered by the Doric String Quartet in June 2019 in an Australian tour.

Dean opens the season performing the UK premiere of Approach: Prelude to a Canon at the BBC Proms with Swedish Chamber Orchestra, before performing the German premiere at Rheingau Festival, where he is 2018 artist in focus. Elsewhere this season Dean joins Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and Helsinki Philharmonic to perform his Viola Concerto and conducts a number of orchestras including Sydney Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Australian National Academy of Music.

Brett Dean’s music has been recorded for BIS, Chandos, Warner Classics, ECM Records and ABC Classics, with a BIS release in 2016 of works including Shadow Music, Testament, Short Stories and Etudenfest performed by Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dean. Dean’s Viola Concerto has also been released on BIS with the Sydney Symphony, and a DVD of Hamlet was released by Glyndebourne in June 2018.

The works of Brett Dean are published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Last updated 2018

Stanley Dodds

Australian Hometown: Adelaide
Education: Lucerne Conservatorium, Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic

Stanley Dodds was appointed Principal Conductor, Berlin Symphony Orchestra commencing 2014/2015 with six sold-out concerts a season in the Berlin Philharmonie including the annual New Year’s Gala concert with Beethoven’s Ninth. He was chief conductor of the Berlin Sibelius Orchestra and the Schoeneberg Symphony Orchestra from 2002 to 2014 and continues to make regular appearances as conductor with both orchestras at each of Berlin’s principal concert venues. Since 2012 he has also been appointed conductor of the State Youth Orchestra of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania and is artistic director of the annual youth orchestra festival in Neubrandenburg.

Past guest conductor appearances include the Orchestre Philharmonique Luxembourg, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Jena Philharmonic, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicale Milano, Orchestra Academy Scholars of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin.

Stanley Dodds is frequently called upon to conduct ensembles of the Berlin Philharmonic, and works regularly in close collaboration with Sir Simon Rattle. Soloists in his concerts include many noted principals of the Berlin Philharmonic and singers such as Christine Schäfer, Anna Prohaska, Siobhan Stagg, Katarina Karnéus, Michael Nagy and Shenyang.

He has conducted at the Salzburg and Baden-Baden Easter Festivals, MaerzMusik Berlin and at the Summer Festival in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania.

His repertoire embraces the core symphonic works of the 19th and early 20th century and with a particular affinity for the works of Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Sibelius, Debussy, Berg, Bartók, Janáček, Shostakovich and Stravinsky. In addition he is a keen proponent of contemporary music with numerous works premiered under his direction.

Stanley Chia-Ming Dodds was born in Canada, grew up in Australia and as a dual German-Australian citizen based in Berlin. He began violin and piano studies in Adelaide at age four and continued his music education in Linz (Austria) and Lucerne (Switzerland). After completing his Bachelor and Masters studies in Lucerne he became a scholar at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic before receiving tenure as a violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic in 1994.

He studied conducting in Australia, Switzerland and Germany, his most important mentor being the acclaimed Finnish professor Jorma Panula. Other important influences on his conducting career have been the chief conductors of the Berlin Philharmonic during his tenure there, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle.

In addition to his conducting activities he also maintains a position since 2010 as media chairman and member of the executive board of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Last updated 2018

Matthew McDonald

Australian Hometown: Canberra
Education: Canberra School of Music; Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Berliner Philharmoniker Orchestra Academy

Matthew went to Berlin in 2000 as a student at the Karajan. Following this Matthew was assistant principal bass of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, principal bass of Ensemble Modern, principal bass of the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, principal bass of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and since 2009 principal bass of the Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). As guest Principal bass he has played with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew has given masterclasses throughout Europe and Asia and has held summer courses in Oxford, Canada and in Lisbon, Portugal.  He has played chamber music with Leonidas Kavakos, Christian Tetzlaff, Pekka Kuusisto, Jack Liebeck, Brett Dean,  Nicolas Altstaedt, Alban Gerhardt, Julian Steckel, Adrian Brendel, Till Fellner, Imogen Cooper, Radovan Vlatkovic, Radek Barborak, Mark Padmore, the Kuss Quartet, Atos Piano Trio, Ensemble 360, London Bridge ensemble, Scharoun Ensemble, Berlin Philharmonic Octett. He is a regular guest at the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music weeks and has performed at the Lucerne festival, Zagreb Festival, Winterfest, Winchester Festival, Music at Plush Festival, Matthew also enjoys playing solo recitals with the pianists Tomoko Takahashi and Yannick Rafalimanana.

Matthew has played in most seasons of the Australian World Orchestra, including the 2015 India Tour. Matthew joined the AWO for the fifth anniversary season in 2016 which featured the AWO’s other 7 double bass players for the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s The Witching Hour, Concerto for 8 Double Basses and Orchestra.

Last updated 2018