Alexander Briger

Chief Conductor & Artistic Director
Australian World Orchestra

Biography

Full biography
Alexander Briger

Alexander Briger is one of Australia’s preeminent conductors, having worked with Maestros Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez and Sir Charles Mackerras. Awarded the Order of Australia for services to music as a leading conductor in 2016, he is considered a specialist in the works of Janáček, Mozart and contemporary music.

In the UK he has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St Martins in the Fields. His international career spans such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Ensemble InterContemporain, the Japanese Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra and every major Australian orchestra.

Considered an opera specialist, Alexander has conducted opera for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma amongst others.

In August 2010 he founded the Australian World Orchestra, of which he is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor.

Upcoming tours

Future engagements include concerts with the Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples (with soloist Piotr Anderszewski), Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Moscow, Jay Reise’s Rasputin for the Helikon Opera, Moscow and The Magic Flute for the Toulon Opera, France.

Honours

Alexander was honoured in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List as an “Officer of the Order of Australia” (AO) for distinguished services to the arts as a leading conductor, and as founder of the Australian World Orchestra.

AWO Media release: Australia Day Honours

Awards for Australian World Orchestra

Alexander Briger

ORCHESTRAL

UK

  • London Symphony Orchestra
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Philharmonia Orchestra
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Northern Sinfonia
  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Academy of St.Martins in the Fields
  • English Chamber Orchestra
  • London Sinfonietta
  • Hanover Band
  • Welsh National Opera Orchestra
  • Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
  • Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

France

  • Orchestre de Paris
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
  • Orchestre National du Captiol de Toulouse
  • Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
  • Strasbourg Philharmonic
  • Ensemble InterContemporain

Germany

  • Frankfurt Radio Orchestra
  • South West Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart
  • Konzerthausorchester, Berlin
  • Komische Oper Orchester, Berlin
  • Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen
  • Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
  • Nordwestdeutsche Radio Orchester
  • Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra

Other (Europe)

  • Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Rotterdam Philharmonic
  • Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
  • Flemish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Danish Radio Orchestra
  • Danish Sinfonietta
  • Belgian Philharmonic
  • Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Portugal
  • Salzburg Mozarteum, Salzburg Camerata
  • Monte Carlo Philharmonic
  • Oslo Philharmonic
  • RTE Symphony, Dublin
  • Belgrade Philharmonic
  • Martinu Philharmonic, Czech Republic

Asia

  • Japanese Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra
  • Beijing Symphony Orchestra

Australia/New Zealand

  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • West Australian Symphony Orchestra
  • Queensland Symphony Orchestra
  • Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
  • Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
  • Australian World Orchestra
  • Melbourne Chamber Orchestra
  • Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute
  • New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Briger

OPERA

UK

  • Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • English National Opera
  • Welsh National Opera
  • Glyndebourne Festival
  • Glyndebourne Touring Opera
  • Almeida Opera, Aldeburgh Festival

Europe

  • Teatro Dell’Opera de Roma
  • Royal Danish Opera
  • Royal Swedish Opera
  • Komische Oper, Berlin
  • Aix-en-Provence Festival
  • Théâtre du Châtelet
  • Opera du Rhin
  • Opera de Toulon
  • Silesian State Opera, Czech Republic

Russia

  • Helikon Theatre, Moscow

Canada

  • Canadian Opera Company

Australia

  • Opera Australia
  • State Opera of South Australia
  • Opera Queensland
Alexander Briger

FUTURE ENGAGEMENTS

Helikon Theatre, Moscow

February 10, 11, 2017 – Moscow

Jay Reise – Rasputin

Four Winds Festival

Bermagui – February 26, 2017

Mozart – Symphonies No.29
in A Major and No.39 in E Flat Major

Sydney Youth Orchestra

Sydney – March 31, April 1, 2017

Dvorak – Symphonic Variations
Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition

Sydney Youth Orchestra – tour of Europe
(Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Berlin)

April 7-24, 2017

Palmer – new work (premiere)
Mozart – Oboe Concerto
Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition

Orchestra of Teatro San Carlo

Naples – May 7, 2017

Ravel – Mother Goose Suite
Mozart – Piano Concertos No.23 in A Major and No. 24 in C minor (Soloist: Piotr Anderszewski)
Mozart – Symphony No.29 in A Major

Alexander Briger

Briger’s handling of the score and both the players and singers was masterly, perfectly paced.

The Rape of Lucretia – Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Opera Opera

Alexander Briger conducted Brahms' Symphony No. 1 by memory.
Played from beginning to end without one dull moment.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
– Orna Langer Yisrael Hayom

A superb Verdian conductor.

Rigoletto English National Opera
– Dominic McHugh
musicOMH.com

The success of the show is enormously down to the tremendous leadership of Alexander Briger.

Nixon in China – Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris
– Pierre-Emmanuel Lephay
Forumopera

Intensely moving - the direction of Alexander Briger is remarkable.

Káťa Kabanová – Opera de Toulon
– Gilles Charlassier
Concertonet.com

Media

Press Quotes | Recordings
Alexander Briger

Symphonic

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra –
Brahms: Symphony No.1 | Schubert: Symphony No.9
November 2016

Alexander Briger conducted Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 by memory. It was clearly an innate part of him. Played from beginning to end without one dull moment, with flowing pace and dramatic contrasts of orchestration. The rhythm with which the introduction was played, was impressive. The brass excelled in their playing. Everything was played with a broad, intense sound full of splendor and glory. The Philharmonic and Briger concluded the symphony with electrifying tension.

– Orna Langer | Yisrael Hayom | 13 November 2016

Australian conductor Alexander Briger managed to communicate to the orchestra his vision of Brahms' 1st Symphony. Briger’s approach worked. His produced a performance full of character, fiery and belligerent.

– Matan Oren | 13 November 2016

Australian World Orchestra – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5
September 2016

In Tchaikovsky's Fifth, Briger, conducting from memory, led with clear, concise and commanding gestures, enabling this bouquet of Australian musical excellence to play with exhilarating unanimity and tonal strength.

– Peter McCallum | Sydney Morning Herald | 30 September 2016

Alexander Briger conducted impressively without any score, but more importantly this was a reading fully worthy of the esteemed international maestros who have lined up to helm the AWO in recent years. Briger was not afraid to be bold with tempi and dynamic effect. This was an impassioned reading with great weight in the fortes and enormous drive.

– Clive Paget | Limelight Magazine | 29 September 2016

Ravel’s Bolero totally won me over. Maestro Briger walked to the podium, the music began, but he didn’t conduct it. Rather he stood listening to the familiar, faint dialogue between snare drum and flute. It wasn’t until well past the halfway mark that he released his folded hands to direct his players.

The final work was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5 in E Minor, which gave the AWO an opportunity to show just what it could do with the variety of colours on offer. Like Bolero, Tchaikovsky’s fifth is a veteran of orchestral concerts, but played by the AWO, under Briger’s masterful conducting, it sounded almost like a new piece.

– Fraser Beath McEwing | J-Wire | 29th September 2016

CD recording – Beethoven: Symphony No.9
Australian World Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon), September 2013

This recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is magical, flawlessly smooth, electrifyingly intense and engaging. The final movement of the symphony is certainly the high point of the piece, played with heart and soul and is absolutely breath-taking…nothing short of perfect.

– Alyce Rosentreter | The au.review.com | 23 September 2013

Australian World Orchestra – Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Beethoven: Symphony No.9, August 2011

The inaugural season of the Australian World Orchestra was the fulfillment of Briger’s dream. He promised incredible sound and exhilarating performances, and delivered on both. The strings, in particular, were extraordinary, with intensity and tonal variety rivalling the best I've heard. The brass also impressed with their powerful and resplendently polished sound. A fresh, bright‐toned account of Brahms's Academic Festival Overture balanced buoyant energy with affectionate warmth. Even finer was the taut, muscular performance of Beethoven's mighty ninth symphony. Swift speeds, alert rhythms, incisive attack and lean timbres realised the music's irresistible momentum and drama. Briger deserves our admiration and gratitude for bringing together the AWO. Long may it flourish.

– Murray Black | The Australian | 29 August 2011

Komische Oper Orchestra, Berlin – Sibelius: Symphony No.2
March 2009

Alexander Briger possesses the ability to communicate complicated works by structuring them clearly. Many recordings of this symphony can often disintegrate into uniformity and therefore become boring. Alexander Briger shows that it can be different. He lays worth in absolute clarity and speaking gestures. In so doing he has much to say. Briger is the ideal guide through this huge, jagged musical mass. He lights up the score, gives the music time to unfold and develops thrilling build-ups from one climax to the next. One was astonished at how disciplined and uniformly rich in colours the orchestra was. This symphony was a total success for Alexander Briger. I can only recommend this opera house to re-invite him.

Andreas Goebel | Kulturradio | 14 March 2009

West Australian Symphony Orchestra – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5
June 2008

Briger is a musician of the highest order. His direction of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony revealed him as a musician of substance. Conducting from memory and clearly au fait with every nuance of the score, he extracted a stunningly fine response from the orchestra.

– Neville Cohn | The West Australian | 24 June 2008

Philharmonia, London – Mahler: Symphony No.4
March 2008

In Mahler’s 4th Symphony Briger demonstrated a fine knowledge of the score in a multitude of well-observed orchestrational touches. Climaxes, in particular, were finely balanced across the orchestra, not just indiscriminately loud. The orchestra played magnificently in the long slow movement, with stratospheric violins showing no sense of strain. Briger’s awareness of the interplay of lines led to a gripping exegesis of the musical argument.

– Colin Clarke | Seen and Heard | 1 April, 2008

Sculpting a well-planned assault on Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Alexander Briger’s beatific glances exuded enthusiasm for the task. This was a conductor whose arms as well as his eyes were getting a good workout, as he pumped out ever more passion from the string cellos of the Philharmonia. The results? Big-hearted music-making, centred around the orchestra’s never-so-silky strings and long-breathed woodwind sighs. The scherzo in particular was inflected with careful detail, yet so creamily Viennese.

– Neil Fisher | The Times | 1 April, 2008

Camerata Salzburg – Beethoven: Symphony No.5
April 2007

The public was fascinated by Alexander Briger and by his musicianship. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was interpreted with most subtle details: musical and displaying great skill, it was fresh and new-sounding. Alexander Briger motivated the musicians with highly rousing conducting gestures to give their very best performance.

– Horst Reischenböck | Dreh Punkt Kultur Salzburg | 29 April 2007

Mostly Mozart Festival – Academy of St. Martin-in‐the‐Fields
July 2005

The concert’s absolute success was the Jupiter Symphony, which Briger conducted impressively, boldly confronting the disturbing sections that periodically wrench the harmonic structure out of kilter, and leading the orchestra through the contrapuntal complexities of the Finale.

– George Hall | The Guardian | 21 July 2005

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – Shostakovich: Symphony No.5
January 2002

A scintillating account of Shostakovich’s great Symphony No.5, conducted from memory with a winning combination of control and passion, and played in electrifying style in both the exhilarating full ensemble episodes and the many exposed solo passages. It won loudly-expressed acclaim.

– Kenny Mathieson | The Herald | 14 January 2002

Australian conductor Alexander Briger’s biggest achievement was undoubtedly an account of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony that dug deep into the symphony’s complex contradictions and ironic twists. Where some would adopt shock/horror tactics, Briger introduced moments of sensual warmth as a foil to the symphony’s predominant anger and hollow victory.

– Kenneth Walton | The Scotsman | 14 January 2002

Opera

Opera de Toulon – Janáček: Káťa Kabanová
January 2015

The direction of Alexander Briger is remarkable. One can hear the teachings of Pierre Boulez in this reading of admirable clarity, making it intelligible to the dramatic structure of the composition, with a tension that never relaxes.

– Gilles Charlassier | Concertonet.com

A salute to the performance of Alexander Briger at the head of the Symphony Orchestra of the Toulon Opera, which got blistering sounds.

– Jaqueline Cnobloch | In Concerto

Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris – Adams: I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky
June 2013

A dazzling resurrection, conducted by Alexander Briger-a deserved triumph.

– Eric Dahan | Liberation

Théâtre du Châtelet – Paris - Adams: Nixon in China
April 2012

The success of the show is enormously down to the tremendous leadership of Alexander Briger at the head of the excellent Chamber Orchestra of Paris. The direction of the Australian conductor is extremely dynamic, highlighting the edges of the music (much more complex than it seems), the jazzy rhythms and references to romantic music.

– Pierre-Emmanuel Lephay | Forumopera | 17 April 2012

On the podium, Alexander Briger realized a remarkable job with the musicians of the Chamber Orchestra of Paris. They were in fine form, with precision, colour and changes in atmosphere. The evening finished leaving the listener in the grip of a show which was remarkably successful.

– Alain Cochard | Concertclassic | 15 April 2012

In the pit, Alexander Briger disciplined the Chamber Orchestra of Paris. Briger manages to extol the richness of the orchestration, reminiscent of Wagner and Strauss.

– Emmanuel Dupuy | Diapason Magazine | 11 April 2012

The main attraction of the evening was the orchestra. Rarely has one heard the Chamber Orchestra of Paris as galvanized. Conductor Alexander Briger firmly holds his troops and brings out the brilliant orchestration of John Adams.

– Maxime Kaprielian | Resmusica | 14 April 2012

Opera Australia – Britten: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Sydney Opera House
February 2010

Conductor Alexander Briger does a fine job of both delineating and interlacing the varied textures, drawing out coherent, atmospheric playing.

– Opera Critic | 26 February 2010

Alexander Briger directed a gauzy, shimmering account of this magical score.

– Opera Magazine | June 2010

Canadian Opera Company – Janáček: From the House of the Dead
February 2008

Conductor Alexander Briger and the COC orchestra are simply superb.

– Paula Citron | The New Classical 96.3 FM | 4 February 2008

The COC Orchestra, led by Australian conductor Alexander Briger, is the star of the show, masterfully guided through time-shifting minefields by Briger’s assured baton.

– John Terrauds | Toronto Star | 4 February 2008

Brilliantly conducted by Janáček specialist, Alexander Briger

– Wayne Gooding | Opera Now | July-August 2008

English National Opera – Janáček: The Makropulos Case
June 2006

Alexander Briger conducted a big-boned, lushy romantic account of the score, wonderfully played.

– Rodney Milnes | Opera Magazine | August 2006

English National Opera – Verdi: Rigoletto
February 2006

This is one of ENO’s strongest revivals of recent times, with a superb Verdian conductor in Alexander Briger and the orchestra in better form than they have been for ages.

– Dominic McHugh | musicOMH.com | February 2006

Debuting with the company was the conductor Alexander Briger, who seems to be making a positive impression everywhere he goes. The nightmarish prelude reached a hair-raising climax, and everything that followed flowed with a natural sense of rhythm allied to dramatic dynamism.

– George Hall | Opera Magazine | April 2006

Royal Opera House – Covent Garden – Britten: The Rape of Lucretia
April-May 2004

Briger’s handling of the score and both players and singers was masterly, perfectly paced and probably the principal cause of the almost palpable and near unbearable tension generated.

– Opera Opera | June 2004

Alexander Briger conducted with a compelling sense of urgency: the tension and weight in the Good Night chorus at the end of Act 1, was almost unbearable…this was one of those charmed evenings, when performers’ artistry and composer’s vision achieve almost nuclear fission. Unforgettable.

– Peter Reed | The Sunday Telegraph | 9 May 2004

Recordings

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Beethoven: Symphony No.9

AWO | Alexander Briger

This recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is magical, flawlessly smooth, electrifyingly intense and engaging. The final movement of the symphony is certainly the high point of the piece, played with heart and soul and is absolutely breath-taking… nothing short of perfect.

Alyce Rosentreter | theAUreview
Alexander Briger Jamie Walton Elgar cello concerto

Elgar & Myaskovsky Cello Concertos  major, K488

Jamie Walton-Cello | Philharmonia Orchestra | Alexander Briger

This is probably the best performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto that I have heard. Walton cannot be beaten. I shall treasure this recording – literally: I shall hoard it against a musically rainy day.

Paul Adrian Rooke | The Elgar Society Journal
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Walton Cello Concerto – Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1

Jamie Walton | Alexander Briger | The Philharmonia Orchestra

Jamie Walton Shostakovich

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2, Britten Cellos Symphony

Jamie Walton | Alexander Briger | The Philharmonia Orchestra

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Saint Saëns Cello Works

Alexander Briger, Jamie Walton and Philharmonia

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Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488

Simon Tedeschi | Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

21st Century Cello Concertos

21st Century Cello Concertos

Schoeller: The eyes of the wind [cello concerto] – Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Alexander Briger

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Nathan: “Don John of Austria”

Alexander Briger | Sydney Symphony Orchestra