Alexander Briger is one of Australia’s preeminent conductors, having worked with Maestros Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, 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, Brahms, 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, Scottish Chamber 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, Ensemble InterContemporain, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphiharmonie, Konzerthausorchester, Berlin, Japanese Virtuoso Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra and every major Australian orchestra.
Considered an opera specialist, Alexander has conducted for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Komischeoper Berlin, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Canadian Opera Company, Royal Danish Opera, Royal Swedish Opera and Opera Australia, amongst others.
In August 2010 he founded the Australian World Orchestra, of which he is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor.
Future engagements include “Jenůfa” with the Montreal Opera, performances with the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, The Australian World Orchestra and returns to the Sydney, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
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
Queensland Symphony Orchestra –
Brahms: Symphony No.2
Briger’s mastery of the podium was evident in every movement of the Brahms. It was an auspicious debut for the conductor, whose charm and virtuosity won ecstatic audience approval.
– Peter Pinne | Stage Whispers | 29 May, 2021
Australian World Orchestra –
Janáček: Taras Bulba | Sibelius: Symphony No.2
Briger’s powers on the podium are every bit as world class as the Australian World Orchestra’s previous conductors, Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. He is a wonderfully full-bodied, dynamic conductor, scooping up the orchestral forces at his command in a bear hug of expressive physicality.
– Maxim Boon | Sydney Morning Herald | 28 July, 2019
With Janáček, Briger is the natural successor to Mackerras.
Briger conducted with great warmth and vigour and with an exemplary sense of unity. He has a sense of structure and a power of drama and visualisation.
– Peter Craven | The Saturday Paper | 3 August, 2019
This concert was under the fine and confident control of the AWO’s chief conductor and artistic director, Alexander Briger, who conducted entirely from memory.
– Michael Shmith | Australian Book Review | 29 July, 2019
Briger’s combination of warmth for the moment with a taut discipline for the structures was clearly appreciated by the orchestra, and gave the whole evening a wonderful cohesion.
– Peter Hurley | Classic Melbourne | 7 August, 2019
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra –
Mozart: Cosi fan tutte Overture
Briger appeared like an animated wizard.
– Marion Fernando | The Sun Daily | February 2019
Orchestra of Teatro San Carlo, Naples –
Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture, Symphony No.29 in A Major
The first part of the programme amazed and involved all those present with a vibrant interpretation of the overture to 'Don Giovanni'. Throughout the concert, Briger showed melodrama and profoundness with great controlled skill, leading the orchestra to powerful and dramatic climaxes. What happened? Through the direction of Briger the public understood how much the effort of the man with the wand counts.
– Ambra Benvenuto | Music Addiction | 7 May 2017
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra –
Brahms: Symphony No.1 | Schubert: Symphony No.9
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 de Toulon – Mozart: The Magic Flute
The magic baton of conductor Alexander Briger. The musical direction is beautifully provided by the conductor. He is "Jupiterian", a man of the Mozartian Singspiel, conceiving a subtle network of timbres.
– Florence Lethurgez | Olyrix.com
This new production of "The Magic Flute" has the advantage of being conducted by Alexander Briger. His musical direction is a real satisfaction - the music is full of contrasts and spring and the conductor brings out all the details of the score and its instrumentation.
– Irma Foletti | Anaclase.com
Alexander Briger's reading of the score is of great interest. Adopting quick tempi, he manages to create the necessary dramatic tension, serving the rhythm of both the singers and the stage.
– Emmanuel Andrieu | Opera Online
The musical aspect of this production is seductive, starting with the supple and flexible direction of conductor Alexander Briger, who has an irresistible Mozartian swing, but is also attentive to the cohesion of the Toulon Orchestra, which we rarely hear as good.
– Olivier Rouvière | L’Avant-Scène Opéra
With the baton, Alexander Briger illuminates all the moods and all the facets of Mozart's genius.
– Roland Yvanez | Journalventilo.com
From the opening, conductor Alexander Briger imposes a great solemnity: the fugal entrances very clear and smooth, creating dreamy magic. Under his baton, the opera is enchanting. He alternates very stimulating tempi and moments of deep delicacy, on the border of absolute silence, perfectly serving the drama of the score.
– Benito Pelegrin | RMTnews International
Opera de Toulon – Janáček: Káťa Kabanová
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
A dazzling resurrection, conducted by Alexander Briger-a deserved triumph.
– Eric Dahan | Liberation
Théâtre du Châtelet – Paris - Adams: Nixon in China
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
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
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
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
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
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