Alexander Briger is one of Australia’s preeminent conductors, having worked with Maestros Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez and Sir Charles Mackerras. Alexander studied in Sydney and Munich, winning various awards, including first prize at the “International Competition for Conductors” in the Czech Republic in 1993. He later worked closely with both Sir Charles Mackerras, where he developed a strong knowledge of the music of Leoš Janáček, and Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble InterContemporain. He has premiered works by composers such as Arvo Pärt, Bruno Mantovani, Mark Anthony Turnage and Simon Holt and combines a varied concert career with a wide range of operatic projects.
He has performed 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, as well as leading the orchestra on a tour of Sydney and Singapore in 2016.
Alexander’s recent engagements have included performances of Stravinsky’s Petrouschka and Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, London, Brahms’s 1st Symphony and Schubert’s 9th Symphony with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Mahler’s 9th Symphony with the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute, Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová at the Toulon Opera, France, and John Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky with the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and 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, 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 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 Janáček’s Sinfonietta.
He made his debut with Opera Australia in 1998 conducting Jenůfa, and his operatic work for Opera Australia has since included Madama Butterfly, Così 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 Festival), 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).
Current and future engagements include concerts with the Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Moscow, Jay Reise’s Rasputin for the Helikon Opera, Moscow, The Magic Flute for the Toulon Opera, France and a tour to India with the Australian World Orchestra.
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.