“….Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations does not lack for concert performances, but Tovey’s stood out. From the statement of the main theme, which the conductor delivered with unusual care and deliberation, it was clear that this was going to be a singular interpretation. Sure enough, Tovey turned these vignettes – each depicting someone in Elgar’s circle of friends – into vividly imagined portraits.”
“It was a historic evening, the first Masterworks of Bramwell Tovey’s tenure as the music director of the Sarasota Orchestra. There was laughter, honor and, for some, tears. It was a masterful display of all the many ways that an orchestra and its music can touch each heart and rally the spirit of an entire community. Far more than the conductor, Bramwell Tovey was the master of ceremonies, as skilled at storytelling as he is with a baton…Throughout, Tovey’s spare movement prompted organic swells and shifts. The music was glistening and alive in a way that connected on a cellular level. This was one for the books. If ever there was an example of the sheer beauty of a full orchestra, we heard it in this performance.”
Sarasota Herald Tribune
“…Tovey valued rich tonal beauty over angularity…He nicely captured the lavish atmosphere and the quirky rhythmic character of Stravinsky’s early score [Petrushka]. He made its tricky rhythmic bits flow with admirable naturalism and allowed eccentric instrumental solos — that characterize the main puppet characters as well as oddball stage and audience antics at a Russian fair — fly by with spectacular ease.”
Los Angeles Times
“Friday’s rendition in fact brimmed with a theatrical vitality that carried it far from the typical concert opera presentation of singers planted on stage holding scores. The cast sang from memory and was set free to roam at the front of the orchestra in what amounted to a light staging. At its heart was the British conductor Bramwell Tovey, in his BSO debut, conducting with a sure hand and a clear affection for this score’s roiling amalgam of classical, jazz, and vernacular traditions, invented or otherwise. Tovey didn’t so much thread the needle between styles as he did make the score’s disparate musical inheritances feel like they belonged together, which is not always the case with “Porgy,’’ a work often hailed as a masterpiece yet still fated to wander between the worlds of opera and musical theater.”
The Boston Globe
“Zuckerman and Tovey made all of this readily evident in the opening of the first movement, where Tovey’s careful shaping of phrases and his attention paid to the p-pp-ppp end of the dynamic spectrum was immediately riveting and ingratiating.”
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Grammy and Juno award-winning conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey is the newly appointed Music Director Designate of the Sarasota Orchestra.
He will continue in his roles as Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec.
Following an exceptional 18 year tenure as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, which concluded in summer 2018, he now returns as the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus. Under his leadership the VSO toured China, Korea, across Canada and the United States. His VSO innovations included the establishment of the VSO School of Music, the VSO’s annual festival of contemporary music and the VSO Orchestral Institute at Whistler, a comprehensive summer orchestral training program for young musicians held in the scenic mountain resort of Whistler in British Columbia.
With the resumption of concerts in summer 2021 Mr. Tovey conducted the New York Philharmonic at Bravo Vail, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and led the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Proms before he embarked on a full schedule, including a special concert in Sarasota to mark the beginning of his tenure, followed by guest appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Helsingborg Symphony, Sweden.
In 2003 Bramwell Tovey won the Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work Requiem for a Charred Skull. His song cycle, Ancestral Voices, which addresses the issue of Reconciliation, was written for acclaimed Kwagiulth mezzo-soprano Marion Newman and premiered in June 2017. His trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony for principal trumpet, Andrew McCandless and performed in 2014 by Alison Balsom with the LA Philharmonic, the Philadelphia and the London Philharmonic Orchestras. A recording of his opera, The Inventor, commissioned by Calgary Opera, features the original cast, members of UBC Opera and the VSO.
Mr. Tovey was the recipient of the Oskar Morawetz 2015 Prize for Excellence in Music Performance. He was previously Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg where he led the world premiere of Penderecki’s Eighth Symphony on the opening of the principality’s new concert hall, the Philharmonie. He won the Prix d’or of the Academie Lyrique Française for his recording of Jean Cras’ 1922 opera Polyphème with OPL and toured with the orchestra to China, Korea, the United States and throughout Europe.
In 2013 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for services to music.