Gavin Sutherland (conductor)

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Gavin Sutherland (born 1972) is a conductor, composer/arranger and pianist. He is currently Music Director for English National Ballet.

Born in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England, he studied conducting, piano and orchestration at University of Huddersfield and graduated with first-class honours, as well as gaining the Kruczynski Prize for Piano and the Davidson Prize for Distinction Brought to the Institution. He also studied as a trombonist.


Sutherland was appointed as pianist and staff conductor for Northern Ballet Theatre from 1992 – 98. On the basis of his first CD, British Light Music Discoveries on ASV, Sutherland began working with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia on the concert platform and as the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet (involving both national and international tours). He has featured as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and has also guest conducted frequently for English National Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, New Adventures, Norwegian National Ballet and South African Ballet Theatre.

In June 2008 he was appointed Music Director of English National Ballet.

He has made over ninety recordings all over the world, predominantly with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, for labels such as ASV Sanctuary, Sony, Warner Classics, Naxos Records Marco Polo imprint, Dutton-Vocalion, Campion and Olympian. He has played a part in the current revival of British Light Music chiefly through several popular series of discs, although he has recorded works as wide-ranging as Elgar's Dream of Gerontius and the chart-topping Carry On album and the single release of the Radio 4 UK Theme. Recently Gavin compiled and conducted two concerts for the BBC Radio 3 Light Fantastic festival of light music, both with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and one of which was simulcast on BBC Radio 2 and 3. He also contributed to a project for the festival inviting players to form an online orchestra to play Barwick Green, the signature tune to BBC Radio 4's The Archers.

Sutherland appears regularly in concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra (particularly as a conductor for BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night), the Münchner Rundfunkorchester and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In May 2001, Gavin began another lasting relationship, as Principal Guest Conductor of the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra, for whom he now conducts regularly both in Melbourne and Sydney Opera House. He has also guest conducted orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Wellington Sinfonia, the Auckland Philharmonia, the North of England Concert Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra. In 2016 Gavin made his BBC Proms debut conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra in the Strictly Come Dancing Prom, and in 2017 conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on the Last Night of the Proms as part of the BBC Proms in the Park events.

In addition to his work as a conductor, Sutherland works as a composer/arranger. He regularly supplies arrangements performed by the Australian Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, BBC Concert, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Opera House, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Philharmonia and Hallé Orchestras amongst others, and his new arrangement of Giselle for the Norwegian National Ballet was revived by Milwaukee Ballet in 2004. Recent compositions include a musical, Little Women, which premiered in London in summer 2000, a clarinet concerto, several chamber works and a one-act ballet, Revolting Rhymes. Other recent work involves arranging and conducting the music for "Anton and Erin - Cheek to Cheek", "Steppin' Out with Anton and Erin", "Crazy for Gershwin" and "We'll Meet Again - A Salute to the War Years" (all for Raymond Gubbay), all of which enjoyed sell-out UK tours, and composing and arranging the score for English National Ballet's works for children, Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition and ''Angelina's Star Performance'', drawing on the music of Tchaikovsky. In 2009 he orchestrated three Rachmaninoff piano works for Wayne Eagling's ballet Men Y Men, and in 2013 edited and assisted in the re-orchestration of ENB's production of Le Corsaire, working with Lars Payne on the assembly of all extant original material. His work in reconstruction of orchestral music has encompassed everything from lost British film and television scores to ballet, opera and musicals. In 2016 Gavin orchestrated Vincenzo Lamagna's score for ENB's production of Akram Khan's Giselle, which won an Olivier Award in 2017.

As a pianist Sutherland performs regularly as a concerto soloist, often directing from the keyboard, and appears as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician. He has recently released three live recordings of improvisations and compositions, Piano Pastimes. In August 2009 Gavin was appointed Chairman of the Light Music Society, inheriting the role from Ernest Tomlinson, who became President.


Gavin Sutherland - website English National Ballet website