Martyn Charles Brabbins (born 13 August 1959) is a British conductor. The fourth of five children in his family, he learned to play the euphonium, and then the trombone during his youth at Towcester Studio Brass Band. He later studied composition at Goldsmiths, University of London. He subsequently studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory.
Brabbins first came to international attention when he was awarded first prize at the Leeds Conductors Competition in 1988. Between 1994 and 2005, Brabbins was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He became principal conductor of Sinfonia 21 in 1994. He was artistic director of the Cheltenham Music Festival from 2005 to 2007. During his Cheltenham tenure, he established a new ensemble, the Festival Players. In Leeds, he created a new chamber music series called "Music in Transition". On 17 July 2011, Brabbins conducted the 6th live performance of Havergal Brian's Symphony No. 1 "The Gothic" at The Proms, which was later released on a Hyperion commercial recording. Brabbins was subsequently named president of the Havergal Brian Society. Brabbins is also conductor laureate of the Huddersfield Choral Society. In 2002, Brabbins founded a training course for aspiring conductors at the St Magnus International Festival in Orkney, which he continues to co-direct.
Outside of the UK, Brabbins became principal guest conductor of deFilharmonie (Royal Flemish Philharmonic) in 2009. In December 2011, Brabbins was announced as the next chief conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. He held the Nagoya post from 2012 to 2016.
Brabbins first guest-conducted at English National Opera (EMO) in 2012, in a production of Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress. On 21 October 2016, ENO named Brabbins its next music director, with immediate effect. His initial ENO contract is through October 2020.
Brabbins and his wife Karen (née Evans) met at Goldsmiths. The couple married in 1985, and have three children. In January 2013, the University of Bristol awarded Brabbins an honorary degree, of Doctor of Music honoris causa.
- "Honorary degrees 2013 - Martyn Brabbins" (Press release). University of Bristol. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- Rian Evans (2008-07-22). "Festival Academy/Brabbins (Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Andrew Clements (2006-06-23). "The Scottish are coming". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Alfred Hickling (2005-10-14). "Opera North Ensemble/ Brabbins (The Venue, Leeds)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Andrew Clements (2011-07-18). "Prom 4: Gothic Symphony – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Fiona Maddocks (2011-11-27). "Havergal Brian: Symphony No 1 ('The Gothic') – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Tom Service (2006-07-14). "The maestro in me". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Fiona Maddocks (2012-11-11). "The Pilgrim's Progress; Total Immersion: Knussen at 60 – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
- "Martyn Brabbins announced as new Music Director of ENO" (Press release). English National Opera. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
- Hannah Ellis-Petersen (2016-10-21). "English National Opera names Martyn Brabbins as music director". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
- Edward Greenfield (2002-10-11). "Bruch: Violin Concertos nos 1 and 3 Hanslip/ LSO/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Edward Greenfield (2003-10-10). "Gregson: Clarinet Concerto; Violin Concerto; Blazon; Stepping Out, Collins/ Charlier/ BBCPO/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2004-05-06). "Scott: Symphony No 3, The Muses; Piano Concerto No 2; Neptune: Shelley/ Huddersfield Choral Society/ BBC Philharmonic/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2004-02-06). "Bax: St Patrick's Breastplate etc, Bunning/ Huddersfield Choral Society/ BBC Philharmonic/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2008-02-14). "Scott: Symphony No 1; Cello Concerto, Watkins/ BBCPO/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2011-06-23). "Walton: Symphonies Nos 1 and 2 etc – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2007-11-02). "Tippett: Piano Concerto; Handel Fantasia; Piano Sonatas Nos 1-4, Osborne/ BBCSSO/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Andrew Clements (2007-03-08). "Britten on Film, Russell Beale/ Carewe/ BCMG/ Brabbins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Michael McManus (2014-07-22). "Introducing the Great Animal Orchestra Symphony". Gramophone. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Anthony Holden (2004-07-31). "Birtwistle, Theseus Game, Earth Dances". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Intermusica agency biography of Martyn Brabbins
- Answers.com page on Martyn Brabbins
- Dutch-language page of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic on Martyn Brabbins
- "Martyn Brabbins moves to NPO". International Arts Manager, 15 December 2011
|Artistic Director, Cheltenham Music Festival
|Chief Conductor, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra
|Music DIrector, English National Opera