Gary Clifford Dennis Brain, OBE (born 1943), is a conductor. He was principal timpanist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra until an accident damaged his wrist beyond repair. After that he retrained as a conductor, studying under Rafael Kubelík for four years, and attended master classes with Lorin Maazel. He has been a professional conductor since 1990.
1 Background and personal life,
3 Playing career,
10 External links,
Background and personal life:
Brain was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand in 1943, the only child of Charlotte Helèn (Ivy) and Clifford Charles Brain. As a child he studied the piano, cello, horn and percussion instruments. Brain was a foundation member of the Manawatu Youth Orchestra and was also a member of the Wellington Youth Orchestra and New Zealand National Youth Orchestra.
Gary Brain has lived in Paris with his partner since 1986. He is divorced and has two adult children.
He began his career as a timpanist after attending Berlin's Staatliche Hochschule für Musik. He studied piano, cello and composition with Boris Blacher and timpani with Werner Tharichen, the timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic. He played in the BBC Training Orchestra in Bristol, United Kingdom.
Brain played as a percussionist with the National Orchestra of Wales and the Ulster Orchestra in Ireland and as timpanist with the Royal Opera, London. In 1968 he was appointed principal timpanist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
About this time, Brain founded his "Concerts in Schools" programme. He toured New Zealand with one tonne of instruments, doing solo performances at schools, colleges and universities. He aimed to bring classical music to young people in a light-hearted and interesting way and at the same time promote the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He also took his one man programme to Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Egypt.
He also founded "Music for Youth" (Jeunesses Musicals) the South Pacific's branch of the World Youth Orchestra.
On an 747 jumbo flight to the United States, a suitcase fell from an overhead locker and crushed Brain's wrist. Despite many operations, and with serious septicaemia infections, he was unable to continue his playing career.
Brain was awarded a French Foreign Ministry Fellowship by the French Ambassador to New Zealand, M.Gabriel de Bellize, to re-train as a conductor at the National Conservatoire in Paris. He studied conducting with Rafael Kubelík (privately) for four years and attended master classes given by Lorin Maazel. He was given a post as assistant conductor at the Orchestra Intercontemporain of Pierre Boulez which was then under the musical directorship of David Robertson. His first concert was with the Chorus of the Paris Opera Comique (Rossini's 'Petite Messe Solennelle')
As a conductor Brain has made a number of commercial CD recordings. The first was Rossini's 'Petite Messe Solennelle' with the chorus of the Paris Opéra Comique, recorded live by Pickwick Records. He has also recorded with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Ireland, the Royal Orchestra of Seville, Spain, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Hannover Radio Symphony Orchestra des NDR, Germany, the Uralsk (Urals) Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra (televised performance). He conducted the London Philharmonia Orchestra at international festivals. In addition he completed three commercial CD recordings at Abbey Road for Koch.
Brain received an 'Echo' Deutschland Schallplatten First Prize for "Conducting the Finest Symphonic CD for 1997" with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, with which he had also recorded three CDs. With the Philharmonia Orchestra he also made well-received complete recordings in world premieres of the music of Czeslaw Marek (Martin Anderson in Fanfare Mag. U.S.A.).
He has conducted in London, Paris, Germany, Italy, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Russia, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He is the only ex-member of the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra to conduct the orchestra. China, Japan.
Shortly after the war in Bosnia, UNESCO commissioned Brain to go there to prepare a white paper on the future of the country's orchestra. The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra had united the population during their war performing in cellars under candlelight. Brain found only twelve musicians left where there had been 150 previously. UNESCO mounted a fund-raising concert in Paris. Brain conducted the "Symphony Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi" from Milan in a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Soloists included the German bass René Pape, French soprano Françoise Pollet and two soloists from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Monies collected from this concert and TV rights helped rebuild the orchestra in Sarajevo. Now Muslim musicians play alongside Jewish and Christian colleagues.
In the 1984 New Year Honours, Brain was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to music. He is also a recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship and Artistes de la Paix UNESCO.
"Verre et Violon", a sonata for violin inspired by Juan Gris's painting "Violin and Glass",
"Waitomo", soundtrack for a Japanese film,
"Symphony for Large String Orchestra",
"Manco Capac", a ballet in one act.,
^ Eames, David (19 January 2009). "Conductor drumming up interest in art roadshow". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2011. ,
^ Gary Brain - career.,
^ NZ "Listener" Feb 2009,
^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 49584, 30 December 1983. Retrieved 10 February 2013.