Brett Dean studied in Brisbane before moving to Germany in 1984 where he was a permanent member of the Berliner Philharmoniker for 14 years. He began composing in 1988, initially concentrating on experimental film and radio projects and as an improvising performer. Mr Dean’s reputation as a composer continued to develop, and it was through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel´s Music (1995), which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and Carlo (1997) for strings, sampler and tape, inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo, that he gained international recognition.
Now one of the most internationally-performed composers of his generation, much of Brett Dean’s work draws from literary, political, environmental or visual stimuli, including compositions inspired by artwork by his wife Heather Betts. His music is championed by many of the leading conductors and orchestras worldwide, including Sir Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, Marin Alsop, David Robertson, John Storgards, Richard Tognetti and Simone Young.
In 2009 Mr Dean won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition for his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing, and in 2016 was awarded the Don Banks Music Award by Australia Council. In December 2016 Dean's String Quartet No.2 ‘And once I played Ophelia’ was awarded the Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize. 2016/17 sees the world premiere of Mr Dean’s new opera Hamlet, with libretto by Matthew Jocelyn, at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
Brett Dean is Artist in Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra 2014-2017, and Artist in Residence with the Sydney Symphony from 2016 -2018, both positions which will involve conducting, performing and creative programming. He is Artist-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence with Taiwan Philharmonic and at the 2017 Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival respectively, and is 2016/17 Composer in Focus at Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.
Brett Dean is represented by Intermusica. The works of Brett Dean are published by Boosey & Hawkes.