Click to to listen to Brian Current conducting the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Claude Vivier's Lonely Child (excerpt) with Nathalie Paulin, Soprano:
Brian Current has conducted a wide range of contemporary repertoire from Ligeti and Varèse to George Benjamin and Magnus Lindberg. He has championed numerous works by living composers, including commissioned premieres by Andrew Staniland, Robert Lemay, Linda C. Smith and Omar Daniel. Through his international work as a composer he has brought many previously unheard pieces to Canada, including music by Akira Nishimura, Enno Poppe, Fabien Levy and Stefan Niculescu. He also seeks to seamlessly include electronics into performances and has commissioned and programmed works that feature the orchestra performing alongside new technology.
Brian’s mission as a conductor is to improve the dialogue between listeners and composers. Through a stage manner that is friendly and engaging, audiences are encouraged to listen for features common to 21st century music such as texture, colour or irregular rhythms. Examples from the orchestra are often used. To this end, in 2008 Brian created the large-scale work A Young Person’s Guide to New Music for Symphony Orchestra, in which a narrator describes aspects of 21st century music while the orchestra demonstrates in real time. He is also regularly involved with educational activities and gives talks to groups of music teachers and specialized visits to school orchestras.
Since 2007 Brian has been the director of the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School (Royal Conservatory), which is active in performing works for large ensembles in venues throughout Toronto. Students are encouraged to commission and perform new works throughout their professional careers.
Described by the Globe and Mail as a conductor “with assurance and no undue fuss”, Brian has concerts conducted with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, New Music Concerts, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Canadian New Music Projects, the Kensington Symphonietta (Calgary), Soundstreams (Toronto), Continuum (Toronto), Mark Neikrug’s Through Roses (Centre for the Arts), the Blue Engine String Quartet (Halifax), CBC's In Performance and On Stage as well as the Esprit Orchestra's New Waves Festival . On the Juno-nominated recording, This Isn’t Silence, Works for Symphony Orchestra, Brian conducts his own Concertino in a performance by Robert Aitken and the New Music Concerts Ensemble.
In 2013, Brian has been invited to return to curate and conduct the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's Canadian Music Festival.
In October of 2009, Brian Current was the artistic director of Nuit Blanche at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. In celebration of the opening of the new Koerner Hall, Brian directed over 200 musicians, singers, staff, volunteers and electronics in an installation performance of James Tenney's In a Large Open Space which spanned the entire building and lasted 12 hours. Musical direction was sent via mass text messaging. An estimated 15 000 people attended throughout the night.
In May of 2010, he presented Brian’s Picks, as guest curator and conductor with New Music Concerts of Toronto. Recorded for CBC Radio 2, the concert presented works by internationally-recognized young composers, performed by Toronto’s top soloists and members of the Toronto symphony. In April of 2009, following a 6-month composer residency in Japan, Brian presented a full evening of large-scale works by Japanese and Canadian composers in the new Conservatory Theatre of the Telus Centre. Other themed concerts include “What is Spectral Music” (December 3 2009) and “Music and Social Ethics” (April 10, 2010).
As a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Brian studied conducting with David Milnes and was the director of the Berkeley Summer Symphony. He was selected to take part in the National Arts Centre Conducting Training program in 2000, where he worked with Jorma Panula and conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Brian Current lives in Toronto and is active as a professional composer of music for symphony orchestras. His music has won numerous international prizes and has been broadcast in over 35 countries. He is on the boards the Toronto Arts Council, the Canadian League of Composers and New Music Concerts.
Brian Current conducts the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School at the Four Seasons Centre Atrium.