The 2015-16 season marks Brett Mitchell’s third year as a member of The Cleveland Orchestra’s conducting staff and as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. His contract has been extended through the 2016-17 season, with his title raised from assistant conductor to associate conductor. Mr. Mitchell serves as cover conductor for Severance Hall and Blossom Music Festival subscription concerts, and provides assistance to music director Franz Welser-Möst — in his first season, he stepped in on several occasions to lead concerts of The Cleveland Orchestra for ailing colleagues, at Severance Hall and Blossom. In June 2015, he led the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in the ensemble's second international tour, to China.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Mitchell has led performances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including appearances with the orchestras of Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Oregon, Rochester, Saint Paul, and Washington D.C., and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, among others. He has also acted as musical assistant and cover conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Recent return engagements include appearances with the orchestras of Detroit, Houston, Rochester, Saint Paul, and Washington D.C.
Mr. Mitchell served as assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony (2007-11), where he concurrently held a League of American Orchestras American Conducting Fellowship. Since that time, he has returned to lead the Houston Symphony regularly as a guest conductor. He was also an assistant conductor to Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France (2006-09) and served as director of orchestras at Northern Illinois University (2005-07). He was associate conductor of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (2002-06), where he led many subscription programs, six world premieres, and several recording projects. Mr. Mitchell has also served as music director of nearly a dozen opera productions, principally as music director at the Moores Opera Center in Houston (2010-13), where he led eight productions.
A native of Seattle, Brett Mitchell holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was also music director of the University Orchestra. He earned a bachelor of music degree in composition from Western Washington University. Mr. Mitchell also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington D.C., and studied extensively with Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival and with Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship.
Updated: October 2015