Hailed for delivering compelling performances of innovative, eclectic programs, Brett Mitchell was named the fourth Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in September 2016. He served as the orchestra’s Music Director Designate during the 16/17 season and concluded his four year appointment in June 2021.
Mr. Mitchell concluded his tenure as the Associate Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2017. He joined the orchestra as Assistant Conductor in 2013 and was promoted to Associate in 2015, becoming the orchestra’s first Associate Conductor in over three decades and only the fifth in its 98 year history. In this role, he led the orchestra in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour. Mr. Mitchell also served as the Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), which he led on a four-city tour of China, marking the ensemble's second international tour and its first to Asia. In May, 2019 he returned to the Cleveland Orchestra to lead subscription performances of the movie An American in Paris and in July 2021 returns to conduct the orchestra in two concerts at the Blossom Music Festival.
In addition to his work in Cleveland and Denver, Brett Mitchell is in consistent demand as a guest conductor. Recent and upcoming guest engagements include subscription debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Dallas, Vancouver, San Antonio, North Carolina, Pasadena, Fort Worth and New Zealand symphonies and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, as well as debuts with the Grant Park Music Festival in downtown Chicago and the Indianapolis Symphony during the orchestra’s summer festival at Conner Prairie. He has also appeared with the Detroit, National, Houston, Milwaukee and Oregon symphonies, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra among others.
From 2007 to 2011, Brett Mitchell led over one hundred performances as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony. He also held Assistant Conductor posts with the Orchestre National de France, where he worked under Kurt Masur from 2006 to 2009, and at the Castleton Festival, where he worked under Lorin Maazel in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, Mr. Mitchell completed a highly successful five-year tenure as Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, where an increased focus on locally relevant programming and community collaborations resulted in record attendance throughout his tenure.
As an opera conductor, Brett Mitchell has conducted nearly a dozen productions, principally during his tenure as Music Director of the Moores Opera Center in Houston, where he led eight productions from 2010 to 2013. His repertoire spans the core works of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute), Verdi (Rigoletto and Falstaff), and Stravinsky (The Rake's Progress), to contemporary works by Adamo (Little Women), Aldridge (Elmer Gantry), Catán (Il Postino and Salsipuedes), and Hagen (Amelia).
In addition to his work with professional orchestras, Mr. Mitchell is also well-known for his affinity for working with and mentoring highly talented young musicians aspiring to be professional orchestral players. His work with COYO during his Cleveland Orchestra tenure was highly praised and he is regularly invited to work with the orchestra at the Cleveland Institute of Music as well as at summer orchestral training programs such as the Texas Music Festival, National repertory Orchestra, Interlochen and Sarasota Music Festival.
Born in Seattle in 1979, Brett Mitchell holds degrees in conducting from the University of Texas in Austin and composition from Western Washington University, which selected him as its 2014 Young Alumnus of the Year. He studied at the National Conducting Institute and was selected by Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Mitchell was also one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellowship Program from 2007 to 2010.