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Lee Bracegirdle : Represented Artist

"In Bracegirdle's music there is the strong modern influence of the expressionists of the second Viennese school ... with the music hinting at neo-romanticism." - quote from Lalo Schifrin

Random Audio Sample: Threnos : for solo horn, winds and percussion by Lee Bracegirdle, from the CD Reflections

Photo of Lee Bracegirdle


Lee Bracegirdle has held positions as principal horn in orchestras on three continents, spanning more than three decades. His career as a composer began in 1998 as winner of the Kodaly Composers' Competition (Chicago), which led to numerous commissions and requests for new works from his orchestral colleagues. Since 2008 his compositions have been published by C.F. Peters. As a conductor he trained at Salzburg's Mozarteum and he now conducts orchestras in Australia and Latin America.

A native of Philadelphia, he began studying keyboard and various wind instruments, settling with the French horn at age 14. His tertiary studies were at the Philadelphia Musical Academy specialising in horn and organ, then at the Juilliard School in New York, earning BM and MM degrees. Among his mentors at Juilliard who influenced his compositional style were the composers Pierre Boulez, Vincent Persichetti, Jacob Druckman and Robert Starer.

In 1976-77 he was co-principal horn with Mexico's Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM and principal horn with the México City Chamber Orchestra. In 1977 he was appointed solo horn with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in Bavaria, where he co-founded Germany's premier brass quintet, Rekkenze Brass.

He became Associate Principal Horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1980, where he served until his retirement in 2012. He has made numerous recordings for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a soloist, chamber musician and principal horn. He has edited horn studies for the I.M.C. in New York, and his original studies and brass chamber music are published by 3-C Musikverlag in Bochum, Germany. He has given horn masterclasses in conservatoria in Europe and in North and South America.

From 1990-1992 he studied conducting with Michael Gielen at the Salzburg Mozarteum, took part in masterclasses with Sergiu Celibidache, and made his conducting debut in 1990 with the Orchestra of the Mozarteum. Since 1996 he has been musical director of the Australian Chamber Ballet. He was Chief Conductor of the Woollahra Philharmonic from 2017-2020, and became Honorary Musical Director of Cuba's Orquesta Sinfónica de Oriente in 2020.

He was awarded an honorary diploma from the Chicago-based Kodaly Academy and was subsequently commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for three new compositions: Variations for Orchestra, Ammerseelieder and Euphonium Concerto. Further requests for solo works from his orchestral colleagues have been: Landscape Visions for orchestra, Passacaglia and Gigues for double-bass and chamber orchestra, and Violin Concerto. In 2007 the American Wind Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered Threnos for horn and symphonic winds, and, in 2014, the SSO premiered his Legends of the Old Castle with Louise Johnson as solo harpist. His Violin Concerto was premiered in 2015 with the SSO's former concertmaster Michael Dauth as soloist.

He was composer in residence at Bundanon in 2003 and 2013, and at the Brahmshaus in Baden-Baden, Germany, in 2012 and 2014.

Lee Bracegirdle — current to December 2020

Collaborated with

Pierre Boulez (1972 - 1976)

Dennis Russell Davies (1973 - 1976)

Nigel Butterley (1980 - 1997)

Richard Gill (1980 - 2002)

Scott Kinmont (1994 - 2008)

Gunther Schuller (1994 - 2000)

Reinbert de Leeuw (2000 - 2007)

Michael Dauth (2010 - 2015)

Louise Johnson

Christina Leonard


Studied with

Vincent Persichetti (1973 - 1974)

Robert Starer (1974 - 1975)

Jacob Druckman (1975 - 1976)

Michael Gielen (1990 - 1992)


Influenced by

Alban Berg

Georges Lentz

Witold Lutoslawski

Igor Stravinsky


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Legends of the old castle : for harp, symphonic winds and percussion (2012) Commissioned by Robert Boudreau, American Wind Symphony Orchestra.
Concerto for euphonium and orchestra (euphonium with full orchestra) (2007) Commissioned for Sydney Symphony's 'Meet the Music' series
Threnos : for solo horn, winds and percussion (2007) Commissioned by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra
Ammerseelieder (low voice with orchestra) (2005) Commissioned by Symphony Australia.
Digital sheet music sample Ammerseelieder (low voice with piano) (2005) Commissioned by Symphony Australia.
Odd couples (quartets: horn, piano, violin, cello) (1997) Commissioned for the Australian Chamber Ballet

Analysis & Media

- Document: Profile: Rita Williams profiles Lee Bracegirdle in the first of a series on our Australian composers.

- Video: Concerto for violin and orchestra by Lee Bracegirdle