Dr Bretton Brown

Key details:

Keyboard | Vocal Studies
Collaborative Piano (Keyboard); Vocal Coach and Aria, Song & Oratorio (Vocal Studies)
Bretton Brown
Photo by Arthur Moeller


Japanese American pianist Bretton Brown enjoys a diverse career as song accompanist, chamber musician, and coach. He lives in London and made his debut there in 2016 accompanying Renée Fleming at Wigmore Hall. Further recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Edinburgh International Festival. In 2023/24, he tours the US with Julia Bullock and the UK with Hera Hyesang Park. His season began at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, where he prepared the world premiere of Picture a day like this, the newest opera by Sir George Benjamin and Martin Crimp. 

Brown has worked closely with George Benjamin for over a decade. In addition to the world premiere of Picture a day like this, he has assisted the composer as repetiteur/coach for the world premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) and subsequent productions across Europe; the American and Canadian premieres of Written on Skin; and concert performances of The Dream of the Song with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has performed as a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the composer’s baton in concerts at the BBC Proms, the Berliner Philharmonie, and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. This season, he also performs Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto with members of the MCO at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and he returns to the Royal Opera House to prepare the London premiere of Picture a day like this. Future plans include further productions of that opera as well as Written on Skin.

In 2024, Brown returns to the Dutch National Opera as repetiteur/coach for the world premiere of The Shell Trial by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid. He has also prepared the world premiere of Zauberland, written for Julia Bullock, at le Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and he assisted Renée Fleming in the preparation of André Previn’s final work, Penelope, written for her and first performed at Tanglewood, where Brown was twice a fellow, receiving the Henri Kohn Memorial Award from the Festival in 2013.

As a coach, Brown has prepared singers for principal roles at the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Salzburg Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, and San Francisco Opera, and for concert performances at the Venice Biennale, Carnegie Hall, and the Proms. Also committed to the development of younger artists, Brown is on faculty at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London where he teaches pianists, coaches singers, and has curated several innovative song projects. He was visiting professor of collaborative piano at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has held multiple residencies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. His students have won the Gerald Moore Award and the Pianist’s Prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards and have earned places on young-artist programmes at international opera houses, including the Bayerische Staatsoper. Beginning in summer 2024, he will lead the resident artist program of the Lakes Area Music Festival in Minnesota.

Raised in Kentucky, Brown was educated at Yale, the New England Conservatory, and Juilliard. He won prizes for music and poetry at Yale and was awarded Juilliard's Richard F. French Doctoral Prize for his dissertation on the life and music of Gustav Holst.