Michael Brimer

Michael Brimer

Michael Brimer (born 8 August 1933) is a pianist, organist, conductor, composer, and academic.

He was born in South Africa and studied with Eleanor Bonnar, a pupil of Leopold Godowsky. He continued studies at the University of Cape Town, the Royal College of Music, the Royal School of Church Music in London and at the University of Cambridge. He also studied in Vienna and Australia, where he now lives. He was music master at Brisbane’s Church of England Grammar School in the late 1950s. During that time, he staged Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, the first time an out-of-copyright G&S production had been staged in Queensland.[1] His academic career included appointments at the University of Western Australia, Monash University and the University of Natal as Foundation Professor of Music, the University of Cape Town as Dean of the Faculty of Music. and the University of Melbourne where he was for nine years the Ormond Professor of Music. He was appointed Professor Emeritus on leaving Melbourne and subsequently has been based in Sydney while performing and lecturing.

His international solo-performing career also flourished and he has given concerts in many countries as recitalist, soloist and chamber musician. In 1962 he premiered Malcolm Williamson's Piano Concerto No. 2. He is a member of The Australian Trio, along with Donald Hazlewood (violin) and Georg Pedersen (cello).[2] He has performed the complete series of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas five times to great critical acclaim. In Australia, both the live broadcast and recorded series of the Beethoven and of the complete Schumann piano works have been voted the most popular series on ABC Classic FM in the ABC’s annual listener survey.

Michael Brimer’s many performances as organist have included those at the Royal Albert Hall, Clare and King’s Colleges, Cambridge, and the Sydney and Melbourne Town Halls, as well as soloist with Australian orchestras.

His conducting experience with orchestras in Australia and overseas has encompassed opera, choral and orchestral repertoire, from classical to contemporary works (including premiere performances).

He and his wife Judith were among the co-founders of the Bermagui Four Winds Festival, at which some of his works have been played and he has appeared as a pianist.[3]

Michael Brimer has composed a number of works. Both his Piano Trios were premiered with the Australian Trio,[2] and the first (2001) has recorded.[4]

In 1975, his book Utopia Unlimited was published in Cape Town.[5]

In 2005, Professor Brimer was appointed Music Pedagogy Adviser to the Australian Music Examinations Board (NSW), and is a member of AMEB's Teaching Specialist Panel.[6]

He was a juror for the 2006 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition,[1] and the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition (SIPCA). He also assisted Warren Thomson in the Sydney auditions for the 2008 SIPCA.[7]



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