Born in Seattle in 1979, Brett Mitchell holds degrees in conducting from the University of Texas 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 from 2007 to 2010.
Mr. Mitchell began his appointment as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in September 2017. Previously he served as associate conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, whom he led in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour. Mr. Mitchell also served as 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 2015, Mr. Mitchell completed a five-year tenure as music director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony (MI). As an opera conductor, he has conducted nearly a dozen productions, principally during his tenure as music director of the Moores Opera Center in Houston. His repertory spans the core works of Mozart, Verdi, and Stravinsky, to recent and contemporary works by Mark Adamo, Robert Aldridge, Daniel Catán, and Daron Hagen. From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Mitchell was assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony, and he also held assistant conductor posts with Orchestre National de France and the Castleton Festival.
Mr. Mitchell’s guest conducting engagements include his debuts at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, New Zealand Symphony, and the San Antonio Symphony, and appearances with the orchestras of Detroit, Washington DC, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Oregon, and Rochester, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. During the 2018-19 season, he made his subscription debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Dallas and Vancouver symphonies, and he returned to the Cleveland Orchestra for performances of An American in Paris. This summer he leads the Indianapolis Symphony during their summer festival at Conner Prairie. This performance marks his San Francisco Symphony debut.
In addition to his work with orchestras, Mr. Mitchell is also well-known for his affinity for working with and mentoring young orchestral musicians. He is regularly invited to work with the musicians at the Cleveland Institute of Music at such programs as the National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival.