Justin Brown

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This article is about the conductor, for others with the same name, see Justin Brown (disambiguation).
Justin Brown

Justin Brown (born March 2, 1964 in London, England) is the Elton B. Stephens Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He accepted the position, which includes a four year contract, in November, 2005. Besides conducting (usually sans baton), he is an accomplished concert pianist.

Brown grew up in the London suburb of Sussex, the son of a professor of engineering and a schoolteacher, both amateur musicians. He began playing the piano at age 4 and the violin at 9. He also excelled as a child in athletic pursuits, captaining his school's cricket and soccer teams.

He chose music as his career pursuit and earned his degree from Cambridge University. After graduating he held staff positions at the English National Opera and the Scottish Opera and served as assistant to conductors Leonard Bernstein and Luciano Berio.

Brown's wife Elaine is a former dancer and choreographer who practices as a physical therapist. They have two grown children by adoption, Matthew and Bethan.

Among Brown's goals for the ASO were to increase the core size of the orchestra, to stage performances of Beethoven's nine symphonies, to forge closer relationships with Birmingham's African American community, to program concerts for Sloss Furnace and arrange for the ASO to do more touring and recording to increase their exposure on the world stage. For the SuperPops series he hoped to book guests that would use the orchestra more as a collaborator than as background.

In May 2011 Brown announced that he would step down as music director, but remain with the orchestra for two more years as 'music director laureate' with a reduced schedule, splitting time with his duties as director of the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Preceded by:
Richard Westerfield
music director, Alabama Symphony Orchestra
2005 - 2012
Succeeded by:
Carlos Izcaray


  • "The Six Realms". Odense Symphony Orchestra. in (Peter) Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto. Bridge Records 9178 - nominated for "Best Classical Album" in the 2006 Grammy Awards
  • The Music of Elliott Carter (Vol. 6) Violin Concerto, Four Lauds, Holiday Overture with Rolf Schulte. Odense Symphony Orchestra. Bridge Records 9177
  • Elgar/Barber Cello Concertos with Anne Gastinel. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Naïve V4961
  • Jespar Koch. Orchestral Works. Odense Symphony Orchestra. DACAPO Records 8.226502
  • Bernstein Candide. Scottish National Opera. TER Records 1988, CDTER 1156 (reissue)
  • Taverner: The Protecting Veil Thrinos. Eternal Memory. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Raphael Wallfisch. TRING TRPO 48
  • Light Overture. (2007) Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Poul Ruders Edition 5. Bridge Records.


  • "Justin Brown named Alabama Symphony Orchestra music director" (November 23, 2005) The Birmingham News
  • Huebner, Michael. (January 29, 2006) "Music to city's ears: New conductor wants to take ASO to wider audience." The Birmingham News
  • Huebner, Michael. (February 12, 2006) "Symphony plans ambitious year with new director, diversity." The Birmingham News
  • Urquhart, Marietta (February 2007) "Conductor of electricity." Birmingham Magazine. Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 125-7

External links