Music Director and Principal Conductor

David Briskin

Last updated: January 28, 2024

Music Director and Principal Conductor of The National Ballet of Canada since 2006, David Briskin is widely recognized as one of contemporary ballet’s most accomplished conductors. 

Prior to moving to Canada, David lived and worked for 23 years as a conductor in New York City, working in opera, ballet and in concert. He conducted for seven years with American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City Center and in major opera houses throughout the world and was a seasonal conductor for New York City Ballet. In addition, he has conducted for nearly all the major North American ballet companies. 

Highly in demand internationally as a guest conductor, David has appeared with The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, The Royal Swedish Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and Hamburg Ballet. He has collaborated and conducted many important world premieres including Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet, Christopher Wheeldon and Joby Talbot’s The Winter’s Tale and Wayne McGregor and Max Richter’s MADDADDAM. He has worked closely with composers Missy Mazzoli and Lera Auerbach and has served as Music Director for the Nureyev Legend and Legacy Gala at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, which is available on Marquee TV. Last season, he conducted the highly acclaimed concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at Koerner Hall. 

David has appeared with orchestras and opera companies throughout Europe, Asia and North America including the Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati Pops, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Windsor and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, as well as Calgary Opera, Manitoba Opera, Opera Carolina, Lake George Opera and Sarasota Opera, among others. 

Over the years David has been extremely active in arts education. In 2008, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music where he taught conducting and served as Director of Orchestral Activities and Conductor of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra until 2015. He was Conductor for the Juilliard School’s Dance Division for 13 years and has mentored several young and emerging conductors.   

David has served on juries for the Ontario Arts Council, the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation. He has been a strong advocate for musical life in Toronto speaking publicly on behalf of the National Ballet, Luminato Festival and the University of Toronto, among others. 

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