Brabbins is known for his affinity with music of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, to which he brings a Romantic sensibility, unerring sense of pace and an extraordinary ear for detail. He is closely associated with British music, and his recordings of the Walton symphonies with the BBC Scottish Symphony were released by Hyperion in May 2011 to unanimous critical acclaim; in June he conducted the Hallé Orchestra in Elgar’s Gerontius for the Huddersfield Choral Society’s 175th anniversary; and in July he gave a rare performance at the BBC Proms of Havergal Brian’s monumental Gothic Symphony, with over 1000 performers. He has also conducted hundreds of world premieres and has close links with many of today’s foremost composers.
In 11/12 he guests in a wide range of repertoire with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Philharmonia, Deutsche Symphonieorchester Berlin, BBC Scottish Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Iceland Symphony. His plans with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic include the curatorship of a new cutting-edge festival, and special Remembrance Day performances of Britten’s War Requiem across Flanders. He will revive Jonathan Harvey’s opera Wagner Dream to the BBC Symphony’s Harvey weekend at the Barbican, will conduct at the Berliner Festspiele with Musikfabrik and appears with the London Sinfonietta at the Southbank.
Since his early days conducting Mozart at the Kirov, Brabbins has conducted at the Netherlands Opera, Frankfurt and Hamburg Operas, Deutsche Oper Berlin and English National Opera. In Spring 2012 he returns for new productions to the Flemish Opera (Christian Jost première) and to the Opera de Lyon (Ravel/Zemlinsky double bill).
Brabbins has an extensive discography of works ranging from Romantic to contemporary repertoire with companies including Chandos, Collins Classics and NMC; his recording of Korngold's Die Kathrin with the BBC Concert Orchestra for CPO won the Opera Award at Cannes. He has recorded over 30 discs with the BBC Scottish Symphony on Hyperion, who are now also recording several discs with Brabbins and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.