Meet the Maestro ~ Sunriver Music Festival’s Artistic Director & Conductor Brett Mitchell

(Brett Mitchell in the Great Hall | Photo courtesy of Sunriver Music Festival)

Hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of thoughtfully curated programs, American conductor Brett Mitchell is in consistent demand on the podium at home and abroad. In September 2021, he was named Artistic Director & Conductor of Sunriver Music Festival. As excitement rises for his second full season in Bend & Sunriver this August, let’s learn a bit more about the maestro, in his words:

Q: As Artistic Director of Sunriver Music Festival, what do you try to accomplish when you curate the summer season of music?

A: Orchestras can and should be a welcoming place for every kind of audience member. We have the four classical programs that are the cornerstone of our season, but there’s also a Pops performance and a Discover the Symphony concert for our youngest fans every season, too. I grew up loving so many different kinds of music that it really influences the broad array of repertoire we perform at the Festival.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Sunriver Music Festival Orchestra?

A: We have a truly fantastic, fully professional orchestra that comes from all over the country to Bend and Sunriver for two weeks each summer. Throughout the rest of the year, our musicians can be found playing in orchestras across the country, many in leadership and principal positions. One of our greatest points of pride is the long relationships we have with our musicians, some of whom have now been with us for over 40 years!

Q: Do you have favorite symphonies that you love to conduct more than others? If so, will you share which ones?

A: I’m really lucky in that I tend to fall in love with whatever pieces I’m studying or conducting at the moment. That said, I do have personal preferences, and have always been very drawn to the hyper-romantic music of Gustav Mahler. I first discovered it as a teenager and have never looked back. I’m truly thrilled that we’re presenting his Symphony No. 4 in Sunriver this summer on August 14!

Q: What makes Sunriver special to you?

A: I spent a lot of time in Oregon when I was growing up; I’m originally from Seattle, but my mom is from Oregon, and her whole family still lived there when I was small. I’ve got more great memories than I can count of things like visiting Crater Lake, tubing down the Rogue River, and going to the Josephine County Fair. To be able to spend a couple weeks making world-class music and enjoying the scenery back in Oregon every summer — particularly now that my wife and I have a little one of our own—is really a dream come true!

For Maestro Mitchell’s extensive professional biography and for tickets to Sunriver Music Festival’s August 7-14 concert series in Bend and Sunriver, visit

Sunriver Music Festival is committed to expanding the audience for classical music by presenting a world-class musical experience in Bend and Sunriver and by nurturing the next generation of artistic talent.

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