Sarasota Orchestra Announces Passing of Music Director Bramwell Tovey

Arts & Culture

On July 13th, the Sarasota Orchestra announced with heavy hearts that Music Director Bramwell Tovey had passed away, following a battle with a rare form of sarcoma. Tovey, who passed on Tuesday night, just one day after celebrating his 69th birthday, joined the Sarasota Orchestra as Musical Director in 2021.

“While his time here was short, his impact was really quite grandiose,” says Joseph McKenna, President and CEO of the Sarasota Orchestra. “He’s going to leave a remarkable legacy in the music world, far bigger than just Sarasota. His legacy is one of an institution builder—from his time with the Vancouver Symphony and Winnipeg Symphony, and countless other companies, he was respected all over the world as a conductor."

Tovey’s illustrious career began as a student at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of London and included stops at the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and an array of other high profile companies. In 2021 alone, Tovey was not only named Music Director of the Sarasota Orchestra, but also extended his artistic leadership position with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and was appointed as Principal Guest Conductor with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec.

Through it all, Tovey’s incredible music acumen was matched only by his down-to-earth spirit. “Bramwell was like the commoner who became the conductor—if you were to meet him in the hallway, he’d have a very warm and casual conversation with you. He brought that same sort of warmth and genuineness to the podium when he was making music and leading the orchestra,” says McKenna. “One of the things that was so remarkable about him was that he treated everybody the same, whether you were a first-year player, a board member or one of our administrative staff. We were really blessed to have him as our Music Director."

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