Following studies in Australia, Brett Dean travelled to Germany in 1985 and became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as viola player. In addition to his orchestral career, he has performed as a soloist. In 1988, he began composing, initially as an arranger. Since 2000, he has lived in Australia as freelance composer.
Brett has worked in improvisation for radio and film projects in Australia and became established as a composer in his own right through worldwide performances of the ballet One of a Kind (Nederlands Dans Theater, choreographer Jiri Kylian) and by the clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music, which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.
Paintings from his partner Heather Betts have initiated numerous compositions. Leading interpreters of Dean’s music include Sir Simon Rattle, Markus Stenz, Simone Young, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Daniel Harding.