Brett Dean studied in Australia before moving to Germany where he was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years, during which time he began composing. His music is championed by many leading conductors and orchestras, including Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Jurowski, Simone Young, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Marin Alsop and Sakari Oramo. Much of Dean’s work draws from literary, political, environmental or visual stimuli, including a number of compositions inspired by artwork by his wife, Heather Betts.

Dean began composing in 1988, and gained international recognition through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel's Music (1995), which won a UNESCO Composers award, and Carlo (1997), inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo. In 2009 Dean won the Grawemeyer Award for violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing. In June 2017 his second opera Hamlet was premiered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera to great acclaim, winning the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Awards and an International Opera Award. Dean also appears with many of the world’s leading orchestras as a conductor and as violist, performing his own Viola Concerto and in chamber music with other soloists and ensembles.

Dean is currently Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and featured composer with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His work has been premiered with Bayerische Staatsorchester, City of Birmingham Symphony and NDR Elbphilharmonie.