The English conductor, Brian MacKay [McKay], is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and the Kodaly Institute. He studied conducting under Lawrence Leonard, János Fürst, Katalin Kiss and Peter Erdei.
Brian MacKay has wide ranging experience as a conductor, pianist, vocal coach, orchestral oboist, chamber musician and teacher. He conducted for many years in Ireland: at Castle Ward Opera as well as giving performances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, The Czech Virtuosi, Orchestra of St Cecilia, Fishamble Voices, Wexford Sinfonia and the Nairobi Orchestra. He was Musical Director of the St.George’s Singers, Belfast, from 2002 to 2008. He conducted the Dublin choir Enchiriadis Treis for more than ten years and had associations with Tallagh choral Society, the Belfast Philharmonic, the RTE Philharmonic, Trinity Choral Society and the Goethe-Institut Choir. From 2007 to 2009 he was Principal Conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland.
As a coach and repetiteur Brian MacKay worked for many years for Opera Theatre Company and Wexford Festival Opera and has been a guest coach at the RSAMD and the Liszt Academy, Budapest. During two years as a student in Hungary Brian sang with the professional Hungarian choir ‘Ars Nova’ and was made a life member for his services to the group.
Brian MacKay has always maintained a performing career alongside his conducting work, concentrating on chamber music at the piano or harpsichord. He has played continuo with many ensembles, most notably the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Teaching experience includes Royal College of Music, the City of London School, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, several years as Chair of the Kodály Society of Ireland, Artistic Directorship of Irish Vocal Masterclasses and many seminars, workshops and summer schools throughout Ireland and in the UK, Europe and Africa.
In 2009 Brian MacKay moved to Portugal and now lives in Ferreira do Zêzere. Since arriving in Portugal he has given recitals with singers in theatres and concert halls throughout Portugal, including Palácio Foz and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon. Now living in Portugal, he is the Artistic Director of the Zêzere Arts Festival (since January 2011), director of the Coro Juvenil Maria Dias Ferreira, and continues a busy career as a guest choral and orchestral conductor and performer.