Brian MacKay has wide ranging experience as a conductor, pianist, vocal coach, orchestral oboist, chamber musician and teacher. 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. Before leaving Ireland in 2009 to live in Portugal, Brian conducted for many years at Castle Ward Opera as well as giving performances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, The Czech Virtuosi, Orchestra of St Cecilia, Fishamble Voices, Wexford Sinfonia and the Nairobi Orchestra. He spent his last two years in Ireland as principal conductor of the National Chamber Choir. Now living in Portugal, he is the Artistic Director of the Zêzere Arts Festival and continues a busy career as a freelance conductor and performer.
Brian 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 Tallaght choral society, the Belfast Philharmonic, the RTE Philharmonic, Trinity choral society and the Goethe Institute choir.
As a coach and repetiteur he 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.