After studying classical guitar for six years, Brian Nixon became more interested in hitting things than plucking them.
While still in high school, studying under Richard Miller and playing with the Willoughby Brass Band (where he is now a life member) and the Sydney Youth Orchestra, Brian was chosen to represent Australia as a percussionist in the first Asian Regional Youth Music Camp held in Manila, the Philippines.
Since then, as a much sought after freelance drummer, timpanist and percussionist, Brian has worked through a very wide spectrum of the music industry. As a drummer, he has backed many local and international rock and club acts. He has been Principal Timpanist with the Australian World Orchestra working with Simone Young and Zuben Mehta and has played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist and/or Timpanist, in a casual or contract role every year of his professional life. He has been the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Principal Timpanist since the 1980’s and Brandenburg’s Principal Timpanist/Percussionist since 2000.
Brian has performed with the Orchestra of the Antipodes and Pinchgut Opera since their inception. He has also played extensively with the Opera Australia Orchestra and performed with some of the world’s greatest singers including Sutherland, Domingo, Pavarotti, Kaufmann and more recently Netrebko.
He has toured the United States of America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China and Italy with the SSO; Japan, USA and Europe with the ACO and Europe with the ABO.
As well as the major orchestras, Brian has performed with and/or recorded for such diverse groups and performers as the Australia Ensemble, Sydney Dance Company, Synergy Percussion, INXS, Neil Finn, John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Natalie Cole, John Farnham, Harry Connick Jr. and Silverchair – just to name a few. As a session musician, he has performed on over one hundred and fifty albums and has worked on countless radio/TV and cinema jingles, documentaries and film scores, from Hanna-Barbera cartoons to feature films such as Happy Feet 1 & 2, Australia and the Lego franchise.
Brian has also composed percussion solos and adjudicated for many NSW and national competitions. He has examined for the AMEB, NSW Brass Band Association, NSW Conservatorium and Canberra School of Music and has been involved in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s program of workshops and national auditioning. Brian started and directed the percussion program at Barker College, Hornsby until 2009.
Brian has played in nine Pinchgut productions so far.