David Briskin

Music Director and Principal Conductor

David Briskin. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

David Briskin. Photo by Karolina Kuras.


Music Director and Principal Conductor of The National Ballet of Canada since 2006, David Briskin is widely recognized as one of contemporary ballet’s most accomplished conductors.

"David Briskin superbly conducted the Orchestre Prométhée"
Danses Avec La Plume on Nijinsky in Paris

Prior to moving to Canada, David lived and worked for 23 years as a conductor in New York City, working in opera, ballet and in concert. He conducted for seven years with American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City Center and in major opera houses throughout the world and was a seasonal conductor for New York City Ballet. In addition, he has conducted for nearly all the major North American ballet companies.

Highly in demand internationally as a guest conductor, David has appeared regularly with The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, The Royal Swedish Ballet and The Royal Danish Ballet where this season he conducted productions of Romeo and Juliet and La Sylphide in Copenhagen and on tour throughout Denmark. David will make his first appearance this season with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and is currently serving as Music Director for the Nureyev Legend and Legacy Gala Programme featuring dancers from The Royal Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, Het Nationale Ballet, English National Ballet and other international guests at the Drury Lane Theatre in London in September 2022.

David has appeared with orchestras and opera companies throughout Europe, Asia and North America including the Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati Pops, Indianapolis, Windsor and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, as well as Calgary Opera, Manitoba Opera, Opera Carolina, Lake George Opera and Sarasota Opera.
Over the years David has been extremely active in arts education.  In 2008, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music where he taught conducting and served as Director of Orchestral Activities and Conductor of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra until 2015.
David has served on juries for the Ontario Arts Council, the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation. He has been a strong advocate for musical life in Toronto speaking publicly on behalf of the National Ballet, Luminato Festival and the University of Toronto, among others.


The Winter's Tale
“The composer Joby Talbot produces a beautiful score bubbling with exotic percussive spices, dancey rhythms, dramatic flourishes and full blooded melodies under the fabulous David Briskin conducting.”
— The Times, London

“Kudos must also go to conductor David Briskin and the National Ballet Orchestra. The music soared to glorious heights in the famous themes from Rimskij-Korsakov’s Schéhérazade, while in complete contrast, the orchestra perfectly captured the edgy modernism of excerpts from the works of Shostakovich.”
—The Globe and Mail

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“the music, composed by Joby Talbot and rendered with the kind of skill and precision we have come to expect from the NBOC Orchestra under the baton of David Briskin, seems designed first and foremost to serve this fanciful production.”
—Toronto Sun