Brendan Townsend

Music Director

Brendan Townsend enters his 16th season as Music Director of the Laredo Phil having received the nation's top award from the League of American Orchestras with a first place 2014 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

BRENDAN TOWNSEND is celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic for his deeply probing artistry, technique and energy.

Prior to his appointment in Laredo, Brendan Townsend held directorships with Tennessee’s Bryan Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and the Netherlands’ Ars Antiqua et Nova and Sinfonietta Geleen. Guest conducting throughout Europe has included performances with the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Symphony Orchestra, Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Düsseldorf, Opera Comique Maastricht, Opera Zuid and the Transylvanian State Symphony. In the United States he has led performances with the symphony orchestras of Charleston, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Knoxville, Mississippi, San Antonio and Topeka. In recent seasons, Mr. Townsend has been a regular conductor with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Honduras.

In recent years, Mr. Townsend has become widely known as a proponent of American composers and is deeply committed to bringing the works of living composers into the standard repertoire. In addition to presenting the scores of established composers such as John Adams, Behzad Ranjbaran, Christopher Rouse and Roberto Sierra, Mr. Townsend consistently champions several self-publishing composers, including Lee Actor, Linda Robbins Coleman and Linda Tutas Haugen.


His work in Laredo has been recognized by the League of American Orchestras for its commitment to the music of living composers; in 2007, Townsend and the Laredo Phil received the ASCAP Award for Innovative Programming and, most recently, they have been selected as the 2013-14 First Place winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

A native of Cork, Ireland, Townsend studied cello at the Cork School of Music. He continued his studies at the Conservatorium voor Muziek in Maastricht, the Netherlands with Mirel Iancovici (cello) and Jan Stulen (conducting). He also worked with Ilya Musin and Yuri Temirkanov at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy and with Sir Edward Downes as part of the Kondrashin Conducting Masterclasses.


Townsend is a passionate educator and has been a frequent clinician across the southern states of Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. He continues to perform as a cellist.