The musical career of Gavin Sutherland has been so varied and draws on so many talents as to astonish those just familiarizing themselves with his work. Born in 1972, he has already made over 70 recordings, both as conductor and pianist. His compositions and arrangements have also been appearing with increasing frequency on recordings and in concert. Sutherland has been primarily associated with British light music and has conducted the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and City of Prague Symphony Orchestra for several popular multi-disc series on the Naxos, Epoch, and White Line labels devoted to the genre. But he has conducted much serious fare as well, including works by Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and contemporary British film composers. Sutherland regularly appears as a pianist, mixing work as recitalist, soloist (where he often conducts from the keyboard), and accompanist. Beside the labels mentioned above, Sutherland has recorded for ASV, Sony, Dutton, Warner Classics, Campion, and Olympian.
Sutherland was born in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England. He began playing the piano at three and at seven took up the trombone. He enrolled at Huddersfield University, where he studied composition with Peter J. Lawson, piano with Bernard Robertson, and conducting with John Gulley and John Longstaff. He abandoned the trombone in his early student years.
Sutherland captured the Kruczynski Prize (for piano) and the Davidson Prize in his last year at Huddersfield. From 1992-1998 he served as a staff conductor and company pianist at the Northern Ballet Theatre. During his years there Sutherland began freelancing as a conductor and appearing regularly in concert as a pianist.
Following his stint at the Northern Ballet Theatre, Sutherland increased his freelance activity, making frequent appearances with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra, with whom he has made numerous radio broadcasts. He also began expanding his activities abroad, leading ensembles like the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, Munich Radio Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the Australian Pops Philharmonic. In 2001 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004 Sutherland married clarinetist Verity Butler, for whom he has written several works, including a Clarinet Concerto, which the two recorded in 2007 for Dutton. In June 2008 Sutherland accepted the post of music director at the English National Ballet. The 2008-2009 season included performances of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker and Massenet's Manon.