Bryan Schimmel is widely regarded as one of the leading and most diverse Music Directors, Arrangers and Orchestrators in South Africa. With a career of more than thirty years, he has worked in theatre, special events, recording and television across a full spectrum of music from rock bands to Big Bands, string quartets to symphony orchestras. pop to hip-hop. His theatre credits include music direction of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, ANNIE, JERSEY BOYS, DREAMGIRLS, CHICAGO, WE WILL ROCK YOU, RENT and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE working alongside international creative teams. He co-created the original A HANDFUL OF KEYS in 1994 and played the first 350 performances. Most recently, Bryan arranged and conducted a 45-piece orchestra for five sold-out performances of JONATHAN ROXMOUTH: The Musicals in Concert.
Bryan has worked in a creative capacity on numerous high profile industrial events including the Opening Ceremonies of the 60th and 63rd Annual FIFA Congress, eight BIDVEST CEO Awards, six VODACOM CEO Awards, Nelson Mandela's 85th Birthday, and performing before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Other highlight projects include writing arrangements for a 40-piece orchestra for the launch of the Shanghai Grand Theatre in China, creating a specially arranged symphonic medley of television and movie themes for M-Net’s 25th Birthday, composing and conducting a symphonic soundtrack to a film montage celebrating the 80th birthday of sporting icon Gary Player. Bryan has written arrangements for, and conducted, pop stars Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden (formerly of Westlife), Broadway star Amra-Faye Wright and Drama Desk Award nominee Christina Bianco.
He composed original music for strings to accompany powerhouse percussion group 1st Project on their album entitled STRINGS ATTACHED and he arranged and co-produced Jonathan Roxmouth’s albums FROM THE FOOTLIGHTS, I'M PLAYING YOUR SONG and MY LLOYD WEBBER. His arrangements can also be heard on the newest album ARTIIFACT by hip-hop star Anatii, The Muses’ POP ON STRINGS 3, Swing City’s WELL SWUNG and Philip Cox’s trumpet solo album TOP DRAWER. He sits on the Board of The Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company and he has conducted the UNISA Foundation and Johannesburg Festival Orchestras.
Bryan’s talents have taken him all over the world: He worked on Broadway in David Kramer's KAT AND THE KINGS, Off-Broadway in WHEN PIGS FLY and NAKED BOYS SINGING, toured America with a production of MEET ME IN ST LOUIS, had the pleasure of working with Academy Award winning composer Stephen Schwartz on CHILDREN OF EDEN at North Shore Music Theatre in Massachusetts. He conducted CRAZY FOR YOU in Basel, Switzerland, and toured to Edinburgh with a production of CLOSER THAN EVER. He traveled to New Zealand and Korea as Music Supervisor of the 2008 Asian tour of WE WILL ROCK YOU. After launching the international tour of the South African company of JERSEY BOYS in Singapore in 2012, Bryan continued as tour Music Supervisor traveling to Istanbul, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. In October 2017 he will conduct PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT in Hong Kong.
For nine years, Bryan lectured 3rd and 4th year Composition students in Arranging at WITS University School of Arts Music Division. In 2014 he completed a dissertation on arranging, orchestration and music direction in rock musicals, for which he graduated with a Masters Degree in Music Cum Laude. He is an eight-time Naledi Theatre Award nominee, winning three times for Music Direction of JERSEY BOYS and CHICAGO and for Musical Arrangements of KNIGHTS OF MUSIC. He won the Vita Award for A HANDFUL OF KEYS and was also honoured with the King David Schools Foundations’ David Award for Considerable Contribution to Performing Arts.
In 2016 he launched a unique act entitled The Flying Maestro, a never-been-done before act of conducting an orchestra while simultaneously performing aerial stunts. He also entered the world of inspirational and motivational speakers expanding on his personal mantra ‘live to inspire’.