Lee Bracegirdle studied conducting at Salzburg's Mozarteum with Michael Gielen and and took part in master classes with Sergiu Celibidache in Mainz. He received further conducting tutelage in Sydney with Sir Charles Mackerras, Carlo Felice Cillario, Vernon Handley, and Eduardo Mata. He made his conducting debut with the Orchestra of the Mozarteum and presently guest conducts in Australia and Latin America. Since 1996 he has been Musical Director of the Australian Chamber Ballet. In 2014 he toured Cuba as guest conductor of the Orquesta Sinf'ónica de Oriente, becoming both the first Australian to conduct in that country and the first contemporary Australian composer to be performed there. This led to follow-up invitations to return annually, and in November 2016 as guest conductor of the orchestras in Santiago and Holguín he introduced Latin American audiences to the music of Peter Sculthorpe for the first time. Bracegirdle began his early musical training in Philadelphia, where he studied keyboard and various wind instruments, choosing the French Horn at age 14. He began tertiary horn studies at the Philadelphia Musical Academy, then at the Juilliard School in New York, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Whilst in New York he was a member of the Juilliard Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Among the mentors at Juilliard who influenced his compositional style were the composers Pierre Boulez, Vincent Persichetti, Jacob Druckman and Robert Starer. During his studies he embarked on a multi-faceted free-lance career which included performances as principal horn with the New York City Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonia, and recordings with many prominent jazz musicians, including Clark Terry, Ornette Coleman, Stanley Clark and Teo Macera. In 1976 he performed as Principal Horn in the New York premiere of Dave Brubeck's The Gates of Justice under the direction of Mr. Brubeck.
From 1976-1977 he was Co-Principal Horn with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (México) and Principal Horn with the Chamber Orchestra of México City. In 1977 he moved to Germany, where he joined the International Youth Festival Orchestra in Bayreuth. In the same year he was appointed Solo-Horn with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in Bavaria, where he subsequently co-founded Germany’s premier brass quintet, Rekkenze Brass. In 1980 he was appointed Associate Principal Horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where he served until his retirement in 2012. He has made numerous recordings for the ABC as a soloist, chamber musician and principal horn. He has edited horn études for the I.M.C. in New York, and published his own original studies and chamber music through 3-C Musikverlag in Germany. He has given master classes at Juilliard (New York), the Curtis Institute (Philadelphia), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Chopin University of Music (Warsaw), the University of Illinois, and the Conservatorio Esteban Salas in Cuba. In 1998 he was awarded 1st Prize in the Zoltan Kodaly International Composers’ Competition for his first orchestral work, Divertimento for Orchestra. This award earned him an honorary diploma from the Chicago-based Kodaly Academy. He was subsequently commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for 3 new compositions: Variations for Orchestra (2002), Ammerseelieder (2005), and Euphonium Concerto (2007). In 2007 the American Wind Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered his Threnos for Horn and symphonic winds, and in 2014 the Sydney Symphony premiered his Legends of the Old Castle for solo-harp, winds and percussion. His Violin Concerto was premiered in Sydney in 2015 with the SSO's ex-concertmaster Michael Dauth as soloist. He was Composer-in-Residence in 2003 and 2013 at Bundanon and in 2012 and 2014 at the “Brahmshaus” in Baden-Baden, Germany. He resides in Sydney, is represented by the Australian Music Centre, and his compositions are published by C.F. Peters.