Just in: Leading composer tests positive for Coronavirus

Just in: Leading composer tests positive for Coronavirus


norman lebrecht

March 05, 2020

The composer Brett Dean, a former violist in the Berlin Philharmonic, has tested positive for the virus on returning to Australia from a visit to Taiwan.

Dean, 58, is composer of the operas Bliss, and Hamlet.

His agency has issued this statement:

Intermusica can confirm that Brett Dean has been diagnosed with COVID-19, as of 5 March.

Brett is currently receiving treatment in hospital in Adelaide.

Intermusica, along with Brett’s publishers Boosey & Hawkes, have taken the necessary steps to inform all those who have worked with Brett in the last 14 days, further to NHS advice and SA Health Australia.

Our thoughts are with Brett at this difficult time and we wish him well in his recovery.


  • Anonymous says:

    Upon entering Taiwan, he filled out an entry form stated a coughing symptom. Taiwanese customs still cleared him because there was no fever. However during his 9-day stay, his condition got worsen. Now many many lives’ are affected and going through self-quarantine. He was coughing during the rehearsals with Taiwan Philharmonic and did not wear a face mask. He also went to a small clinic and got medicine. I wish him well and all the musicians and music lovers of Taiwan.

    • Victor says:

      This is bad.
      The orchestra members did want to ask Mr. Dean to wear a face mask, however the conductor apparently didn’t want to be rude. Obviously a huge mistake.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Lots of Chinese people have returned to Australia via the back door to avoid quarantine. I’m unsure how that back door works, but I think there has been a request to ‘self quarantine’.

        There was a picture in the media 3 days back of a group of them standing on Bondi Beach. We have family in Western Australia and when the issue of self-quarantine was discussed – in the very multicultural city of Perth – my family and I both laughed.

      • Marc says:

        No they did ask him to wear a mask and he claimed it was allergies and got angry with the orchestra. Now they are all under quarantine because of his refusal.

    • Ninedragonspot says:

      We should also note that Dean entered Taiwan on a flight from London.


    • Peter San Diego says:

      Where had he been in the couple of months prior to Taiwan? Was it somewhere the virus was already known to be circulating, or did he come from a region without prior reported cases?

  • Kalvin says:

    The statement from his agency could be potentially misleading. If he showed symptom of coughing upon arrival to Taiwan, he could already been infectious in mid-February when he was in London.

  • Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, Mr. Dean!

  • E says:

    all my best wishes for a quick recovery to brett. he is an amazing guy….

  • Stewart says:

    Let’s hope no one at the Australian Bushfire Fundraiser has caught it from his performing/attending family members.

    • CardiffMan123 says:

      It has been confirmed by the agency and the event organizers that all three of his immediate family members present at the event have experienced no symptoms and were cleared as safe by the UK National Health Service.

  • Meiling says:

    We enjoyed Mr. Dean’s both performance with Taiwan philharmonic in NTCH Taipei Taiwan .
    We wish Mr. Dean a speed recovery, and get well soon. Loves from Taipei ❤❤❤

  • Annie Strong says:

    How awful…. hope he recovers quickly.

  • RW2013 says:

    gute Besserung aus Berls!
    yer’ll be roight mate!

  • Kath says:

    From Taiwanese Centre for Disease control investigations It looks likely that Brett Dean caught the virus while transiting through Bangkok.


    I hope that he has a swift recovery and that none of the orchestra have been infected. In these strange times please don’t ignore symptoms of illness as you may be putting your colleagues and others at risk.

    • Kalvin says:

      Well said Kath. Now more than 100 people are identified and under quarantine.

      27 musicians
      17 hotel staff
      15 taxi drivers
      3 Dean’s friends
      18 flight attendants
      23 audience who sat near Dean