Gavin Sutherland was born in County Durham and studied conducting, piano and orchestration at Huddersfield University, receiving the Kruczynski Prize for Piano and the Davidson Prize for Distinction brought to the institution. He began his professional career as a pianist and conductor for Northern Ballet Theatre in 1992, leaving in 1998 to become a freelance conductor, composer, arranger and pianist.
He regularly works with companies and orchestras including New Adventures, English National Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, South African Ballet Theatre, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. He also works closely with the Australian Pops Philharmonic Orchestra as principal guest conductor and arranger.
As a composer, successes include the one-act ballet Revolting Rhymes and the West End musical Little Women. His recording career includes over fifty CDs, mainly with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and he has appeared with the orchestra extensively both on the concert platform and for Birmingham Royal Ballet. He was appointed music director of English National Ballet in June 2008, and chairman of the Light Music Society in 2009.