West replaces Andrew Mogrelia, the company's music director from 2003 until earlier this year. Mogrelia left in April to become music director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra.
West was born in England and studied at the Royal Academy of Music at at the Conservatory of Music in St. Petersburg. He is music director of the Cambridge Philharmonic Society and has guest-conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Halle Orchestra, and other groups. He began conducting at English National Ballet in 1997 and has been principal conductor since 2004. He first led the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in 2002 and has returned regularly since.
"The role of music director and principal conductor is vital to the success of the company's performances, and we are pleased to have Martin join the bBallet in this capacity," said San Francisco Ballet artistic dDirector Helgi Tomasson. "We are confident that his in-depth knowledge of the company and orchestra, coupled with his extensive conducting experience, will complement the world-class artistry of San Francisco Ballet."