Biography

Throughout her highly impressive tenure as founding Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Orchestra Sarah-Grace Williams has been continually celebrated for her interpretation by the press: “In the hands of Williams this work became a tour de force of exceptional poise, eloquence and atmosphere” (Sydney Arts Guide)… “Williams succeeds in creating very pioneering and open soundscapes, creating an attractive new interpretative world”  (Arts Hub)…"Outstanding conductor, Williams, is able to draw out the musicality in each player and weld them into a wonderful orchestra with a great sound” (Paul Nolan).

A Churchill Fellow, Sarah-Grace has received constant recognition for her significant achievements including being awarded the 2017 Western Sydney University Alumni Chancellors Leadership Award (the highest honour the awards bestow), announced on the 2013 International Women’s Day Honour Roll for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the community while also being hailed by Limelight Magazine to be amongst ‘10 of the Best Women Conductors – trailblazing talents that are leading the way for women conductors all over the world’. 

Boasting a remarkable local and international conducting career, Sarah-Grace has conducted the Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Bangalow Festival Chamber Orchestra, Australian Concert Orchestra, Queensland Music Festival, Southern Cross Soloists and Artists of Opera Australia amongst others.  From 2007-2013 she also worked as Musical Director of the Sydney Opera House Babies Proms.

During 2009-2010 Sarah-Grace was Assistant Conductor for Symphony Australia, assisting various international conductors including Simone Young, Johannes Fritzsch, Eivind Aadland, Arvo Volmer and Paul Daniel.  At the conclusion of this posting, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, allowing her to continue her studies while working with renowned orchestras and conductors throughout Europe and the UK.  In 2011, Sarah-Grace worked as Stager Conductor to Alexander Polishchuk at the Ukraine National Opera and Ballet Theatre before returning to Australia to take up a position as Conducting Fellow with the Australian Ballet, where she conducted the premiere of Tristan and Isolde.  Following this, Sarah-Grace conducted the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s ballet Little Green Road to Fairyland for the opening of the Queensland Music Festival.

Over the past six years, Sarah-Grace has conducted more than 300 performances and has collaborated with an impressive list of with internationally renowned artists including James Morrison, Katie Noonan, Kate Ceberano, David Helfgott, John Farnham, Jack Liebeck, Lisa Gasteen, amongst others.  A great supporter of new Australia works, she has conducted and commissioned numerous world premieres and album recordings of Australian composers including Elena Kats-Chernin, Jim Coyle, Gavin Lockley, Daniel Rojas, Bruce Mathiske, Heather Shannon, Adrian Hallam, Abiko Yusaku and Nigel U'Brihien.

Sarah-Grace received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction in 1996, followed by a First Class Honours in Conducting, before continuing conducting studies overseas with Alexander Polishchuk (Russia).  She has been listed in the annual Who’s Who of Australian Women since 2011 and was listed by Limelight magazine as ‘one of the 50 top power players in the arts’ as well as ‘one of the top five Australian conductors to watch’.    She has also been award a ‘Symphony Australia Podium Scholarship’ and the University of Western Sydney Prize for Academic Excellence and Prize for 1st place in Performance. 

In addition to her continued leadership of TMO, Sarah-Grace currently lectures in conducting at the Australian Institute of Music and is the conductor of the institute’s Chamber Orchestra. She has worked as a guest radio presenter for various stations including ABC Classic FM and continues to work as a freelance clarinetist, pianist and orchestrator.  With her husband Bevan Rigato (General Manager, TMO), Sarah-Grace welcomed her daughter Scarlett-Grace who was born in January 2013.

 **Updated Jan 2017. Please do not alter bio for print.  If you require a different length, please email podium@sarahgracewilliams.com and one will be sent to you promptly. **

Email: sgw@metorchestra.com.au

Website: www.sarahgracewilliams.com