Recently listed by ABC’s Limelight magazine as one of the Top 5 Australian Conductors to watch, Sarah-Grace Williams is one of the foremost conductors of her generation, receiving acclaim from audiences and critics alike for her vibrant energy, outstanding musicianship and dynamic presence on the podium.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Orchestra since its inauguration is 2009, Sarah-Grace has also worked as Musical Director of Sydney Opera House Proms productions since 2007 and is in high demand as a Guest Conductor, appearing in concerts with 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 the Opera Australia amongst others. She has collaborated with an impressive array of artists including Korean soprano Sumi Jo, pianist David Helfgott, jazz legend James Morrison and singing sensation Katie Noonan and has also worked as Musical Director and Arranger for many musical theatre, ballet and opera galas.
During 2009-2010 Sarah-Grace was Assistant Conductor for Symphony Australia, based with the Queensland, West Australian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, assisting various conductors including Simone Young, Johannes Fritzsch, Eivind Aadland, Arvo Volmer and Paul Daniel. At the conclusion of this posting, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, allowing her to study and assist renowned orchestras and conductors throughout Europe and the UK.
In early 2011, Sarah-Grace worked as Stager Conductor (Assistant) 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 a new ballet in their ‘Bodytorque’ season. 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.
Highlights in 2012 included conducting the national tour with pianist David Helfgott in Sydney (with The Metropolitan Orchestra) and in Melbourne (with Australian Concert Orchestra), conducting 12 concerts in The Metropolitan Orchestra’s main orchestral series, appearing as Guest Resident Conductor at the Bangalow Music Festival, concerts with Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Katie Noonan, James Morrison and arranging/conducting four new productions for the Sydney Opera House Proms.
Having conducted more than 130 performances over the past 2 years, Sarah-Grace remains in great demand in 2013. Highlights include several concerts with Queensland Symphony Orchestra, including all concerts in their Inaugural Concerti series, collaborating with composer Daniel Rojas and percussionist Claire Edwardes on the world premiere of a new work, a gala event with Katie Noonan and all major concerts in The Metropolitan Orchestra’s Fifth Anniversary Season.
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) and Jorma Panula (Holland). A principal graduate from Symphony Australia's Conductor Program she has conducted under the tutelage of Johannes Fritzsch, Janos Furst, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Christopher Seaman, David Porcelijn, Lutz Koehler and Marco Zuccarini.
Sarah-Grace has been awarded numerous prizes including a Symphony Australia Podium Scholarship, the University of Western Sydney Prize for Academic Excellence and Prize for 1st place in Performance. She was listed in the 2010 and 2011 Who's Who of Australian Women and in Limelight magazines list of 50 top power players in the arts 2010. Sarah-Grace lectured for many years at the Australian International Conservatorium of Music and Australian Institute of Music and has worked as a guest radio presented for various stations including ABC Classic FM. She also continues to work as a freelance clarinetist and pianist.
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