Throughout her 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 Music 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 2009-10 Sarah-Grace was Assistant Conductor for Symphony Australia. At the conclusion of this posting, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, allowing her to study and work 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.
Over the past six years, Sarah-Grace has conducted more than 300 performances, collaborating with an impressive list of internationally renowned artists including José Carreras, Elaine Paige, Jack Liebeck, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Lisa Gasteen, Anthony Warlow, James Morrison, Katie Noonan, Kate Ceberano, David Helfgott, John Farnham, amongst others. A great supporter of new Australian works, she has also conducted and commissioned numerous world premieres and album recordings.
In addition to her continued leadership of TMO in 2019, Sarah-Grace will conduct the Australian and New Zealand tours of Basement Jaxx and Air Supply with orchestra as well as heading up the Aspire International Youth Music Festival as the Artistic Co-Director. She will also continue to lecture in conducting at the Australian Institute of Music.
Listed in the annual Who’s Who of Australian Women since 2011, Sarah-Grace received her Bachelor of Music with a First Class Honours (Conducting) in 1998, before continuing conducting studies overseas with Alexander Polishchuk (Russia). Sarah-Grace 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 (Managing Director, TMO), Sarah-Grace welcomed her daughter Scarlett Grace who was born in January 2013.