The Winner of the 1999 Brian Stacey memorial Prize was Kynan Johns, a young and extremely talented conductor who gained further experience and training through the prize. A name to look out for in the future in the Australian Music and Theatre Industry.
Kynan Johns completed a Bachelor of Music (majoring in composition) at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide; and an Honours year in conducting under Nicholas Braithwaite, having previously studied with Professor Heribert Esser.
From 1992-95, Kynan was Musical Director of the Flinders University Choral Society. Under his direction the choir performed much contemporary Australian repertoire, including works by Kynan, and was broadcast by ABC Classic FM. As a composer, Kynan has written much music for choir, theatre and dance, including a song cycle to words by Australian poet Max Harris; he describes his music as ‘an expressive minimalism’. In 1995, Kynan was appointed Musical Director of the internationally renowned Corinthian Singers of Adelaide; the year’s programming culminated in a performance of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms.
In 1996 Kynan continued his studies at the Sydney Conservatorium, undertaking a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting under David Porcelijn. That same year Kynan completed the Westfield Young Conductor of the Year competition, winning the inaugural Nelly Apt Scholarship to further his musical studies in Israel with Noam Sheriff.
During May 1997, Kynan made his professional orchestral debut, conducting the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Also in 1997, he was twice called to step in at short notice, first conducting the TSO and TSO Chorus with soprano Rosamund Illing, and later in June conducting the same orchestra at only 20 minutes’ notice (replacing and indisposed conductor).
Since July 1998, Kynan has conducted the Queensland, Melbourne, Tasmanian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras. Highlights in 1999 included conducting William Walton’s Façade as part of the Sydney Festival, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and John Bell and Lady Walton narrating; conducting Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for OzOpera’s national tour; and concerts with the TSO and TSO Chorus.
Read more about Kynan here