Winner of the Brian Stacey Memorial Award 2003 (for emerging Australian Conductors) as part of the Helpmann Awards.
Benjamin Northey was born in Australia and completed conducting studies at the University of Melbourne Faculty Of Music in 2001 under British conductor John Hopkins. He has also studied in Australia and Finland with Finnish master conductor Jorma Panula and in 2002 was accepted from an international field as the highest ranked applicant to the prestigious Sibelius Academy Orchestral Conducting course where he is currently studying with Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila.
In 2001 he won the Symphony Australia Young Conductor of the Year Competition and Nelly Apt Scholarship under the directorship of Jorma Panula. This marked the first time both major Australian conducting prizes were awarded to the same conductor in the same year. He has conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in concert, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and The Queensland Orchestra in Symphony Australia masterclasses and has worked with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Conductor for the South Australian State Opera 2002 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In 2002 he also conducted Austria’s Graz Symphony Orchestra as assistant to Achim Holub.
After his critically acclaimed Australian debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2003, Northey was subsequently appointed Resident Guest Conductor of the Australia Pro Arte Orchestra with who he first appeared in 2002.
He has recorded works for ABC Classic FM including the premiere of Timeless for chamber strings by eminent Australian composer Brenton Broadstock and the opera Milushka by Katy Abbott. As part of the 2000 Melbourne International Festival of the Arts he was Musical Director for the St. Martin’s Theatre production of the contemporary opera orb.IT featuring music by Estelle Pizer. His keen interest is contemporary Australian orchestral music in demonstrated by his performances of the music of Stuart Greenbaum, Tim McKenry and Mark Elliott whose concerto for Chinese Sheng and Orchestra he premiered with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2002.
In May 2003, Benjamin Northey was able to rearrange his schedule to return early from Finland (where he was studying conducting) to appear at the Helpmann Awards Ceremony in Sydney to receive the 2003 Brian Stacey Memorial Award.
Following is a transcript of Ben’s acceptance speech:
“Thankyou Robyn and thankyou to the trustees of the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust for this special award.
This means a lot to me because I have a real affinity with the spirit of musical diversity that this award encourages and represents.
Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet Brian Stacey, but from talking with people who knew and worked with him I can see the level of affection and professional respect people have for him.
His talent, his commitment to the highest musical standards, his easy-going way, his warmth and charisma, his integrity and his respect for people are all things I aspire to not only as a fellow Australian conductor but also as a human being.
Brian would be happy to know that today there is an increased level of local and international recognition of emerging Australian conductors and this is in large part due to the high level of educational and financial support from organisations such as Symphony Australia, the network orchestras and the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust.
I thank the trust for their generous support of my continued development and I am very proud to play a part in keeping alive the memory and the inspiration of Brian Stacey for Australians and his friends and family who initiated this award.
Read more about Benjamin here