Winner of the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust Award 2004 (for emerging Australian Conductors) as part of the Helpmann Awards.
Simon Hewett studied clarinet and conducting at the University of Queensland, graduating with First Class Honours and a University Medal. In 1998 he was awarded a German Government Scholarship and commenced studies in operatic and symphonic conducting at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany, graduating with distinction in 2001. In 1995 he was a finalist in the ABC Young Conductor of the Year Award, and conducted the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. While in Germany he participated in Masterclasses with Jorma Panula, Claus-Peter Flor and Andrey Boreyko, and conducted the Jena Philharmonie and the Pecs Symphony Orchestra.
Since 1996 he has worked frequently with the Elision Contemporary Music Ensemble, touring with them to Korea in 1997, and Europe in 1998. He has performed with them at most of Australia’s major festivals, premiering Richard Barrett’s Opening of the Mouth (1997), and Liza Lim’s opera Moon Spirit Feasting (2000). A CD recording of Opening of the Mouth was released by ABC Classics in 1999, and was nominated ‘Pick of the Month’ by the BBC Music Magazine in April 2000. In 2001, he conducted Moon Spirit Feasting, at the Hebbel Theatre (Berlin), the Zurich International Arts Festival, and Saitama Theatre (Tokyo). He has worked with the Queensland Ballet, conducting Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty in 2002, and in 2003 appeared in concert with The Queensland Orchestra. He has also worked frequently with the Queensland Youth Symphony, and with the Sydney Youth Orchestra.
Throughout 2003 Simon was a member of Opera Australia’s Young Artists’ Programme, and assisted Simone Young and Johannes Fritsch on productions of Lulu, Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg, Rigoletto, Otello, Salome, Tosca and Der Fliegende Hollander. He also conducted performances of Bizet’s The Pearlfishers.
Simon is the inaugural recipient of the Hepzibah Tintner Fellowship for 2004, which gives him the opportunity to perform with Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet and the Sydney Symphony. To date he has conducted performances for the Australian Ballet of Mr B: A Tribute, featuring music of Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Bizet, Swan Lake, and La Fille Mal Gardee. He is scheduled to conduct their Red Hot and New programme in December, and Swan Lake again next February. For Opera Australia he will assist on productions of Il Trovatore and Der Rosenkavalier, and is engaged to conduct The Barber of Seville. In March next year he will conduct performances of Tosca. He has also been invited to conduct the Seymour Group in July this year.