Newsletter 2009


Hi there Stacey Supporters!

Another year has sped by since I wrote to you and we are all acutely aware these are times of extreme weather conditions and huge change in the world around us. These affect all of us in some way in our daily lives, some with devastating loss and hardship and some in more subtle ways. It is the little things and the constants that help keep us on track, our close family and friends, small gestures of acknowledgement and appreciation, the ‘simple things in life’ . . . a beautiful clear sky on a sunny day. . . and then there is music.

When I explain to people what kind of charity the Stacey Trust is – I am often aware that there is the assumption that supporting the development of music making in Australia is an area that slips low in the pile of priorities to give support and money to. Having lost all members of my immediate family to cancer and tragic circumstances, I do understand that supporting research, early detection and cures to life-threatening diseases and conditions is of major priority in our society. That said, I believe that the power and comfort of our mind is a major contributing factor to those that suffer with these diseases as well as the caregivers who look after and support them. The thought provoking and soothing, often meditative powers of music are unequalled and yet in so many ways it is taken for granted and assumed it will look after and develop by itself. This is not the case, especially in a young country like Australia, we need to keep nurturing and getting behind our emerging musical talent so that it can continue to flourish and mature and make great quality music in various genres available to as many areas of our community as possible. I am reminded and excited by the enthusiasm and skill shown in our 2009 Stacey Award winner who intends on doing just that! Congratulations and Bravo to DANIEL SMITH

The 2009 Brian Stacey Award

(for emerging Australian Conductors) as part of Live Theatre Australia’s Helpmann Awards

This is the 12th year of the Brian Stacey Award and DANIEL SMITH is our 13th winner. As always it was quite a process to draw out and process the entrants for this year’s award, we had several entrants worthy of a nomination but were especially excited to discover and unanimously choose the 2009 Stacey Award winner, 27 year old Daniel Smith.

Daniel was presented with his $6,000 prize in Sydney on Monday 29 June by Vanessa Scammell (joint winner of the 2008 Stacey Award and Helpmann Awards Ceremony Musical Director) at the Helpmann Awards Nomination Media Launch at the Lyric Theatre in Star City.

The announcement was made simultaneously in both Melbourne and Sydney and was then announced the following day on 3mbs radio as well as in the Herald Sun newspaper. Daniel flew out of Australia 2 days later to take up opportunities in Siena, Italy and was therefore not available to appear in the Helpmann Awards Ceremony as a presenter on the 27 July at the Sydney Opera House. We were delighted however that Margaret Throsby interviewed Daniel live from Siena on the day of the Ceremony on ABC national radio.

We continue to be ever thankful and appreciative of the support that Live Performance Australia gives the Stacey Award in allowing it to be part of the annual Helpmann Awards. This is an essential platform for our award and we could not have the exposure or prestige needed without it. Special thanks to Evelyn Richardson and Claire Harris from Live Performance Australia and Jon Nichols, Executive Producer who have been the mainstays recognising and keeping the Stacey Award in place.

We were most fortunate to again have the legendary Musical Advisory Panel of Guy Noble*, Brett Kelly and Tony Gould. The Trustees value the input these generous Australian musical leaders in their fields have in recommending the Stacey Award winner.

Tony Gould won the Don Banks Award for 2009 and we has been nominated three times for the upcoming Apra awards.

Brett Kelly is continuing what has been a wonderful 12 months in which he has conducted numerous projects with the MSO, TSO, ASO, WASO, TQO, The Auckland Phiharmonia, The Southern Sinfonia (Dunedin) and for Chambermade Opera. In May of this year he conducted the TSO & ASO, in June a week long creative development workshop for The Victorian Opera and then returned Dunedin to conduct Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony with The Southern Sinfonia. He is currently conducting a three concert project with WASO and Ben Lee and in September moves into the studio to conduct the score for Peter Weir’s new movie at Trackdown in Sydney. This score by Burkhard Dallwitz and orchestrated by Shaun Rigney will be Brett’s fourth film in twelve months, the others being Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (David Hirschfelder), Knowing (Marco Beltrami) & The Blue Mansion (David Hirschfelder).

*See past recipients for Guy Noble update info

Words From Our Chair


Every year the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust seeks from its applications an emerging conductor who shows “Stacey-Like” qualities.

In the early 80s, Stacey, who had already established a reputation as a conductor in Queensland, put down his baton for two years in order to assist Sir Charles Mackerras in the maestro’s exacting schedule. The ensuing association and friendship turned out to be a long and happy one and Sir Charles continues to be a great supporter of the Trust today.

This year’s recipient has done exactly the same thing, working with Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti both here in Australia and overseas.

He also cites several things which reflect Stacey’s professional philosophy: that music provides a meeting point at which “people of all ages and cultures gather to enjoy life together” and he expresses a desire to play a role in ensuring that music can “forever be part of people’s everyday life in Australia.”

The winner of the 2009 Brian Stacey Award of $6000 hopes to continue honing his craft in Europe and America. We wish him well. Congratulations Daniel Smith.

Winner’s acceptance speech:
Daniel Smith @ Media Launch on Monday 29 June 2009, Foyer of Lyric Theatre, Star City.

“One of my first memories is as a 5 year old sitting with my family on a rug, having a picnic dinner in the Sydney Domain. I was fascinated by the flying foxes that flew overhead. Then the orchestra started playing and I sat still as the music wove its magic.  For the last 22 summers, I have experienced Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the firing of the canons.
This enchanting beginning paved its way to concerts, eisteddfods, soirees, jazz clubs and a lead in my school musical. When I was 15, in 1996, Brian Stacey lost his life. In a sense of sad irony, this is when I took up the baton for the first time in my life as I conducted the last movement of Mozart’s Symphony 39 in a rehearsal with the Sydney Symphony for a television show about teenagers following their dreams.

It was a Baptism of Fire as the trumpet section decided to play a different movement.
Brian Stacey didn’t want to be pigeon-holed. He conducted ballet and opera, jazz, classical and musicals. He was passionate and diverse and dedicated and I am honored to be part of his legacy. May I thank the Helpmann Awards and the Brian Stacey Trust for allowing me to take up his baton.”

See Daniel Smith’s Biography at the end of the newsletter.

News Flash!!

About some of our past winners:

Of course the only way we can continue to encourage and support emerging Australian conductors  through our annual Stacey Award in the future, is by your ongoing generosity and support.  The Stacey Trust is proud to now have 13 wonderful recipients over the past 12 years and it is with joy that I share with you some of their recent successes and future events:

Guy Noble – first recipient 1998 and current Musical Advisory Panel. The next few weeks see Guy Noble conduct the Sydney Symphony in a Star Trek spectacular, conducting the NRL’s Dally M Awards on Foxtel and then conducting the internationally renowned jazz singer Dianne Reeves also with the Sydney Symphony!

Kellie Dickerson (2002) our first female recipient, is the Musical Director of ‘Wicked’ that just finished a record breaking season at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne and is soon to open in Sydney.  Kellie has recently helped launch the Rob Guest Endowment – read more about this later in the newsletter.

Benjamin Northey (2003) Benjamin Northey has recently returned from an 8 week stint on the road which began in Adelaide conducting State Opera South Australia’s production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. He then travelled to Taiwan to conduct a music camp for the Taipei Symphony Orchestra before appearing with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in a series of education concerts. He is still a regular guest conductor of the Australian state orchestras and has upcoming major series concerts with the Queensland Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Ben has a new CD out with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra – “Just Classics”  and ABC Classics CD with Slava & Leonard Grigoryan, which won Limelight’s best classical CD in 2008. In 2010 Ben will return to the London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as conducting London’s Southbank Sinfonia.

Ollivier Cuneo (2006) is currently conducting Bizet’s The Pearlfishers for WA Opera and will conduct Cosi fan tutte at Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne later this year.  In the past year he has also conducted Don Giovanni, La Boheme and The Magic Flute at Opera Australia and Interplay, Manon and The Nutcracker for the Australian Ballet.

Vanessa Scammell (2008)
Was again Musical Director for the 2009 Helpmann Awards Ceremony which was held for the first time at the Sydney Opera House and is Musical Director for ‘Chicago’ – opening in Melbourne this month.  Vanessa is also still completing her Masters in Conducting.

Paul Fitzsimon (2008)
Is currently living and studying in Berlin at the Universitaet der Kunste and has concerts coming up later in the year with the Berliner Symphoniker and the Wernigerode Philharmonishes Kammerorchestra.

Paying Tribute to Rob Guest

I would like to put a special mention in this letter for Rob Guest who passed away very suddenly in October 2008 during the Melbourne ‘Wicked’ season.  Having worked as Stage Manager on Phantom of the Opera Melbourne season when Rob played the Phantom and Stacey was the MD it struck a very personal chord with me and many in the Stacey Trust.  I was fortunate to have taken my 2 sons to see Wicked only weeks before his passing, going backstage with the boys to say hello and meet Rob along with a backstage tour that Kellie kindly took us on. I also had both Rob and Kellie for dinner only about three weeks prior.  Being theatre folk, whose busiest time is over the weekend, I had to organise a Monday night dinner on their day off, not the norm in a family household with teenage school children. It took several weeks to find a date that worked in but I am so very glad I persisted  . . . it was a delightful evening full of joy and enthusiasm for both Rob’s role performing the Wizard (for which he has just won a Helpmann Award for best supporting male performer in a musical) and Kellie’s as the MD and how each of them had been selected individually by the scrupulously meticulous original Wicked creative team in the US. Kathryn Sadler and her partner joined us and the whole evening leaves a very treasured memory of the last time we saw Rob.  A true performer, much loved company member and leading man of many hit musical productions.  Rob always had a joke and a smile to share no matter who you were in the company. My own memories of Rob are of a man in love with being in the theatre and the joy of life!

A special endowment has been launched in Rob’s name, this was officially announced and launched at the Helpmann Awards Ceremony on 27 July, 2009:

The ANZ Trustees Foundation: ANZ Rob Guest Endowment will be awarded each year to an emerging musical theatre performer selected by a panel of industry experts. The Award will provide the emerging performer with further knowledge and raining in the industry to develop their potential. (more info at No doubt Rob (Like Stacey) would be wrapt to know his name will continue to nurture Australian musical theatre talent.

I am sure you enjoy music regularly in your life, as an escape, special treat or just to create a relaxing or exciting ambiance . . . Australia needs to keep developing it’s musical identity and once artists have gained knowledge and experience overseas we want them to be eager to return home to Australian soil to share and grow that knowledge.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter.

In Stace’s words ‘go well’.
Andrea Gaze
Administrator for the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust


Daniel Smith

13th Winner of The Brian Stacey Award


Maestri Gianluigi Gelmetti, Jorma Panula, Peter Gülke, Imre Pallo and flautists Sir James Galway, Julia Fekete-Berky, William Bennett and Janet Webb have all been pedagogues of Daniel Smith.

In the 2009 Malko International Conducting Competition, Daniel was a semi-finalist and also the most voted-for candidate on the internet. He was the Assistant Conductor to Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti (with the Sydney Symphony, Opéra Monte Carlo, Rome Opera and Orchestra della Toscana). Daniel has also conducted the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Denmark), the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg (Austria) and the Festival Orchestra of Sofia (Bulgaria). He was recently awarded a Master of Music degree in Conducting after returning from the Universität Mozarteum, Salzburg, Academy of Performing Arts in Slovakia and Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Italy where on all occasions, he was awarded their prestigious diplomas.

One of Australia’s only Fellows of the Trinity College London, Daniel has been a finalist in the Sony Australian Music Awards (MusicOz) and prize-winner in the Master Performers Australia competition, held the position of principal flute with the SBS Radio & Television Orchestra and was accepted into Cirque du Soleil’s Talent Bank. He has recorded with ABC Classic FM & 2MBS-FM and has been assistant conductor for Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Puccini’s Tosca, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Verdi’s La traviata, Puccini’s Fanciulla del West, Berg’s Wozzeck, Puccini’s La Rondine, Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

Daniel’s performing career began at 11 when he won the Beethoven or Busk Classical Music Festival and over the years has won more than 100 prizes in competitions. Among them have been the esteemed Sydney Symphony Stuart Challender Fund Scholarship, Australia Council for the Arts Music Scholarship, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Award, Sir David Martin Memorial Award, Sydney Directory of Music Teachers Senior Scholarship, Berky Music Academy Chamber Music Scholarship, Olive Silvester Scholarship, The Fred Blanks Award, The Alan Bellhouse Memorial Scholarship for Conducting and was also awarded both the Associate and Licentiate Diplomas in Music. For the past four years he was honoured with a scholarship to the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, one of the world’s finest music academies which also crafted the careers of Carlo Maria Giulini, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim and Charles Dutoit, among others.

He has many dreams and one day hopes to complete writing his first symphony and follow a world career in flute and conducting. What are dreams, if you can’t aim for them?