Press Release – June 2009

The 2009 Brian Stacey Award

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

DANIEL SMITH is the winner of the 13th Brian Stacey Award. (see biography below)

In spite of his tragic early departure from the world, incredible love and respect for Brian Stacey continues to permeate through the Stacey Trust and it’s supporters, which keeps Stacey’s legacy alive today.

When the much-loved Australian Conductor, Brian Stacey died in a motorcycle accident on 25 October 1996, the night before the premiere of Sunset Boulevard in Melbourne, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber described “Stacey’s” death as “a loss to the world of music theatre, not just Australia”.

In establishing the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust in 1997, Stacey’s family, friends and colleagues chose to honour his professional choices working in classical, ballet, opera and music theatre genres. An award was created that would help to encourage emerging conductors to gain experience, in particular by crossing art-form barriers. In 2002 the Stacey Award became part of the Helpmann Awards presented by Live Performance Australia. The Stacey Trust continues to be eternally grateful for this wonderful national platform, that allows them to present this unique annual award.

Every year the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust seeks from it’s 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. This 27 year old ambitious and clearly focused young Australian is one to watch as he emerges and develops into a fine versatile Australian Conductor. Bravo Daniel Smith!

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?
Andrea Gaze
Administrator for the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust