Patricia Riordan Associate Conductor Chair
Leading Australian conductor Benjamin Northey is one of Australia’s brightest and most versatile musical stars. Northey studied conducting with John Hopkins at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1999 with first class honours in performance, followed by a Master of Music degree in conducting. In 2001, under the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, he studied intensively with Finnish maestro Jorma Panula.
In 2002, Northey was the highest placed applicant to the prestigious Sibelius Academy Orchestral Conducting Course in Helsinki, Finland where he studied for 3 years with Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila. In 2003, Northey was awarded the 2003 Brian Stacey Memorial Trust Award under patron Sir Charles Mackerras. His 2005 diploma concert with the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra included the European Premiere of Brett Dean’s Ampitheatre and was awarded the international jury’s highest possible mark. He completed his tertiary studies in 2006 as a guest student in Jorma Panula’s class at the Stockholm Royal College of Music in Sweden.
In 2007, Northey was selected as one of three participants worldwide to the prestigious International Conductor’s Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, involving a year-long mentorship with both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi and Vladimir Jurowsky. This culminated in a performance of Stravinsky’s Symphony in C in June 2008 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, to strong critical acclaim.
Within Australia, Northey made his professional debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2003. Since returning permanently in 2006, Northey has been a regular guest conductor with all the Australian state symphony orchestras and led opera and ballet productions including L’elisir d’Amore, The Tales of Hoffmann and La Sonnambula for State Opera of South Australia.
In 2010, Northey conducted a major programme with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Festival Hall and made his debut with London’s Southbank Sinfonia. Concert appearances in 2010 and 2011 included conducting the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, the New Zealand and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Currently Associate Conductor at the Melbourne Symphony, Northey’s future engagements include Don Giovanni and Così fan Tutte for Opera Australia and concert appearances with all of Australia and New Zealand’s major symphony orchestras.