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Benjamin Northey

Benjamin Northey


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aboutIntroduction

“... Northey conducted with both intimacy and skill ... a perceptive and devoted performance.”
London Philharmonic Orchestra - Classical Source, London 2010

“... almost flawless. This was a memorable performance.”
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Mahler 4 - The Age, June 2012 - 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Conductor Benjamin Northey’s intelligent, commanding and encouraging leadership was invaluable.”
The Australian

“Northey lifts the music from the conventional and into the extraordinary. Exciting! A star of the future.”
Gelfe Dagbladet, Sweden

 “Northey is a born conductor, one who revels in his work ... he appears to be in a state of perpetual delight.”
The Age, Melbourne

“... that concert was NOT the most painful hour of my life”
Sports-mad schoolboy, Melbourne

 

Since returning to Australia following studies at Finland’s prestigious Sibelius Academy in 2006 Benjamin Northey has rapidly emerged as a leading figure in Australian music. He is a regular guest conductor with all major Australian symphony orchestras and Opera Australia. His international appearances include concerts with the London Philharmonic, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, and the New Zealand, Auckland and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras.

After studies with John Hopkins and Jorma Panula, Northey was awarded first prize in the 2001 Symphony Australia Young Conductor of the Year Competition. From 2002-2006 he was Resident Guest Conductor of the Australia Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and from 2007-10 Principal Guest Conductor of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. He is currently Associate Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2011.

In 2014 Northey makes debut performances with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victorian Opera. He will also appear with the Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, West Australian, New Zealand, Christchurch & Canberra Symphony Orchestras, the Auckland Philharmonic and also Opera Australia (Carmen).

Northey is highly active in the performance of Australian orchestral music. He is a director of the Australian Music Centre, Co-Artistic Director of the Hush Foundation and Head of Conducting Studies at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

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Biography

Biography Benjamin Northey

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.

Within Australia, Northey made his professional debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2003. He is currently Associate Conductor of the orchestra, a position he has held since 2011. 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 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.

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.

Recent opera productions include L'elisir d'Amore, The Tales of Hoffmann and La Sonnambula for State Opera of South Australia and Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte for Opera Australia.  Recordings include award-winning CD releases for ABC Classics with the Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmanian, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.

In 2014 Northey makes debut performances with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victorian Opera. He will also appear with the Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, West Australian, New Zealand, Christchurch & Canberra Symphony Orchestras, the Auckland Philharmonic and also Opera Australia (Carmen).

Northey is highly active in the performance of Australian orchestral music. He is a director of the Australian Music Centre, Co-Artistic Director of the Hush Foundation and Head of Conducting Studies at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Repertoire

Repertoire

Benjamin Northey's wide repertory extends from Baroque opera and orchestral works to contemporary music. His personal choice comprises the following well-received works.
 

  • Beethoven:  Symphonies Nos. 2, 6, 7 & 8
  • Mendelssohn:  A Midsummer Night's Dream (complete)
  • Tchaikovsky:  Symphony No. 4
  • Dvořák:  Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9
  • Mahler:  Symphony No. 4
  • Debussy:  La mer, L’après-midi d’un faune
  • Strauss:  Till Eulenspiegel, Don Juan
  • Sibelius:  Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5
  • Rachmaninov:  Symphonic Dances
  • Stravinsky:  Firebird Suite (1919 version), Symphony in C
  • Prokofiev:  Symphony No. 5, Romeo & Julia Suites Nos. 1, 2 & 3
  • Gershwin:  An American in Paris
  • Copland:   Appalachian Spring
  • Bernstein:  Symphonic Dances from West Side Story


A composer who is very favourite with Benjamin Northey is Arvo Pärt. In his programs he also often includes works by Australian composers Brett Dean, Ross Edward, Nigel Westlake and others.

Benjamin Northey is known for his qualities as an accompanyist and has collaborated with violinist Julian Rachlin, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, cellist Johannes Moser, piano duo Silver-Garburg, guitarist Slava Grigoryan, saxophonist Amy Dickson and trumpet player James Morison among others.
 
Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story music with the film is a special project with only three conductors sanctioned by the Bernstein Foundation to conduct it, Benjamin Northey being one of them. When West Side Story returns to Australia in 2014 he will conduct three performances at the Sydney Opera House.