Sarah-Grace Williams has been hailed by Limelight Magazine to be amongst ‘10 of the Best Women Conductors – trailblazing talents that are leading the way for women conductors all over the world’. She has received acclaim from audiences and critics alike for her vibrant energy, outstanding musicianship and dynamic presence on the podium.
Throughout her highly impressive tenure as founding Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO), Sarah-Grace has been continually celebrated for her interpretation by the press… “In the hands of Williams this work became a tour de force of exceptional poise, eloquence and atmosphere” (Sydney Arts Guide)… “Williams succeeds in creating very pioneering and open soundscapes, creating an attractive new interpretative world” (Arts Hub)…”Outstanding conductor, Williams, is able to draw out the musicality in each player and weld them into a wonderful orchestra with a great sound.” (Paul Nolan, Reviewer)
Boasting an interminable local and international conducting career, Sarah-Grace has conducted the Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Bangalow Festival Chamber Orchestra, Australian Concert Orchestra, Queensland Music Festival, Southern Cross Soloists and Artists of Opera Australia amongst others. From 2007-2013 she also worked as Musical Director of Sydney Opera House Proms productions.
During 2009-2010 Sarah-Grace was Assistant Conductor for Symphony Australia, assisting various international conductors including Simone Young, Johannes Fritzsch, Eivind Aadland, Arvo Volmer and Paul Daniel. At the conclusion of this posting, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, allowing her to continue her studies while working with renowned orchestras and conductors throughout Europe and the UK.
In early 2011, Sarah-Grace worked as Stager Conductor to Alexander Polishchuk at the Ukraine National Opera and Ballet Theatre before returning to Australia to take up a position as Conducting Fellow with the Australian Ballet, where she conducted the premiere of Tristan and Isolde. Following this, Sarah-Grace conducted the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s ballet Little Green Road to Fairyland for the opening of the Queensland Music Festival.
Over the past four years, Sarah-Grace has conducted more than 150 performances with immense diversity including a national tour with acclaimed pianist David Helfgott, numerous concerts with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, gala events with James Morrison, Katie Noonan and Kate Ceberano, the album recording and world premiere performance of a new Australian musical King of the Air by Gavin Lockley with a Piano Concerto (performed by Simon Tedeschi), the world premiere of Daniel Rojas’ Marimba Concerto (with Claire Edwardes), the album recording of Bruce Mathiske’s Suites for Guitar and Orchestra, appearing as Guest Resident Conductor at the Bangalow Music Festival and conducting all major concerts in The Metropolitan Orchestra’s concert season.
Sarah-Grace received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction in 1996, followed by a First Class Honours in Conducting, before continuing conducting studies overseas with Alexander Polishchuk (Russia) and Jorma Panula (Holland). She has been awarded numerous prizes including a Symphony Australia Podium Scholarship, the University of Western Sydney Prize for Academic Excellence and Prize for 1st place in Performance.
In 2013 Sarah-Grace was recognised for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the community, being announced on the International Women’s Day Honour Roll. She has also been listed in the annual Who’s Who of Australian Women since 2011 and was listed by Limelight magazine as ‘one of the 50 top power players in the arts’ as well as ‘one of the top five Australian conductors to watch’.
A Unit Coordinator and Lecturer of Conducting at the Australian Institute of Music, Sarah-Grace has worked as a guest radio presenter for various stations including ABC Classic FM. She also continues to work as a freelance clarinetist, pianist and orchestrator.
With her husband Bevan Rigato (General Manager, TMO), Sarah-Grace welcomed her daughter Scarlett-Grace who was born in January 2013.