Throughout her highly impressive tenure as founding Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Orchestra Sarah-Grace Williams 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).
A Churchill Fellow, Sarah-Grace has received constant recognition for her significant achievements including being awarded the 2017 Western Sydney University Alumni Chancellors Leadership Award (the highest honour the awards bestow), announced on the 2013 International Women’s Day Honour Roll for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the community while also being 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’.
Boasting a remarkable 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 the Sydney Opera House Babies Proms.
During 2009-2010 Sarah-Grace was Assistant Conductor for Symphony Australia. Following this, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship and 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.
Over the past six years, Sarah-Grace has conducted more than 300 performances and has collaborated with an impressive list of with internationally artists including James Morrison, Katie Noonan, Kate Ceberano, David Helfgott, John Farnham, Jack Liebeck, Lisa Gasteen, amongst others. A great supporter of new Australia works, she has also commissioned and conducted numerous world premieres and album recordings of Australian composers.
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). She has 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’.
In addition to her continued leadership of TMO, Sarah-Grace currently lectures in conducting at the Australian Institute of Music and is the conductor of the institute’s Chamber Orchestra. She has worked as a guest radio presenter for various stations including ABC Classic FM and 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.