Michael Thrift - Assistant Artistic Director

Michael Thrift is an Australian conductor and former Associate Conductor of the Sydney Youth Orchestra. He moved to London in 2013 and is currently Assistant Conductor of the Oxford University Sinfonietta and the London Firebird Orchestra. A passionate advocate for new music and a former Australian Young Composer of the Year, he is an active part of the London new music scene. In 2013 he was the conductor at the inaugural Composer’s Academy at the Cheltenham Festival and has worked with the Dr. K Sextet in both Cheltenham and London.

In 2014 Michael joined the team at Fulham Opera to assist with a production of Verdi’s Falstaff, and recently lead a production of Puccini’s Il Tabarro. During his time in Sydney, Michael held guest conductor positions with numerous ensembles alongside his position at Sydney Youth Orchestra, including the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuringai Youth Orchestra, Beecroft Orchestra and the East Sydney Chamber Orchestra.

He also founded the Sydney Chamber Ensemble. This wide orchestral experience allowed him to build a broad repertoire, with recent highlights including symphonies of Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, the orchestral works of Bach and Haydn and twentieth century scores of Walton and Stravinsky.

Michael’s conducting studies have taken him to Vienna under Salvador Mas Conde and Jörg Bierhance, to Graz under Achim Holub, where he placed third in the 2012 Competition for Conductors with the Kammerphilharmonie Graz, and most recently to Aberystwyth, where he studied with Toby Purser. Before becoming a conductor, Michael studied composition at the University of Sydney with Anne Boyd, Ian Shanahan and Matthew Hindson, and has had his work performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Eclectic Composers Society.

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