Stephen Williams has established himself as one of Australia’s most versatile conductors, distinguishing himself with an impressive record of achievement in a variety of musical settings. In addition to conducting many of the symphony orchestras for Symphony Services International he has conducted, recorded and toured with many of Australia’s finest symphonic bands and jazz ensembles. He has directed and performed with Australian groups at the North Sea, Montreux, Edinburgh and Monterey Jazz Festivals, has conducted concerts in Carnegie Hall and taken Australian orchestras, symphonic bands and jazz ensembles to conferences and festivals in the U.S.A, Japan, Europe, the U.K, Singapore and China. On three separate occasions Stephen has been invited to conduct symphony orchestras at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the world’s largest music educator’s conference. He is the recipient of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association’s highest honour, the Citation of Excellence, an award he received in 2014.
Over the last fifteen years he has been a conductor in concerts and on many tours with Orchestra Victoria (one of two professional orchestras in Melbourne). He has been the chief conductor for their innovative education program ‘On the mOVe’, a program which allows students in country regions to be tutored and mentored by Orchestra Victoria players in two-day workshops and concerts. For several years he was also engaged by Symphony Services International to present and conduct concerts for schools with the Sydney Sinfonia. Between 2011 and 2013 Stephen was the music director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Wind Symphony. Stephen also works as a freelance conductor and instrumental consultant and is frequently called upon to conduct, lecture, and adjudicate both in Australia and overseas.
In 1989 Stephen was awarded a conducting scholarship by Symphony Australia and for three years studied orchestral conducting under Werner Andreas Albert, during which time he conducted concerts and made recordings with many of the Symphony Australia Orchestras. In 1994 he was awarded the Harry Begian Conducting Scholarship, which enabled him to study advanced symphonic band conducting at the University of Illinois under Professor James Keene. In 1995 he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting and Research from the University of Queensland.
Stephen is currently Student Music Programs Officer 5-12, Conducting Coordinator for The Arts Unit, a specialist unit in the N.S.W Department of Education, taking up this position at the beginning of 1999. He is the Music Director for the NSW Schools Spectacular, the world’s biggest variety show and has been since 1991. He is also the founding Music Director of the Northern Beaches Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this Stephen had a full-time position as conducting coordinator for the School of Instrumental Music in Perth. He was also a member of staff at the W.A Conservatorium of Music, Edith Cowan University, lecturing and conducting in the Classical, Jazz and Education departments. Between 1992 and 1995, Stephen was a full-time member of staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, occupying the position of Director of the Wind Symphony as well as lecturing in Conducting, Instrumental Pedagogy and Jazz studies.