WPO CONDUCTORS - 2018
Born in Turin, Italy, Umberto Clerici started studying the cello with the Suzuki method at the age of five. He continued his studies at the Conservatorium of Music in Turin under Antonio Mosca and mastered his art with Mario Brunello, David Géringas and Julius Berger. At the age of 19, Clerici won the Istituzioni Concertistico Orchestrali contest which launched his career as a soloist, debuting with 13 orchestras in the next 3 years. Umberto went on to receive several other prizes including the Janigro Competition in Zagreb, the Rostropovich in Paris and, in 2011, at the Čajkovskij in Moscow making him the second Italian cellist in the history of the Čajkovskij Prize to receive this award, after his former teacher, Mario Brunello.
As a concerto solosit, Clerici performed internationally with innumerable orchestras including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Moscow Russian State Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Wien, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Florence and the Istanbul Symphonic Orchestra, performing in some of the most prestigious concert venues including Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein, the Great Shostakovich Hall in Saint Petersburg, the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome and the Sydney Opera House. In 2012 he played Čajkovskij's Variations on a Rococo theme with the Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.With an extensive list of highly acclaimed solo recordings to his name, Clerici’s next step was to explore orchestral repertoire and to experience the interactions that take place in this genre. Clerici started sectional playing and took on appointments as principal cellist with Lorin Maazel's Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra and the Scala Philharmonic Orchestra. Clerici was appointed as principal cello the Teatro Regio in Turin for 4 years under Gianandrea Noseda and in 2014, accepted the Principal Cellist position with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Umberto is also engaged as Lecturer in Cello at Sydney University.
In 2017 Clerici began studying conducting with Eduardo Diazmunoz, Conducting Professor at Sydney University and sees conducting as a natural evolution of his multifaceted career and as result of his collaborations with orchestras as principal cellist and soloist. This performance with the WPO marks Umberto’s first conducting collaboration and we are thrilled to welcome him to the WPO family.
Brad Lucas completed his Bachelor of Music Performance (Euphonium) in 2014 under the tutelage of Scott Kinmont at the Sydney Conservatroium. He has played as a casual musician with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and with both the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute (AISOI) and The Musicians Project. As a soloist he was a finalist in the Fine Music FM ‘Young Virtuoso Award’ in 2015. He is also a founding member of the Sydney Ophicleide Quartet and a casual lecturer of Euphonium at the Sydney Conservatorium, various other schools, and is the Low Brass Tutor for the Department of Education’s ‘The Arts Unit’.
As a conductor Brad has worked with previous WPO Conductor, Dr Anthony Clarke as well as Dr John Lynch and Stephen Williams. Brad conducts multiple school ensembles and in 2017 he took the Symphonic Wind Orchestra from the Department of Education’s ‘The Arts Unit’ on their tour of the Riverena.
Lee Bracegirdle studied conducting at Salzburg's Mozarteum with Michael Gielen and and took part in master classes with Sergiu Celibidache in Mainz. He received further conducting tutelage in Sydney with Sir Charles Mackerras, Carlo Felice Cillario, Vernon Handley, and Eduardo Mata. He made his conducting debut with the Orchestra of the Mozarteum and presently guest conducts in Australia and Latin America. Since 1996 he has been Musical Director of the Australian Chamber Ballet.
In 2014 he toured Cuba as guest conductor of the Orquesta Sinf'ónica de Oriente, becoming both the first Australian to conduct in that country and the first contemporary Australian composer to be performed there. This led to follow-up invitations to return annually, and in November 2016 as guest conductor of the orchestras in Santiago and Holguín he introduced Latin American audiences to the music of Peter Sculthorpe for the first time.
Bracegirdle began his early musical training in Philadelphia, where he studied keyboard and various wind instruments, choosing the French Horn at age 14. He began tertiary horn studies at the Philadelphia Musical Academy, then at the Juilliard School in New York, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Whilst in New York he was a member of the Juilliard Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Among the mentors at Juilliard who influenced his compositional style were the composers Pierre Boulez, Vincent Persichetti, Jacob Druckman and Robert Starer.
During his studies he embarked on a multi-faceted free-lance career which included performances as principal horn with the New York City Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonia, and recordings with many prominent jazz musicians, including Clark Terry, Ornette Coleman, Stanley Clark and Teo Macera. In 1976 he performed as Principal Horn in the New York premiere of Dave Brubeck's The Gates of Justice under the direction of Mr. Brubeck.
From 1976-1977 he was Co-Principal Horn with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (México) and Principal Horn with the Chamber Orchestra of México City. In 1977 he moved to Germany, where he joined the International Youth Festival Orchestra in Bayreuth. In the same year he was appointed Solo-Horn with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in Bavaria, where he subsequently co-founded Germany’s premier brass quintet, Rekkenze Brass.
In 1980 he was appointed Associate Principal Horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where he served until his retirement in 2012. He has made numerous recordings for the ABC as a soloist, chamber musician and principal horn. He has edited horn études for the I.M.C. in New York, and published his own original studies and chamber music through 3-C Musikverlag in Germany. He has given master classes at Juilliard (New York), the Curtis Institute (Philadelphia), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Chopin University of Music (Warsaw), the University of Illinois, and the Conservatorio Esteban Salas in Cuba.
In 1998 he was awarded 1st Prize in the Zoltan Kodaly International Composers’ Competition for his first orchestral work, Divertimento for Orchestra. This award earned him an honorary diploma from the Chicago-based Kodaly Academy. He was subsequently commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for 3 new compositions: Variations for Orchestra (2002), Ammerseelieder (2005), and Euphonium Concerto (2007). In 2007 the American Wind Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered his Threnos for Horn and symphonic winds, and in 2014 the Sydney Symphony premiered his Legends of the Old Castle for solo-harp, winds and percussion. His Violin Concerto was premiered in Sydney in 2015 with the SSO's ex-concertmaster Michael Dauth as soloist.
He was Composer-in-Residence in 2003 and 2013 at Bundanon and in 2012 and 2014 at the “Brahmshaus” in Baden-Baden, Germany. He resides in Sydney, is represented by the Australian Music Centre, and his compositions are published by C.F. Peters.
Louis Sharpe is a prominent young conductor in Sydney who was born and raised in Newcastle, NSW. He began studying music from a very early age at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music. Louis discovered that drums were his passion and his skills on this instrument earned a coveted position at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in 2007. In 2010, Louis completed his secondary education with a focus on orchestral percussion and conducting.
While studying at the University of Melbourne, Louis moved towards conducting and co founded the Hopkins Sinfonia. In 2013 he become the Music Director of the Hopkins Sinfonia and, after three successful seasons, Louis conducted their last performance in late 2016. In early 2016 he won a position at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to study conducting under the tutelage and guidance of the head of the conducting department, Maestro Eduardo Diazmunoz, as well as Maestro Stephen Mould,and Maestro Neil McEwan. Brad is currently enrolled in the Masters of Music Performance program which he will complete in November this year.
In 2017 Louis was appointed as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and Guest Conductor with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra