Special Events include conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Millennium Choir at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games 2000; Conductor for the Athens Olympics 2004, Jakarta Arts Festival, Athens Olympic Torch Relay concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Olympic Park, Musical Director of Sydney Festival events including Opening Night at Hyde Park and for the Famous Spiegeltent, Musical Director and Conductor of Verge Arts Festival concerts at Sydney University including Disney movie screenings with live symphony orchestra, Musical Director for the Greek Festival of Sydney orchestral concerts, Musical Director for the Sydney Crave International Food Festival concert at Bondi Beach featuring Australian opera start Lorina Gore, several ARIA Awards, Australian Songwriters’ Awards and numerous sporting events including the NRL Grand Final, State of Origin and Davis Cup Opening Ceremony.
His vast repertoire covers a variety of styles including symphonic music, choral, opera, musical theatre, jazz and popular. His versatile and sensitive command of a wide range of composers and styles has placed him at the helm of orchestras internationally and throughout Australia. He has conducted music by eminent composers ranging from past masters including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Mahler to 20th and 21st century masters including Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel , Orff, Shostakovich, Peter Sculthorpe and Karl Jenkins.
In concert, he has conducted the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. Concerts have been broadcast on national radio including the world premiere of acclaimed Australian composer Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto. Soloists for his orchestral concerts Diana Doherty, Simon Tedeschi, Gerard Willems, Kathryn Selby, Kirsten Williams and Ursula Nelius.
He has conducted concerts and musically arranged for renowned popular artists such as Lou Reed, The Church, Megan Washington, Sneaky Sound System, Art vs Science, Human Nature, Augie March, GangGajang, Guy Sebastian, Paulini, David Campbell, John Williamson, Marcia Hines, Alex Lloyd, Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch, John Paul Young, Jimmy Little, Troy Casser-Daley, Doug Parkinson, Grace Knight, Jade MacRae, Felicity Urqhuart and Don Spencer. His orchestrations for Josh Pyke will be performed by the composer and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House in 2015.
In 2014, he conducted the contemporary American opera Little Women for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Opera Department. In 2013, he premiered the chamber opera Somewhere Between the Sky and the Sea by composer Sophie Spargo.
He was Assistant Conductor to Simone Young for Opera Australia’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata and has been conductor for many opera highlights concerts including Opera on the Beach starring David Hobson, Opera Under the Stars, Music by Moonlight featuring Shaun Brown and Sarah Crane of Opera Queensland and the Crave International Food Festival at Bondi Beach featuring Opera Australia star Lorina Gore.
His Music theatre credits include Musical Director of Sugar, Some Like It Hot for The Production Company Melbourne featuring Mitchell Butel and Christie Whelan, The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom by Alan John for Belvoir Street Theatre directed by Neil Armfield featuring Ursula Yovich and Simon Burke and the national touring production of Man of La Mancha (Associate Musical Director) starring Anthony Warlow and Caroline O’Connor.
George was Musical Director of the Babies Proms orchestral series at the Sydney Opera House from 2002 to 2010 and has presented orchestral concerts for children around Australia and internationally including for Sydney Symphony Orchestra schools concerts and performances of Peter and the Wolf with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. His concert Mozart vs Beethoven written with Guy Noble is a family favourite and the hugely successful The Conductor and The Clown has been performed by many orchestras including The Sydney Opera House Proms Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and for Monkey Baa Theatre productions (see The Conductor and The Clown page).
His composition Pop Mass received first prize in the Sydney Eisteddfod and was premiered in Colorado USA. His piece Celebration Overture was premiered by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuala Lumpur. In 2014, his composed the soundtrack to the award-winning movie Frank by Jasmin-Forbes Watson. In 2009, he conducted The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky on screen for the Bruce Beresford film Mao’s Last Dancer.
A Psychedelic Symphony, a CD / DVD featuring George Ellis working with legendary Australian band The Church, is now available for sale at thechurchband.com/shop.
This portrait of George Ellis, by acclaimed artist Evert Ploeg, was hung at the NSW Art Gallery as finalist in the 2007 Archibald Prize and won the People's Choice award in Sydney and Melbourne for that year. Subjects are chosen for their contribution to art, letters, science or politics.
© George Ellis 2015