Brett Kelly studied at the Newcastle campus of the NEW SOUTH WALES CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC and has held positions as Principal Trombone in the AUSTRALIAN YOUTH ORCHESTRA, the ELIZABETH TRUST ORCHESTRA, and with the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY until 2019. He has appeared on numerous occasions as concerto soloist with the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY, the SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, and the QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
Brett Kelly established his early reputation as a conductor after forming THE MOZART COLLECTION in 1990, the chamber orchestra subsequently known as the ACADEMY OF MELBOURNE. His conducting of the orchestra met with consistent critical acclaim, Kenneth Hince writing in THE AGE: …Kelly’s approach to the music was direct and uncomplicated… I enjoyed this performance far more than the recent performances…by Frans Bruggen and the Orchestra Of The 18th Century…the performance was very, very good…, and saying: Brett Kelly’s impressive direction of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony aroused prolonged applause…Kelly’s incisive accents and instinctive sense of pace maintained vital, driving rhythm and showed his informed grasp of Beethoven’s intricate authority and logic…, and THE AGE has said, …the Academy has earned a reputation for exciting and committed performances – in no small part due to the energetic yet urbane direction of Brett Kelly…
From 2003 he was Music Advisor and Resident Conductor for CHAMBER MADE OPERA as part of which commitment he conducted the company’s seasons of new operatic works including Nicholas Vines’ THE HIVE, for which he was nominated as Best Conductor Of An Opera in the GREENROOM AWARDS, Matt Saville’s CROSSING LIVE and Andrew Schultz’ THE CHILDREN’S BACH.
He has been the featured conductor on numerous CD recordings for labels such as NAXOS, TALL POPPIES and ABC CLASSICS with his recording of the Rodrigo guitar concertos with Slava and Leonard Grigoryan being nominated for a 2006 ARIA award. For his conducting of THE HIVE by Nicolas Vines for CHAMBERMADE OPERA in 2006 he was nominated for a GREENROOM AWARD as Best Conductor of an Opera.
Brett Kelly has conducted the orchestral scores for numerous international films including SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, THE BANK JOB, CHILDREN OF HUANG SHI, KNOWING, SOUTH SOLITARY, BENEATH HILL 60, TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN, THE WAY HOME, THE BLUE MANSION, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIAN, CLOUDSTREET, SANCTUMS, Baz Luhrmann’s epic, AUSTRALIA and HAPPY FEET II.
He is regularly invited to conduct the leading Australian and New Zealand symphony orchestras including conducting the AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA and, commencing in 2008, making the irst of some six subsquent annual visits to the SOUTHERN SINFONIA in Dunedin.
Also during 2008 he conducted concerts featuring rock musician, Ben Lee for the WEST AUSTRALIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and in 2009 conducted the TASMANIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the ADELAIDE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in its ABBA SPECTACULAR concerts with Scandinavian vocal ensemble, RAJATON.
Engagements during 2010 included conducting VICTORIAN OPERA‘s season of new operatic work, COCKATOOS, and an engagement by the SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA to conduct brass concerts at the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE.
During 2011, for the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY, he conducted its seasons of PETER & THE WOLF and CLASSIC KIDS concerts, and returned to New Zealand to conduct the AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA while 2012 included conducting the SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA for the official recording of THE QUEEN’S JUBILEE SONG, the Berlioz REQUIEM for the INTERVARSITY CHORAL FESTIVAL and trumpeter, Chris Botti’s concerts with the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
During 2013 he conducted SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS and SHADOW DREAMS – a major series of performances in the TEN DAYS ON THE ISLAND FESTIVAL – both for the TASMANIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA’s Christmas concerts and 2014 included engagements with the WEST AUSTRALIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and conducting internationally renowned guitarists, Pepe Romero and Yamandu Costa and the ADELAIDE ART ORCHESTRA as part of the program of the ADELAIDE INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL.
2015 included James Morrison’s concerts with the AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA and appearances with the TASMANIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
During 2016, Brett Kelly‘s appearances included the ADELAIDE SYMPHONY‘s performances of THE COMPOSER IS DEAD at the ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL, performances he also gave with the TASMANIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA‘s CLASSIC KIDS series of concerts, its regional touring concerts and its support of the DORCAS McCLEAN VIOLIN COMPETITION.
In 2017 he conducted the AUSTRALIAN YOUTH ORCHESTRA‘s YOUNG SYMPHONISTS program, returned to conduct THE COMPOSER IS DEAD, with the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and two series of concerts for young audiences, including Britten’s THE YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA for the QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
2018 included appearances with the GEELONG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA‘s performances of DAHLESQUE.
2019 included two visits to the AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA, further concerts with the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA including its appearance at the INDIAN FILM MUSIC AWARDS, and THE COMPOSER IS DEAD with the SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
In 2019 Brett Kelly was also appointed at Music Director of MELBOURNE YOUTH ORCHESTRAS.
2020 was to include a series of performances with the QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA but 2021 has seen him return to that orchestra for a series of recording projects. He also conducts the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in a joint recording project with the SINGAPORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
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