About Greysen

Geoff Grey CSM, Grad Dip App Mus, Dip Mus Mgt.

geoff mugshot smallGeoff Grey is one of Australia’s most prominent, productive and passionate ensemble leaders, with over three decades of professional music production to date. Currently a PhD candidate with the University of Canberra, Geoff is the Artistic Director of the ADF Arts for Resiliance, Recovery, Teamwork and Skills, using the arts to rehabilitate ADF members suffering stress, anxiety, PTSD and more. Geoff’s research aims to break ground in this area of research. In 2015 Geoff launched the Canberra Wind Symphony, bringing together 40+ professional musicians to fly the flag for the genre of the wind ensemble, and live music in general. Geoff remains the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Canberra Wind Symphony.

Geoff is a direct descendant of the famous London violinist/conductor Wilhelm Cramer and eminent pianist, composer and publisher Johann Baptist Cramer. He won his first piano competition aged six and has since toured nationally and internationally with numerous wind ensembles, orchestras, bands and choirs on cornet, trumpet, clarinet, voice, percussion, blues harmonica, trombone and, of course, baton. For services to music he has been awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in the Australian Honours List.

Professional Productions

Geoff has been described as an insightful, intelligent and inspirational leader. He is best known for his exciting, fresh and engaging approach to concert production, award winning recordings, unfailing commitment to excellence and quirky sense of humour.

His professional career includes over 8,000 live performances and a list of partnering artists that form a ‘Who’s Who’ of Australian talent – from John Farnham, the Choirboys and Missy Higgins to Marina Prior, Lee Kernaghan and Guy Sebastian. The rich tapestry of associates also includes many personalities, so be sure to ask him how he met Princess Di or what Barack Obama was really smiling about!

Recording credits feature ten albums, six of which he also produced and/or conducted. He has been awarded an ARIA Gold Record and had a Big Band album debut at number one on Sydney’s Jazz charts. His most recent recording production, A Century of Leadership, has received high praise and is regularly featured on national radio.

He has performed in over 1,000 venues – from Royal Palaces and Castles to famous Jazz Clubs and the Sydney Opera House.  Geoff has conducted ABC Classic FM live-to-air broadcasts and recently performed works of Percy Grainger in the magnificent KKL in Switzerland, listed as one of the world’s best Concert Halls.

Geoff is the immediate past Commander and Director of the world renowned Band of the Royal Military College, only the tenth conductor to hold this prestigious post. During his tenure he was also the Music Director for visits to Australia by Kings, Queens, Premiers and Prime Ministers, and provided entertainment for all state occasions in the nation’s capital.

Geoff’s resourcefulness, imagination and creativity make his productions engaging, exciting and of the highest calibre. (He’s even convinced the Canberra Theatre to allow fireworks indoors – twice!) Recently he was the Producer, Musical Director and Conductor for the Duntroon centenary celebrations, including the outdoor concert event spectacular. Involving 70 musicians from across Australia, period music, historical narration, giant moving images projected onto buildings and a finale with an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to live music, it was all followed by an impromptu speech by the Governor-General encouraging the assembled thousands to purchase a CD!

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Community

Geoff has been heavily involved in community music and is passionate about music education. In the 1990s he led the extraordinary Canberra Youth Wind Ensemble to a string of A Grade victories, landmark performances and recordings. He also formed the Canberra Musicians Jazz Orchestra. After only three rehearsals they won the A Grade Big Band title and was awarded the ‘Australia Remembers’ prize for most outstanding entertainment act of the Championships – with an average age of just 17.

Geoff is now doing the same with the Canberra City Band, who have been the winners of the A Grade Open Bands Championship at the Australian National Eisteddfod since Geoff took over as Music Director five years ago. Canberra City Band was awarded the inaugural MusicACT Music Award (MAMA) for Best Orchestra; Concert, Brass or Big Band in 2012, receiving the award again in 2013.

He is in demand across the nation as an adjudicator and clinician, and enjoys being able to assist all levels of artists hone their skills.

In addition to his conducting and adjudication commitments he is a part-time projects officer at the Army’s Directorate of Music and heads up brass tutoring at the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium. Geoff’s recent foray back into directing Pit Orchestras resulted in nominations for Best Musical Director and Best Pit Orchestra for Hair at the 2012 Canberra Area Theatre Awards and again for Best Pit Orchestra for West Side Story in 2013.

Geoff is enjoying his role as the principal clinician of Greysen Music, professionally mentoring conductors and musician managers of all experience levels, and is looking forward to sharing his music passion with many more generations of practitioners, music lovers and concertgoers alike through his knowledge tailored, interactive residential music appreciation seminars and workshops.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Nielsen, BMus (1st Class Hons).

Sarah Nielsen hails from the musically rich Northern Territory where she spent her formative years playing flute in youth orchestras, symphony orchestras and concert bands. A highlight during this period was performing with classical guitar luminary John Williams. In 1998 she won a Rotary scholarship to attend the Pan-Pacific Music Camp in Sydney, and in 2000 Sarah chose to attend the Canberra School of Music ahead of competing universities. Whilst at the School, Sarah completed four years of studies with Virginia Taylor (ACO, CSO) and Vernon Hill (LSO, MSO, CSO).

In furthering her performance influences Sarah has undertaken classes with many of the world’s leading flute practitioners, including Peter Lloyd (LSO), Felix Renggli (Music Academy of Basel), Paul Edmund-Davies (LSO, Principal Flute of English National Opera), and Michael Cox (BBC SO, London Sinfonia, LSO, Academy of St Martin in the Fields).

During her time at the Canberra School of Music (later becoming part of the Australian National University), Sarah performed with the School of Music Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Youth Orchestra and Canberra Symphony Orchestra. She also studied various electives, most notably Conducting with Max McBride (SSO, ACO) and Music Arranging with Ruth Lee-Martin.

In 2002 Sarah was the winner of the Nigel & Ann Flowers Scholarship for Flute at the ANU. Graduating in the subject of flute performance in 2003, her honours subject was the The Trend Towards Impressionism in Australian Flute Music, for which she received first class honours.

Sarah’s subsequent performance career has seen her embark on an eclectic and exciting mix of performance broadening musical experiences. This has included winning a permanent casual position with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, performing with the renowned Band of the Royal Military College, being a founding member of the Supernova Bossa Nova trio, joining a local funk band, performing with the ACT Champion Canberra City Band and accruing a significant number of private students. She has been the Musical Director of the Tuggeranong Valley Band, taught in music education and managed in brass and woodwind retail.

Sarah has spent a considerable amount of time breaking down the barrier between jazz and classical genres, and is renowned for her diversity on the flute. After her fourth year graduation recital she re-directed her musical attention towards learning how to improvise, and before long she was invited to perform at a variety of local and interstate jazz festivals and venues. She believes that more than ever, the paths of current jazz and classical music are converging before our eyes.

Sarah wears many hats. She has just completed a degree in editing and publishing, and when she’s not at Greysen, she’s often out photographing musicians, bands and weddings! Her photos of Floriade have featured twice on ABC’s Stateline. Sarah is currently the manager of Canberra Music Tuition’s expanding in-school music tuition program, is the Music Director of Canberra City Band’s development band – the John Agnew Band, and the Concertmaster and co-founder of the Canberra Wind Symphony.