BRISBANE, 28th September – The ASPIRE team are pleased to announce Maestro Sarah-Grace Williams as the ASPIRE Artistic Co-Director for 2019. Sarah-Grace will bring her classical expertise to ASPIRE to create a synergy with Sean O’Boyle, together bringing a world-class Artistic Directorship to the ASPIRE festival.

Founding Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Orchestra, Sarah-Grace Williams has received acclaim from audiences and critics alike for her vibrant energy, outstanding musical skill and dynamic presence on the podium. Sarah-Grace Williams brings a wealth of experience to ASPIRE, and will share Artistic Director responsibilities with internationally renowned composer and conductor Sean O’Boyle. Mr Boyle is Artistic Director at the University of Sunshine Coast, and their collaboration will mean an even more creative and innovative festival in 2019.

A Churchill Fellow, Sarah-Grace has received constant recognition for her significant achievements including being awarded the 2017 Western Sydney University Alumni Chancellors Leadership Award (the highest honour the awards bestow), announced on the 2013 International Women’s Day Honour Roll for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the community, while also being hailed by Limelight Magazine to be amongst ‘10 of the Best Women Conductors – trailblazing talents that are leading the way for women conductors all over the world’.

As a not-for-profit musical charity, The Metropolitan Orchestra not only liaises with world-renowned performers and delivers first-class concerts to audiences both locally, nationally and abroad, but also takes their invaluable experience into schools, under-privileged communities and regional areas. TMO’s mission is to make first-class music more accessible to everyday Australians which includes outreach concerts for newly arrived refugees, free outdoor concerts and their now supremely popular Cushion Concert series which has been designed specifically for young families on a budget. All TMO concerts are offered from accessible locations at affordable prices which is a key component of TMO’s mission. Instrumental in establishing this mission of the orchestra, Sarah-Grace explains, “first-class music is not a luxury, it is something that all people whether it be young kids or seniors on a strict budget should be able to access easily and affordably. Just because they pay less for a ticket, or see a concert at a local town hall, doesn’t mean the quality of performance or experience should be dampened. This is at our heart and why superb orchestral music is becoming a much more viable entertainment option for lots more Australians.”

Boasting a remarkable local and international conducting career, Sarah-Grace has also conducted the Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Bangalow Festival Chamber Orchestra, Australian Concert Orchestra, Queensland Music Festival, Southern Cross Soloists and Artists of Opera Australia amongst others.  From 2007-2013 she also worked as Musical Director of the Sydney Opera House Babies Proms and she has lectured in conducting at the Australian Institute of Music for more than a decade.

Sarah-Grace is delighted to join ASPIRE’s quest to foster a culture of musical excellence with our international youth ensembles.

“The ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival provides young musicians the opportunity to compete, hone skills, and connect with like-minded peers from around the world. Sharing these experiences with an audience and in front of globally recognised adjudicators opens young minds to new opportunities, creates pathways to future possibilities, and raises aspirations for all involved. That’s why I am so thrilled to be the ASPIRE Co-Director for 2019”, said Ms Williams.

Festival Founder Jamie Wansey and the ASPIRE team are thrilled that Sarah-Grace is stepping into the new role after last years’ successful inaugural ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival. “We are honoured to have someone of her calibre, with pioneering spirit at the helm in the Artistic Co-Directorship role”, commented Mr Wansey.

The ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival will take place at The Star Gold Coast from 17-20 July 2019 and schools are encouraged to register their interest as spaces are filling fast.

To ensure we continue to attract the best musicians worldwide we welcome enquiries to discuss selection criteria in further detail at

Photo credit: Ed Cobb