Our 2018 Conductors (2019 - tbc)

John Ferguson - Bishop Orchestra

John was born in London where he worked as a Musical Director for theatres, brass bands and choirs, as well as arranging and conducting for Thames Television, London.

John holds a Masters degree in conducting from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. In 2001 he received a Symphony Australia scholarship to study with Jorma Panula. Past engagements have included conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra strings, the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra, engagements in Singapore and China, including the Xiamen International Piano Festival in 2016. He was also conductor for the VCA Opera School for four years, Melbourne City Opera and Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria. John has received the Theatre Guild ‘Musical Director of the Year’ award three times.

John is regularly invited to adjudicate festivals and eisteddfods, and has been an AMEB examiner since 1988. He has been a guest lecturer at Beijing and Chengdu Universities and the Tianjin, Xiamen and Sichuan Conservatories in China. John is currently a Graduate Researcher at the University of Melbourne, as well as being Director of Music at Scotch College, a position he has held since 1991.


Paul Fitzsimon - Jones String Ensemble

Paul completed his orchestral conducting studies at the University of the Arts in Berlin and through the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program. He was Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2008/09 and has conducted most of the symphony orchestras in Australia, many in Europe: the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and the Hamburg Ballet at the Baden Baden Festival.

Since 2014 Paul has been based in Sydney as conductor and repetiteur at Opera Australia and has conducted its recent tours of The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Other recent highlights include conducting Dvorak’s Symphony no. 7 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Stravinsky’s Petrushka with Melbourne Youth Orchestra.

He will conduct a new production of Brian Howard’s Metamorphosis for Opera Australia in the 2018 Melbourne Festival.


Sarah Nieuwkerk - Scott String Ensemble

Sarah Nieuwkerk is a passionate conductor, performer and educator. In 2014 she graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Masters in Music majoring in Performance Teaching.  

Sarah has toured Europe twice with the Chamber Strings of Melbourne as a soloist and core player and has toured China with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic. Sarah is currently Associate Concertmaster for the newly formed Australian Discovery Orchestra and regularly performs for theatre, TV and in orchestras across Melbourne. 

Sarah is the Head of Strings at St Leonard’s College. She has experience conducting a variety of ensembles including Junior String Orchestras, Junior Chamber Music ensembles, Senior String Ensembles, Symphony Orchestras sometimes with a full chorus and Senior Chamber Music Ensembles. 

Sarah is a regular tutor and conductor for State Music Camp and Melbourne Youth Orchestra ensembles and she is looking forward to inspiring young string players in the Scott String Ensemble this year. 


Prue Jury - Thompson String Ensemble

Prue is the most recent recipient of the Australian Society of Music Educators (Victoria) Award.  She is passionate about education young musicians in an atmosphere of creativity and fun. 

She is a graduate of Monash University and the University of Tasmania, with a Bachelor of Music (Performance).  Prue has conducted and performed in various string ensembles, orchestras, theatre productions and bands throughout Australia.  She has also toured and performed in Europe and China.  She currently co-ordinates the string program at Overnewton Anglican Community College and is the founder and director of "Concerti at Twilight". 

Prue spent much of her student life performing in Melbourne based youth orchestras and has enjoyed tutoring the Melbourne Youth Orchestras' Summer and Saturday programs.

This is Prue's first time at State Music Camp andshe is thoroughtly excited to be involved this year.