AUSTRALIA DAY AMBASSADOR: Composer and conductor George Ellis spoke movingly about what being Australian meant to him, supported by Auslan interpreter Belinda Roberts. Photo: Alison Paterson
AUSTRALIA DAY AMBASSADOR: Composer and conductor George Ellis spoke movingly about what being Australian meant to him, supported by Auslan interpreter Belinda Roberts. Photo: Alison Paterson

Ambassador speaks about what being Australian means

One of Australia’s top musical directors and conductors, George Ellis, spoke about his love of this wide brown land and thanked his parents for making the decision to emigrate to Australia.

An award-winning composer, Mr Ellis replaced Doug Hawkins as Lismore’s 2021 Australia Day Ambassador at tomorrow’s celebrations.

“I was born in Cairo to Greek parents and I am thankful my father made the decision to emigrate from Constantinople to Australia,” Mr Ellis said.

“He was only 20, the same age as my son and I am thankful he made that decision.”

An internationally renowned musical directors and conductors, Mr Ellis has presented concerts in Paris, London, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Boston Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Athens, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and performed in every capital city in Australia.

Mr Ellis said how fortunate his orchestral work includes working in combination with classical artists David Hobson, Simon Tedeschi and Diana Doherty and popular artists including Megan Washington, Sneaky Sound System, Guy Sebastian, Art vs Science, Deborah Conway, John Williamson, Augie March, Steve Kilbey and The Church.

Stage and screen credits include conducting Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Bruce Beresford’s film Mao’s Last Dancer, Man of La Mancha, starring Anthony Warlow and Caroline O’Connor, and The Secret Garden for The Gordon Frost Organisation, Sugar: Some Like It Hot for The Production Company, The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie for Belvoir Street Theatre directed by Neil Armfield.

He has also been Assistant Conductor to Simone Young for Opera Australia’s production of La Traviata.

Mr Ellis provides orchestral soundtracks for many television shows including most recently The Bachelor Series 2.

Classical credits include conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games 2000, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras and Orchestra Victoria in concert.

He was Musical Director of the Orchestral Proms concerts at the Sydney Opera House for many years and has conducted world premieres of many Australian works including Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto broadcast on national radio.

Later this year, he will conduct the opera Little Women for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.



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