Famous Conductors from Australia

List of notable or famous conductors from Australia, with bios and photos, including the top conductors born in Australia and even some popular conductors who immigrated to Australia. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Australian conductors then this list is the perfect resource for you. These conductors are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known conductor from Australia is included when available.

This list below has everything from Geoffrey Lancaster to Arthur Benjamin.

This historic conductors from Australia list can help answer the questions "Who are some Australian conductors of note?" and "Who are the most famous conductors from Australia?" These prominent conductors of Australia may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Australian conductors.

Use this list of renowned Australian conductors to discover some new conductors that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}

  • Alberto Zelman

    (Samuel Victor) Alberto Zelman (15 November 1874 – 3 March 1927) was an Australian musician and conductor, and founder of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Alberto Zelman was born in Melbourne, Australia. His father, Alberto Zelman (senior), had come from Trieste via India as conductor of an opera company, and settled in Melbourne. Alberto jr. was educated at King's College, Melbourne, and showed early talent as a violinist, afterwards becoming a violin teacher. He was connected with the Melbourne Philharmonic Society for over 30 years, first as leader of the second violins in the orchestra, and from 1912 as conductor. He was leader of the British Musical Society's quartet, and after the death of George Marshall-Hall he founded and conducted the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in 1906. It was mainly amateur with a core of professional players, and Alberto conducted it over the years, giving many memorable performances. Considering that the MSO had no endowment, Zelman did remarkable work with it, and he was always hoping that all the musical interests in Melbourne would pool their resources so that his native city would have a permanent, properly supported orchestra. Alberto Zelman was also well known in the Spa Country region of Victoria, and he lived for a short period in a cottage on 7th Street in Hepburn Springs that stands today and which features a frieze of the local bush painted by his artist brother Victor. In 1922 he visited Europe, and in Berlin was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He was enthusiastically received, and in November of the same year conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, but was less successful than in Berlin. On returning to Australia, Zelman resumed his teaching and conducting, and his last appearance was to conduct Messiah on Christmas night 1926; such world-famous singers as John McCormack and Dame Clara Butt had been soloists in his Messiah. He died in Melbourne after a short illness on 3 March 1927. He married Maude Harrington, a well-known singer, who survived him. He had no children. A brother, Victor Zelman, studied painting and became known as a capable painter of landscapes; an example of his work is in the National Gallery of Victoria. The MSO continued to perform after his death until 1932 when it was taken over jointly by Professor (later Sir) Bernard Heinze and Fritz Hart, who converted it to an all-professional orchestra. In 1933 the amateur players formed their own orchestra, naming it the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra after Alberto Zelman. It has given at least three concerts each year since that time and now, more than 80 years later, the Zelman Symphony continues to perform with at least four concerts each year in Melbourne and one or more in country Victoria. The Zelman Symphony is proud to own Alberto Zelman Jnr's Mustel celeste (celesta), circa 1890.
    • Age: Dec. at 52 (1874-1927)
    • Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
  • Alfred Hill

    Alfred Hill may refer to: Alfred John Hill (1862–1927), British railway engineer Alfred Hill (cricketer, born 1865) (1865–1936), English cricketer Alfred Hill (politician) (1867–1945), British Member of Parliament for Leicester West 1922–1923 Alfred Hill (composer) (1869–1960), Australian composer and conductor Alfred Hill (cricketer, born 1887) (1887–1959), English cricketer Alfred Hill (bishop) (1901–1969), Anglican bishop of Melanesia Alfred Hill (Benny Hill, 1924–1992), British comedian
    • Age: Dec. at 90 (1869-1960)
    • Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
  • Arthur Benjamin
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Arthur Leslie Benjamin (Sydney, 18 September 1893 – London, 10 April 1960) was an Australian composer, pianist, conductor and teacher. He is best known as the composer of Jamaican Rumba (1938), the Storm Clouds Cantata featured in both versions of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man who Knew Too Much (1934), (1956).
    • Age: Dec. at 66 (1893-1960)
    • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
  • Ben Macpherson

    Bennett William Macpherson is an Australian conductor who received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his services to music as a conductor and choirmaster.
  • Brett Dean
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Brett Dean (born 23 October 1961 in Brisbane) is a contemporary Australian composer, violist and conductor.
    • Age: 61
    • Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
  • Brian May
    Photo: Matthew Baker / Getty Images
    Brian Harold May, (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist. He is the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. His songs include "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash", "Hammer to Fall", "Save Me", "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On". May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor, having previously performed with Taylor in the band Smile, which he had joined while he was at university. Within five years of their formation in 1970 and the recruitment of bass player John Deacon completing the lineup, Queen had become one of the biggest rock bands in the world with the success of the album A Night at the Opera and its single "Bohemian Rhapsody". From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Queen were an almost constant presence in the UK charts and played some of the biggest venues in the world, most notably giving an acclaimed performance at Live Aid in 1985. As a member of Queen, May became regarded as a virtuoso musician and he was identified with a distinctive sound created through his layered guitar work, often using a home-built electric guitar called the Red Special.Following the death of Mercury in 1991, aside from the 1992 tribute concert, the release of Made in Heaven (1995) and the 1997 tribute single to Mercury, "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)" (written by May), Queen were put on hiatus for several years but were eventually reconvened by May and Taylor for further performances featuring other vocalists. In 2005, a Planet Rock poll saw May voted the seventh greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2012, he was ranked the second greatest guitarist in a Guitar World magazine readers poll. In 2001, May was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Queen and in 2018 the band received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.May was appointed a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 for "services to the music industry and for charity work". May earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007, and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 to 2013. He was a "science team collaborator" with NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission. He is also a co-founder of the awareness campaign Asteroid Day. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named after him. May is also an animal rights activist, campaigning against the hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers in the UK.
    • Age: 76
    • Birthplace: London, United Kingdom