Renowned Australian conductor Benjamin Northey was appointed to the role of Principal Conductor in Residence following a long-standing and highly successful relationship with the MSO. Known for his ability to command an audience on stage, and off, Benjamin hosted the popular Up Late with Ben Northey series during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, and in 2021 he leads the Orchestra through several programs at Hamer Hall, Melbourne Town Hall and across Victoria.
He is also the Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and has previously held the posts of Resident Guest Conductor of the Australia Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (2002–2006) and Principal Conductor of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (2007–2010).
Benjamin Northey also appears regularly as a guest conductor with all major Australian symphony orchestras, Opera Australia (Turandot, L’elisir d’amore, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Carmen), New Zealand Opera (Sweeney Todd) and State Opera South Australia (La sonnambula, L’elisir d’amore, Les contes d’Hoffmann). His international appearances include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras.
Northey studied conducting with John Hopkins at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. In 2001, he was awarded first prize in the Symphony Australia Young Conductor of the Year Competition under the direction of Jorma Panula. In 2002, he was the highest placed applicant to Finland’s prestigious Sibelius Academy where he studied with Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila until 2005. He completed his studies at the Stockholm Royal College of Music with Jorma Panula in 2006. In 2009/10, he was chosen as one of three conductors worldwide to participate in the Allianz International Conductor’s Academy with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
With a progressive approach to repertoire, he has collaborated with a diverse range of artists including Maxim Vengerov, Julian Rachlin, Karen Gomyo, Piers Lane, Alban Gerhardt, Johannes Moser, Piers Lane, Amy Dickson, Slava Grigoryan and Marc-André Hamelin as well as popular artists Tim Minchin, k.d. lang, Kate Miller-Heidke, Barry Humphries, Kurt Elling, James Morrison and Tori Amos.
Benjamin Northey is highly active in the performance of Australian orchestral music and has premiered numerous major new works by Brett Dean, Peter Sculthorpe, Elena Kats-Chernin, Matthew Hindson and many others. An Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, his awards include the prestigious 2010 Melbourne Prize Outstanding Musician’s Award and the 2002 Brian Stacey Memorial Scholarship as well as multiple awards and nominations for his numerous recordings with ABC Classics.