Music Director and Chief Conductor
Andrew Wailes has gained a reputation as one of Australia's leading conductors speciallsing in symphonic choral repertoire, and enjoys a busy performing and teaching schedule. He began his musical studies as a flautist and as a chorister in various Royal School of Church Music choirs, later studying advanced orchestral conducting with the late Robert Rosen and voice with David Ross Smith. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and Certificates in Applied Music (Orchestral and Choral Conducting) at Monash University, and following studies in Political Science and Law, concentrated on his musical career, also studying conducting with leading international choral specialists including Simon Halsey, and John Rutter (UK), Jo-Michael Sheibe, and Rod Eichenberger (USA), Stefan Parkman (Denmark) as well as some of Australia's leading conducting pedagogues.
Andrew assumed the role of musical director and chief conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra at the end of 1998, making him one of the youngest people ever to hold that position. Andrew's other posts include: artistic director of the Australian Children's Choir; music director of the Melbourne University Choral Society, and Box Hill Chorale. He Is a former Principal Guest Conductor of The Australian Classical Players, and has directed the award-winning Symphony Orchestra at Blackburn High School. In 2010 he took up a new post as 'visiting maestro' at the Escuela de Direccion de Orquesta y Banda in Spain, working with international conducting students preparing for the Royal Academy of Music Examinations in London.
In 1999 Andrew was the winner of the prestigious Australasian International Choral Conducting Competition In Brisbane, and appeared with the acclaimed Candomino Chamber Choir from Helsinki. He has also appeared with major choirs from the USA, Sweden, England, Finland, South Africa, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand as guest conductor. He has conducted an impressive list of major works, across a wide range of repertoire styles, including Handel's Messiah, Judas Maccabeaus, Coronation Anthems and Dixit Dominus; J.S. Bach's Easter Oratorio, St John Passion and Magnificat Orffs Carmina Burana, Rachmaninov's Vespers and The Bells, Verdi's Requiem, Hymn of the Nations and Ouattro Pezzi Sacri, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem and Schicksalslied; Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Elgar's The Spirit of England; Beethoven's Mass in C and Choral Fantasia; Mendelssohn's Elijah; Haydn's The Creation; Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms; Sculthorpe's Requiem; Carl Vine's Choral Symphony and Mozart's Requiem, Missa Solemnis, Solemn Vespers and 'Great' Mass in C minor. He has commissioned and conducted numerous first performances of new works by Australian composers such as Peter Sculthorpe, Gordon Kerry, Carl Vine, Stephen Leek, Christopher Willcock, Stuart Greenbaum, Nicholas Buc, John Peterson, Colin Brumby, David Howell, Dindy Vaughan and Jane Hammond. Andrew has taught or conducted ensembles at the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Music, the School of Music at Monash University, the Melba Conservatorium of Music, and the Victorian College of the Arts. He is currently a lecturer and directs choral studies at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus.
Andrew made his international conducting debut with the Christchurch Sinfonia (New Zealand) in 2001 and since then has been guest conductor of ensembles such as the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Camerata Academica Freiburg and Orchester der Universitat Stuttgart (Germany), Yale Glee Club (USA), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (USA), and local ensembles such as the State Orchestra of Victoria (Orchestra Victoria), VCA Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Sinfonia, Stonnington Symphony and Monash Chamber Orchestra.
Andrew has prepared choirs for many leading conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Valery Gergiev, Diego Masson, Marcus Stenz, Roy Wales, Christopher Bell, Jindong Cai, Nicholas Braithwaite and David Hill, for Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, Verdi's Requiem, Britten's War Requiem, Mahler's Symphonies 2 & 8, Bizet's Carmen, and Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky. He has been engaged as chorusmaster and conductor for the Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival in all Australian capital cities, and for groups such as the Australian Youth Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra, The Australian Ballet Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and many of Australia's professional symphony orchestras.
Andrew co-conducted the world premiere season of Julian Yu's contemporary opera The Possessed, for Chamber Made Opera and in 2005 he conducted Britten's The Rape of Lucretia for Lyric Opera of Melbourne (receiving a prestigious Green Room Award nomination for best opera conductor). He also assisted Maestro Valery Gergiev as backstage conductor and extra chorus director for the Kirov Opera's acclaimed performances of The Fiery Angel for the Melbourne Festival. Andrew has appeared with many leading Australian and international performers, including the legendary rock band 'Kiss' and the MSO at the Telstra Dome, and with popular artists such as Julie Anthony, John Farnham, Delta Goodrem, and Judith Durham. He has directed choirs for many major televised events, including six AFL Grand Finals, the opening of Stadium Australia, two AFI Awards, five International Comedy Festival Gala Concerts and at the Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Comrnonwealth Games. He recently conducted at the opening ceremony of the Parliament of World Religions.
In 2004, Andrew undertook several orchestral engagements in Stuttgart, and led a major concert tour of Europe and the UK with The ACC. directing performances in European cities including Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Edinburgh, York, Cambridge and London. In 2007 Andrew led The ACC on a concert tour of China, performing in Beijing, Tianjin, Xian, Huanyang and Shanghai. He then undertook a six-week study tour of Russia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK, observing rehearsals and performances of numerous orchestras, opera companies, and choirs in cities such as St Petersburg (Mariinsky), Moscow (Bolshoi), and Manchester (The Halle). He returned to China last December, leading a 16-concert tour of over a dozen Chinese cities by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, performing in some of that country's most prestigious venues.
In January 2010 he led a tour to Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic by the Melbourne University Choral Society which will include concerts in Worms Cathedral, the Royal Chapel in Shonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Salzburg Cathedral, Pauluskirche in Stuttgart, the Burgersaalkirche in Munich, St Nicholas Cathedral in Prague, and the Old Jesuit Church in Bratislava. In 2010 he will also adjudicate competitions in Shanghai, Auckland and North Oueensland.
Andrew has extensive experience as a singer with ensembles including Opera Australia, IHOS Opera, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Past Echoes Early Music Group, National Youth Choir of Australia as well as numerous professional recording ensembles. He is a regular soloist in concert and oratorio performances, and is frequently engaged as a guest conductor, speaker and teacher at summer schools and festivals around the country. Andrew mentors and teaches a number of Melbourne's emerging young conductors, and is listed in the inaugural edition ofthe Who's Who in Victoria. He has been awarded Life Membership of the RMP, being only the third RMP conductor ever to be granted that honour.