Michael Thrift is a British-Australian conductor and former Associate Conductor of the Sydney Youth Orchestra. After moving to London in 2013 he took up the position of Assistant Conductor with the Oxford University Sinfonietta and the London Firebird Orchestra. After 2 successful engagements with LFO in 2016, Michael will return in 2017 with the music of Mozart and Beethoven. A passionate advocate for new music and a former Australian Young Composer of the Year, he is an active part of the London new music scene. In 2013 he was the conductor at the inaugural Composer’s Academy at the Cheltenham Festival and has worked with the Dr. K Sextet in both Cheltenham and London. After initially joining the team at Fulham Opera to assist with a production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Michael was invited to return to lead a production of Puccini’s Il Tabarro in 2015 for which he also wrote the arrangement for 13-piece orchestra. 2016 engagements with Fulham included conducting the revival of Falstaff as well as a new production of Simon Boccanegra. 2016 saw Michael lead Elemental Opera’s new production of Parsifal, and Madame Butterfly with Ormond Opera. Michael will return to Fulham in 2017 for Lucia di Lammermoor.
During his time in Sydney, Michael held guest conductor positions with numerous ensembles alongside his position at Sydney Youth Orchestra, including the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuringai Youth Orchestra, and the East Sydney Chamber Orchestra. He also founded the Sydney Chamber Ensemble. Michael’s conducting studies have taken him to Vienna under Salvador Mas Conde and Jörg Bierhance, to Graz under Achim Holub, where he placed third in the 2012 Competition for Conductors with the Kammerphilharmonie Graz, and also to Aberystwyth, where he studied with Toby Purser.
In his free time, Michael enjoys sharing the joys of South-Australian red wines as well as decrying the state of New Zealand whites. An unabashed love of sci-fi literature provides escapism. Michael regularly lives an alternative existence vicariously through the Australia cricket team, though his duties to music inevitably snap him back into reality.