Christopher Lawrence, ABC ClassicFM broadcaster, author and arts administrator, has joined Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO) as its Chief Artistic Advisor. Mr Lawrence said he was honoured to join the team alongside Alexander Briger AO, who now resides in Paris to better pursue his international conducting career. Mr Briger remains the orchestra’s Chief Conductor and will visit Sydney regularly as an integral part of the orchestral training program, which includes presenting The Sydney Youth Orchestra concert series.
The two have already met in Paris to map out a plan for SYO’s artistic development and growth. “A vibrant SYO now means a vibrant national music scene in the future. The stakes are high, but the greatest thrill for me is to work with and for these new generations of fabulous musicians.” Mr Briger said, adding “I know (Christopher) will be excellent in this role”.
Mr. Lawrence’s first official engagement as Chief Artistic Advisor of Sydney Youth Orchestras will be at Bruckner Symphony No. 8 at Verbrugghen Hall on Saturday 11 August.
Christopher Lawrence’s career spans more than 40 years of broadcasting in radio and television. He has written and produced dozens of radio documentaries, presented an interview series for the Ovation channel, and conducted Australia’s capital city symphony orchestras. As a recording producer he has won an International Emmy for Performing Arts, three ARIA Awards, a Churchill Fellowship, and the Editors’ Choice Award at the 1992 Cannes Classical Awards in France.
Christopher worked extensively with the late Stuart Challender and the Sydney Symphony on a series of breakthrough recordings of Australian music. He also accompanied them on their historic Bicentennial Tour of the United States in 1988, producing recordings with Dame Joan Sutherland in the Kennedy Center and the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Christopher was the first presenter of ABC RN’s The Music Show from 1991, discussing recording techniques with k.d.lang, the art of singing while running uphill with Julie Andrews, and making pasta with Stéphane Grappelli. He has also conducted a series of public conversations with guests including Victoria de los Angeles, Simone Young, Philip Glass, Geoffrey Rush and Stephen Sondheim.
Christopher is best-known for his on-air work with ABC Classic FM. The three Swoon collection albums that evolved from his breakfast program in the 1990s broke sales records in the Australian classical music industry, each achieving platinum sales status. He has also worked extensively on ABC Local Radio, presenting Evenings and Breakfast on ABC Sydney, Afternoons on ABC Hobart, and the series Bakelite Express on Networked Local Radio across the country. While based in the UK, he was a regular guest commentator for the live-to-air BBC Proms telecasts and reviewer for Opera magazine. In 1999 Christopher was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Communications by the University of Central Queensland for his career in broadcasting. Christopher has also worked extensively in arts administration as Executive Producer of Music for ABC TV and Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia. At present he is serving on the Board of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and is President of the Van Diemen’s Band Association. Christopher has written three best-selling books: Swooning – a classical music guide to life, love, lust and other follies; Hymns of the Forefathers, based on his documentary series about the history of hymns seen on ABC TV; and Swing Symphony. His latest book, Symphony of Seduction was published by Nero in Australia in February 2018. His work is sold throughout Australia, the US, UK, Hungary and China.
In 2018 Christopher can be heard on ABC Classic FM in Weekend Breakfast, and in the music/travel program Passenger on Wednesdays, 3-4 pm.