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Appointment of two Musical Directors for the 2017 Festival

Following the sad news of Richard Gill’s illness and his withdrawal from all engagements for the remainder of the year, it was decided by the Wollongong organising committee and others that we would look to our own MD’s to conduct the concert. Consequently we are pleased to announce that it has been decided to appoint the two youngest Musical Directors within the Association.

Keiren Brandt-Sawdy of Sydney Male Choir and Tom Buchanan of Australian Welsh Male Choir have both agreed to share the Festival, a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their talents and musical abilities in what can be viewed as music bridging the generation gap.

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Keiren Brandt-Sawdy

Keiren was recently appointed Musical Director of the Sydney Male Choir, and after leading them on a very successful tour of New Zealand at the beginning of the year, is fast earning a reputation asa fine choral conductor. Keiren is also Musical Director of the Men’s Shed Chorale and has directed community choirs for many years. In addition to his choral work, Keiren has a keen interest in opera,and conducted the Young Artists Company Operantics in three productions since 2015 - Jonathan Dove’s, Mansfield Park (Australian Premiere), La Sonnambula and Die Fledermaus. He hasalso been engaged as the Assistant Conductor for Pinchgut Opera.

Keiren was born in Sydney and completed his Bachelor of Music Studies (Piano) and Master of Music Studies (Conducting) at the Sydney Conservatorium. While he was an undergraduate, he appeared as the musical director of the Sydney University Dramatic Society’s production of The Threepenny Opera. After graduating in 2013, he enrolled in the Masters Conducting course at the Conservatorium. During this time he was Musical Director and Composer for the Sydney University Arts Revue and composed music for the Sydney University Dramatic Society’s production of Much Ado About Nothing as well as being assistant conductor to performances by the Conservatorium Choir and Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem, 2014), The Early Music Ensemble (2015) and the Opera Unit (Malcolm Williamson’s English Eccentrics, 2015).

Keiren hopes to further his studies overseas and pursue a career as an opera conductor. He is very excited to be working with the choristers in this year’s MCAA festival.

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Tom Buchanan

Tom is a well-known and highly regarded Melbourne-based choral conductor, currently directing the Australian Welsh Male Choir, Excelsis and the Mornington Peninsula Chorale. Tom has also been the Musical Director of Casey Choir (Berwick, Victoria), Out of the Ordinary (Monash University), and has directed choirs at both Eltham College and Christ Church Grammar School (South Yarra) where he currently works, primarily as a piano teacher. In recent years Tom has conducted performances extensively throughout Australia, as well as performing internationally in the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the USA. In addition to his experience as a choral conductor, Tom has also had the opportunity to conduct both professional and community orchestras in some of Melbourne’s major performance venues, including St Paul’s Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Frankston Arts Centre.
Tom is a composer and arranger of choral music, and has had his work published both in Australia (Willow Publishing, NSW) and in the United Kingdom (Banks Music Publications, York). Tom’s compositions and arrangements have received performances in Australia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the USA.

Through his work as Musical Director of the Australian Welsh Male Choir, Tom has enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the world’s most eminent Welsh choir conductors. Tom is a passionate supporter of community music and enjoys the challenge of working with a diverse range of choristers, with varying levels of musical training, to produce exciting and engaging choral performances.

Tom completed his music studies at the School of Music – Conservatorium of Monash University, where he majored in classical piano performance. Whilst studying at Monash, Tom also completed a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary). Tom was an accompanist for the 2012 MCAA Festival which was held in Melbourne under the direction of Dr Alwyn Humphreys MBE. He is very much looking forward to the opportunity to work with all the choristers again this year, as co-director of the 2017 MCAA Festival.

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