female conductor

Con conducting grad makes Opera House debut

9 November 2020
Bringing works written by women to the main stage
Conductor and Creative Director Natalie Murray Beale’s work encompasses opera, concert, film and video game scores. We caught up with Natalie to learn how her time at the Con continues to support her career aspirations.

Like almost everyone else, Covid-19 has presented new challenges for musicians.

But along with the challenges, Bachelor of Music Education grad Natalie Murray Beale, says the pandemic gave her time for reflection. “I have reasserted my priorities and purpose surrounding music making and my career,” she explains.

Since graduating from the Con in 1997, Natalie has worked with many leading opera companies and orchestras and has been lucky to learn from inspirational conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen (working closely as his assistant), and Valery Gergiev, as chorus director for the London Symphony Chorus. Her repertoire includes a wide range of stage works, from the operas of Mozart and Gluck through to Bartok, Poulenc, Janáček and Adams.

Some special career highlights for Natalie include, conducting London's Philharmonia Orchestra on tour to Colombia, performing in a 10,000-seat stadium with the Orchestre du Capital de Toulouse and directing the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn in the European staged premiere of John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary.

Adding to her list of impressive achievements, Natalie made her debut at the Royal Opera House this year with the New Dark Age. 

It has been an incredible privilege to conduct at the Royal Opera House, bringing works written by women to the main stage and collaborating with Director Katie Mitchell.
Natalie Murray Beale

For Natalie, no two days are the same. “Generally, I'm either working at home studying scores and researching new programmes or I'm rehearsing and performing. I am also a Professor at the Royal College of Music where I teach and conduct performances,” she explains.

“I love collaborating with theatre directors, discovering new artists and musical voices and assisting in getting new work produced. I enjoy pulling together musical and theatrical elements in creating performances.”

Natalie says she was “drawn to Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a dynamic centre for great music making. Its proximity to the Sydney Opera House was also compelling and exciting.”      

On her time at the Con, Natalie explains, “all the best moments were getting together with friends and colleagues, dreaming up performances and feeling equally brave and risky in executing them.”

“I was influenced in a number of ways. In my Bachelor of Music Education degree, I enjoyed analysing the way people learn and looking at creating positive environments for rehearsing and performing. In my postgraduate degree, I had more space to develop as a performer and build my skills and comprehension of opera," says Natalie.

For students thinking about a career in music, Natalie has some advice:

  • "Be inquisitive and don't be afraid to ask questions and seek help where you need it from staff and colleagues."

  • "Keep to your own map and development and remember that there are many different pathways to a fulfilling career in music."

On looking towards the future, Natalie says, there are many great artists that she'd love to collaborate with. "I'd like to continue working with composers and supporting emerging artists and I would also like the opportunity to conduct some of my favourite operas from the repertoire.”

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