Sydney-born Graham Abbott is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium and in 1985 was awarded the ABC / Willem van Otterloo Conducting Scholarship. During this tenure he studied with Myer Fredman at the Sydney Conservatorium where he also taught. In 1986 Graham was appointed Conductor-in-Residence at the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide. He was Musical Director of Adelaide Chorus (now Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus) from 1986 to 1992 and made his professional orchestral debut with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 1987.
Graham will start 2022 by continuing in his role as Artistic Director for Hayllar Music Tours, curating and leading tours in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and also leading tours to the Bendigo and Adelaide Festivals. He will conduct the inaugural Richard Gill Memorial Festival of Strings in Melbourne and return to the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for Unwrap the Music, to the Adelaide Symphony for the ‘Big Rehearsal’, to Festival of Voices Hobart, and to Melbourne Symphony for Ears Wide Open and Meet the Music. He will also make his debut with National Opera Canberra, conducting Handel’s Alcina.
In a career spanning more than thirty years, Graham has been a frequent guest conductor with all the major Australian orchestras. He has also conducted the Hunter Orchestra, the State Orchestra of Victoria (now Orchestra Victoria), the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Philharmonic, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Classical Players and many new and early music ensembles. An experienced conductor of opera, Graham’s repertoire includes Fidelio, Aida, Lélisir dámore, Julius Caesar, Orlando, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, La traviata, Il trovatore, Don Pasquale, Un ballo in maschera, and Pelléas et Mélisande. He was also Assistant Conductor for the Australian premiere season of John Adams’ Nixon in China at the 1992 Adelaide Festival and in 2001-2002 was Music Advisor to Chamber Made Opera in Melbourne.