The Yellow River Project

The Yellow River Project

The Yellow River Project is an exciting program of public lectures and concerts in Canberra and Melbourne showcasing choral music from China and Australia. Coro Chamber Music and the ANU School of Music is delighted to welcome Beijing-based British conductor Nicholas Smith OBE to Australia who will lead the choir in repertoire from 1930s revolutionary China, to works by contemporary Australian composers.

Conductor: Nicholas Smith OBE

Featuring Coro singers and Adam Cook (piano)

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Nicholas Michael Smith, OBE is currently the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Peking Sinfonietta and the International Festival Chorus, both based in Beijing, China.  Both offer regular seasons featuring the world’s top soloists.  Under Mr Smith’s direction over the past ten years, the Peking Sinfonietta is now widely recognized as offering China’s most innovative programming and authentic performances, while the International Festival Chorus is acclaimed as the PRC’s best choir and the only group in mainland China working consistently to introduce western choral-symphonic repertoire to Chinese audiences in Beijing and beyond.

Mr Smith has worked with many groups worldwide, including Teatro Lirico di Spoleto and Les Percussions Claviers de Lyon, and in Asia, the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the China National Film Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.  Over the last 10 years, Mr Smith has conducted and helped to bring about numerous concerts of significance to the development of western music in China, including PRC first performances of works ranging from Bach’s St John Passion to Elgar’s The Music Makers, as well as the PRC’s first ever fully staged Broadway musical Lady in the Dark, which featured stars from London’s West End.

Mr Smith holds a degree in music from Cambridge University, has studied conducting and composition privately with Reginald Thompson, and holds both artistic and academic appointments.  In 2001, he created the Peking Sinfonietta, which performs some of the most varied and ambitious programs to be found in mainland China today.  Now entering his 11th season with the Peking Sinfonietta, Mr Smith has maintained a high standard of performance and artistic administration, enabling the group to attract many of China’s finest instrumentalists.  In 2002, he helped to found the International Festival Chorus.  In addition to performing at least one PRC premier of a major choral work each year, this group plays an active role in commissioning new choral works from Chinese composers, most recently Dao by He Shaoying.  Both the Peking Sinfonietta and the International Festival Chorus have an international reputation which continues to attract top international artists, including Dame Emma Kirkby, Justin Lavender, Lu Siqing and Andrew Nethsingha.  Since 2007, Mr Smith has been a professor of the Conducting Department of the China Music Conservatory, and in 2011 was appointed an honorary professor of the Tianjin Music Conservatory.

In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on Mr Smith the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to music in China and to Sino-British relations.  He has also appeared on numerous Chinese radio and television programs, and in 2011 was given Phoenix TV’s “You Bring Charm to China” award for his efforts to encourage and promote western classical music in China.


Updated:  6 September 2013/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications