The Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Instrumental Music is a biennial event offering a residential extension program for up to 80 musically outstanding students (MOST) from Queensland state secondary schools.
The MOST program extends musically gifted and talented students in a 10-day program of musical development in large and small ensembles, tutorial groups, aural musicianship and a range of music and cultural activities. Conductors and tutors are eminent musicians who are recognised as leaders in their respective fields.
MOST 2023 program nominations are now closed.
MOST 2023 conductors
Symphony Orchestra – Dane Lam
Australian-Chinese conductor Dane Lam was appointed Associate Music Director and Resident Conductor at Opera Queensland in December 2020, a position created for him specifically and the first of its kind in the company’s history.
He is also Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of China’s Xi’an Symphony Orchestra. Dane has been leading the orchestral revival in Australia following the Covid-19 lockdown and has conducted the first performances in front of live audiences for Opera Queensland, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
As well as Opera Queensland’s new production of Le nozze di Figaro, his 2021 highlights include the inaugural production of the National Opera in Canberra, La clemenza di Tito, concerts with the Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and a Martha Argerich and friends festival with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra.
Elsewhere, Dane has appeared with Opera Australia, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, the Canberra, Western Australia, Dunedin, Beijing, Suzhou, Kunming and Shandong Symphony Orchestras, Munich Radio Orchestra, Het Residentie Orkest, City of London Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, Southbank Sinfonia, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn and the Verbier Festival Orchestra.
Since Dane assumed the post of Principal Conductor in Xi’an in 2014, XSO’s classical subscription offering has almost doubled while attendance has increased commensurately. He led the very first staged, professional opera in this 3,000-year-old city with Tosca in 2015, followed by Le nozze di Figaro, La traviata and Candide, raising the artistic standard and profile of the orchestra to attract such artists as Jose Carreras, Sumi Jo, Midori Goto, Barry Douglas, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough, Ning Feng, Kirill Gerstein, and Yundi Li.
Dane conducted the XSO at the 2016 CCTV1 Mid-Autumn Festival Gala which was televised live around China and internationally to an audience exceeding one billion viewers while presiding over a period of financial security for the organisation and forging international partnerships.
Moreover, Xi’an has seen important premieres during Dane’s tenure including Beethoven and Brahms Symphony Cycles, and an ongoing Mahler Symphony Cycle in partnership with the University of Queensland. Following his 2019 company debut conducting La bohème for Opera Australia, he was immediately reinvited to conduct Don Giovanni the following year.
Other recent highlights include Carl Davis’ A Christmas Carol with Het Residentie Orkest in The Hague, Orpheus et Eurydie with Opera Queensland and Cilea’s L’arlesiana at Opera Holland Park, with whom Dane has a close relationship that has also seen him conduct Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Aida, Norma, Mascagni’s Iris, Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and a new production of Così fan tutte.
Mark Sullivan – String Orchestra
Mark Sullivan is a Music Education Consultant working nationally to enhance local Instrumental Music Programs, while supporting teachers to improve their pedagogy and teaching practice.
During a 40 year career, he has initiated innovative developments in music education for primary and secondary schools, directed and managed highly successful school and community orchestras in Queensland and Washington State and supervised the training of future music teachers. He has also lectured extensively at tertiary level, presented at conferences, published many professional articles and designed and implemented music program evaluations.
He was the recipient of the the ASG, State and National Inspirational Teaching Awards in 2010 and the ABODA Outstanding Ensemble Director’s Award.
After serving twenty years as the Director of Instrumental Music at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Mark retired with a distinguished record of achievements in ensemble direction, group and private instrumental instruction, policy, curriculum and program development, physical and human resource management, large event management and tour leadership.
Currently, Mark is the string program coordinator, violin teacher and string orchestra director at the Young Conservatorium, Griffith University and continues to be in constant demand as a specialist instrumental music consultant, orchestra director, adjudicator, visiting clinician, program evaluator, conference presenter and mentor.
Symphonic Wind Orchestra – Patrick Pickett
Patrick Pickett has been a leader, performer, conductor, artistic director, educator, fundraiser and business advisor within the arts in Australia and overseas for more than 40 years. In 1997, he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal for services as Officer Commanding and Music Director of the Australian Army Band Kapooka.
In 1999, the title of Citizen of the Year was bestowed on him by the Mayor of Wagga Wagga. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed Director of Music Army in 2004, Patrick was further honoured with the position of adjunct professor to The University of Queensland. In 2005, Patrick commanded and conducted the Australian Defence Force Band, pipes and drums and ceremonial element at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, A Salute to Australia, and conducted the Tri-Service Band element of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.
On an international level, he contributed as the senior music director and technical advisor to the Brunei International Military Tattoo 2006. A major highlight of his career was being appointed as music director for the 90th Anniversary Celebrations at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli in 2005.
In recognition of his ongoing commitment to the development of formal relationships between the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) and Defence Music, Patrick was appointed as federal examiner for the AMEB in 2008, and is now one of the AMEB (QLD) Panel of Examiners and Advisors (Instrumental).
Patrick was Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra from 2009 until his retirement in 2012. In 2013, Patrick launched the Australian Musicians and Orchestral Service — an innovative arts company with a mission ‘to provide outstanding performance opportunities for Queensland’s growing body of high-level professional musicians’. Alongside this new business, Patrick has become the new owner and artistic director/conductor of the Queensland Pops Orchestra.
Chamber Wind Orchestra – Stefanie Smith
Stefanie Smith is a freelance conductor and educator based in Brisbane where she works regularly with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra undertaking a broad range of duties, Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and Brisbane Symphony Orchestra as well as a number of ensembles across the state.
Stefanie has acted as assistant conductor for the Opera Beatrice and Benedict and as a sessional academic at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University where she assists with conducting duties with the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra and teaches the undergraduate conducting courses. She is the founder and conductor of the ensemble Consorte Eclettica, which supports emerging local artists in South-East Queensland, premiering and performing chamber orchestra works in collaboration with other art forms.
As a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Stefanie is researching the careers of emerging Australian conductors. Stefanie has participated in Australian Conducting Academy with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Fritzsch as well as conducting master classes with Larry Rachleff (Rice University, United States) and maestro Benjamin Zander at the London Master Classes Conducting Course, with members of the Royal Northern College of Music.
She is also the Young Conservatorium Ensemble Coordinator where she conducts the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, and Woodwind Ensemble and teaches chamber music.
Big band – John Hoffman
One of Australia’s most respected trumpet players, U.S. born John Hoffman has toured and recorded with the Buddy Rich Band, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Buddy de Franco Orchestra and the Harry James Orchestra.
He has performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jnr., Shirley Bassey, Ray Charles, and other greats. Living in Australia since 1977, John led his own Big Band in Sydney for 10 years, and has performed and recorded with leading Australian artists.
He has played in the orchestra for over 35 musicals in Australia, and on the soundtrack of several major films. John lectured at Qld Conservatorium Griffith University for 26 years. He travels to all States and overseas for performance, adjudication, and to conduct workshops and master classes. He has been Artist in Residence for the Salamanca Arts Festival in Hobart.
In recent years, John has taught at The Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University, Melbourne University, Edith Cowan University in Perth, Sydney Conservatorium, Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, Hobart Conservatorium,The Defence Forces School of Music and The China Conservatory of Music for Tutti Beijing.
Choir – Paul Holley OAM
Paul Holley is a choral conductor and music educator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills as choral musicians. With over 25 years of teaching experience in schools and many years of working with instrumentalists and singers Paul knows how to connect with people of all ages and enjoys collaborating with them in the music making process.
Presently, Paul is the Artistic Director of Voices of Birralee a community youth and children’s choir organisation based in Brisbane. He conducts two of the signature choirs the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee. Both of these ensembles have toured nationally and internationally, won several competitions, made numerous recordings and supported community events.
He is also the co-conductor of the national youth choir Gondwana Chorale. In addition to these roles, Paul is a workshop presenter, choral clinician, guest conductor and mentor to younger conductors. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in January 2016 for his services to choral music.