Kirsten Williams
Chamber Orchestra Director

Kirsten Williams was appointed Concertmaster of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in 2019. From 2021, her CSO role has grown to encompass a range of orchestral development and community engagement activities. She has also commenced an ongoing relationship with the Australian National University where she will be a distinguished artist in residence ,working to form a new professional ensemble with the staff as well as teaching and mentoring students.

Kirsten studied violin from the age of 4 with Jean Jacobs and later with  Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium and graduating with the highest honour in the Performers Diploma at age 18. She joined SYO at the age of 12 and went on to  co-lead the Sydney Youth Chamber Orchestra with Richard Tognetti under the baton of John Painter, often performing as soloist. She then studied with Igor Ozim in Switzerland before joining the first violins in the Royal Opera House Orchestra at Covent Garden and spending two years with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, touring and recording with the orchestra. She was appointed Associate Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra on her return to Sydney, and was a regular soloist and chamber musician for ABC radio, the Mittagong and Melbourne Festivals and for Musica Viva. She has been Guest Concertmaster of the the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Philharmonia and Queensland Symphony Orchestra and joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2000-2019 as Associate Concertmaster.

As a soloist she has appeared with the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Neuchatel Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonische Akademie Bern as well as ACO, the Metrapolitan Orchestra, the Penrith Symphony Orchestra and the West Australian, Queensland, Canberra and Sydney Symphony Orchestras.

A dedicated teacher, she has taught in many leading Sydney schools, given numerous masterclasses, been involved with Sydney Youth Orchestra for many years and toured North America and Canada as Artistic Director of the Australian Youth Orchestra Camerata.

She also has a passion for playing music for healing purposes: she has recorded 2 CDs for the Australian Bush Flower Essences and in 2014 was named Volunteer of the Year for her work playing in the Intensive Care Unit at Westmead Children’s Hospital. That same year she became patron of the Goulburn Strings Project, designed to bring music education to low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged children in regional Australia.