Who are the conductors?

With so many world-class artists resident in Australia, this festival we will introduce you to two new, local faces and one that will be familiar from the last festival event, way back in 2018.   

We are thrilled to welcome Antony Pitts to the AJCF for the first time.  He has been the Artistic Director and conductor of The Song Company since 2016, and his illustrious career spans the world and several decades. He will conduct the Challenge Choir.

Antony was born in England and wrote his first composition at the age of 8. He was an Academic Scholar at New College, Oxford, gaining First Class Honours in Music. His career has combined academic, industry and professional experience at world-class levels. It includes a decade-long association with the Royal Academy of Music in London, a rich and varied output as a BBC Senior Producer, and a creative record as composer, scholar and performer for the acclaimed Milestones of Early Western Music series on the Naxos label.

He has received commissions from leading ensembles and festivals in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, including the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Oxford Festival of Contemporary Music, the Berlin Radio Choir and The Swingle Singers.  His compositions have been premiered at Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Philharmonie Kammermusikaal in Berlin.  Recent commissions include a 50-part motet XLX – Mente cordis sui for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2019, and he is currently Composer-in-Residence at the Sydney Conservatorium High School.  Antony’s latest project is a music theatre piece, The Process, inspired by Franz Kafka, starlings and social media.

Antony’s oratorio, Jerusalem-Yerushalayim, which tells the biblical story of Jerusalem, received a standing ovation at its first performance in Northern Ireland and at its US premiere in 2012. This stunning oratorio, in English and Hebrew, to be conducted by the composer, is the centrepiece of the 2022 Festival.


Kelly Shepard returns to the festival and will again conduct the Connection Choir. Kelly has sung professionally for 30 years: opera, musicals and barbershop, and directed many choirs, conducting choral works in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House. As Head of Department, Kelly built a performing arts program at Milken Community Schools, the largest Jewish Day School in the USA, where he served as Musical Director for all the musicals. Kelly founded, and for 15 years led the Los Angeles chapter of HaZamir, the International Teen Choir founded under the umbrella of the Zamir Choral Foundation. He has been a regular presenter at the North American Jewish Choral Festival. He and his family now reside in Brisbane, where he directs several ensembles and continues to pursue his award-winning Barbershop career. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Music Education (High Distinction) from Indiana University School of Music.  


We have another exciting new addition to the faculty - Roberta Diamond. Principal soprano with The Song Company, this dazzling world traveller in song has an innovative program in store for the Creation Choir, based largely on aural learning. She is no stranger to the North Shore Temple Emanuel, having led the NSTE choir at the occasional service, and treated the community to a number of presentations of Sephardic and Ladino music. Roberta divides her time between study at the Schola Cantorum Badilensis in Switzerland and her role with The Song Company in Australia. A specialist in medieval, renaissance and baroque music, in addition to her interest in Spanish and middle eastern music, she has appeared at multiple, international festivals, and performed with ensembles including Pinchgut Opera, La Cetra Barockorchester, Voces8, i Profeti della Quinta and the Academy of Ancient Music. She enjoys collaborating with folk musicians from all over the world in cross-cultural projects. Roberta first sang on stage with The Song Company in True-Love-Story in 2018, and has since featured as principal soprano in many of their productions.

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For enquiries, please contact us on ajcfreg@jewish-arts.org.au