Paul Terracini – Artistic Director

Paul Terracini is an Australian conductor, composer and arranger who now lives in the Blue Mountains after spending almost 20 years living and working in Europe. He was appointed Artistic Director of Penrith Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and is in constant demand as a guest conductor and instructor.

Paul has previously held positions as Principal Trumpet in the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Lecturer at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; and Solo Trumpet in the Danish Chamber Players, with whom he performed throughout Europe, South America and Asia. He has also been guest professor and conductor at several conservatoriums in Europe and China. As a trumpet soloist, he has performed in Europe, the USA, England and Asia, as well as with the Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian symphony orchestras. As a conductor, he has recorded ten CDs with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and conducted operas and orchestral concerts in Germany, Denmark and Italy.

Paul’s compositions have been performed by ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has composed widely for film and television, including the internationally acclaimed TV series Hymns of the Forefathers I & II and Classical Destinations.

In 2011, he was guest composer/conductor at Northwestern University, Chicago, and guest conductor/arranger with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. His arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, for piano and brass quintet, commissioned by the Australian Brass Quintet, was premiered at the 2011 Melbourne International Festival of Brass. His Mass, commissioned by St Vincent’s College, Sydney, was premiered in September 2011. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass premiered another of his works in December 2011 at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, and in 2012 his Gegensätze for brass ensemble received its Australian premiere in a performance by the Sydney Symphony Brass. In 2014, Paul appeared in Porto, Portugal as guest composer and musical director with the Portuguese Youth Brass Ensemble, and as a featured composer at the 2014 Sydney International Brass Festival.

In 2015, his new work, Like a Minstrel, commissioned in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, opened Penrith Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 season. His new work for euphonium, harp and strings, Fantasia on Medieval Fragments, was recently chosen as one of three finalists in the 2016 Harvey Phillips International Competition for new works for tuba.
Paul is also a theologian and church historian, and recently completed his PhD on the influence of the Social Gospel in 20th century Australia.

For more information about Paul, visit

George Ellis – Guest Conductor, children's concerts

George Ellis is well known as conductor and presenter of Penrith Symphony Orchestra’s popular annual children’s concerts. He has presented concerts for children around Australia, was director of the Babies Proms at the Sydney Opera House from 2002 to 2007, and in his work with children has appeared on national television and radio. In 2009 he returned to the Sydney Opera House as composer and conductor for the Orchestral Babies Proms series.

In 2000, George conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Millennium Choirs for the Sydney Olympic Games and in 2004 he was musical director of the Millennium Choir for the Athens Olympics. He has been an Assistant Conductor for Opera Australia and maintains a busy freelance career conducting for stage and film as well as on the concert platform. He has conducted the major state orchestras of Australia, as well as the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. His recent film credits include conducting music for Mao’s Last Dancer.

For more information about George, visit


Sarah Penicka-Smith

Sarah Penicka-Smith is an experienced conductor and vocal coach. She has been Music Director of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir since 2005 and Director of Music at St Andrew’s College since 2011.

Sarah was Assistant Chorusmaster with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs from 2008-2009, and from 2010 – 2012, Choir Master with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and a guest conductor for Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 Sarah directed the 61st Intervarsity Choral Festival in Canberra and also started working with chamber opera company Opera Prometheus. Her opera credits include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir (the first opera ever staged by a queer choir), and Campra’s Tancrede and the premiere of Cummins’ Anacreontea with Opera Prometheus.

Sarah has been part of the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program since 2012. In addition to her musical credits, Sarah holds a PhD from the University of Sydney.