The Sydney Symphony’s first Australian-born chief conductor came from the ranks. “Charlie”, as all his friends and colleagues knew him, was principal oboe and a very ambitious young man who wanted to be a conductor. Linda Vogt remembers him as a brilliant 17-year-old with red hair. “He was always agitating at the ABC to give him a chance. Charlie got up on the rostrum and chose to conduct Portsmouth Point by William Walton. He staggered us. His knowledge of the score and technique were brilliant. The orchestra was absolutely confounded.”
Sir Charles Mackerras was the first Australian Chief Conductor of Sydney Symphony. He stayed for just three years, but continued to visit regularly right up until 2007.