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Conservatorium High School

Conservatorium High School

Our Patron: Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC Governor of New South Wales

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Conservatorium High Alumni of Old Students - CHAOS

Young composer takes the prize

We are thrilled to announce that young composer Ronan Apcar is the winner of the 2019 Willgoss Choral Composition Prize!
Following an anonymous adjudication process, Apcar’s work Preludes was selected as the winning work from some high-quality entries, to be premiered in September at the evening recital of the Burgundian Consort of UNSW. As the winner, he will receive a $3000 cash prize, thanks to the generous support of Richard and Sue Willgoss, who have now supported this prize for three years.
We look forward to working with Ronan Apcar for the premiere performance of Preludes, and congratulate him on his success.

Letter to Dr Robert Curry

Evan Atwell-Harris

Dear Robert,

I hope this message finds you well.

I’m very excited to let you know I’ll be starting a Masters of Jazz Performance at Juilliard this September, under scholarship.

My sincere thanks to you and the Con High for all of the opportunities my schooling has brought me. I’m very fortunate to have been allowed to pursue my passion for jazz whilst at the Con High, and to have done so with encouragement and support.

Thanks again and best regards,


Long Tan Awards hit right note at Conservatorium High

Lieutenant Commander Peter Button with Gabriela and Jane

Lieutenant Commander Peter Button, Deputy Director – Fleet Support Contracts office, had the honour of presenting the 2015 Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Awards at Sydney’s Conservatorium High School in February during their annual speech night.

The well deserving 2015 recipients were year 10 student Gabriela Powell-Thomas and Jane Anderson from year 12.

“The school is the only specialist music high school in New South Wales and admission is through a highly competitive process of audition and interview that assesses each applicant’s potential as well as current level of achievement; both musically and academically,” Lieutenant Commander Button said.

“For this year’s intake, although 150 applications were lodged, only one in eleven passed the selection process.”

Apart from compulsory choir and piano, all students are expected to study a minimum of two additional instruments on top of their standard academic workload of history, mathematics, geography and languages.

“In addition there are compulsory music subjects such as composition, chamber music and performance workshops; it is a daunting workload, but they seem to lap it up,” he said.

“I have presented the Long Tan Awards at Conservatorium High School since 2013 and on every occasion I have been most impressed by the outstanding quality of their students.”

The awards started in 2006 to recognise students who demonstrate leadership and teamwork within both their school and the broader local community. At the same time, the awards also recognise those who display strong values, such as doing one’s best, respect for others and ‘mateship’, characteristics that are integral to Australian society and to the Australian Defence Force.

The awards are an important initiative by the Australian Government in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force designed to encourage senior students – tomorrow’s leaders – to actively participate in the life of their schools and local communities.

Sydney Symphoney Orchestra Fellows 2016

Congratulations to Conservatorium High Alumni

Bridget O'Donnel - Violin, Stephanie Vici - Flute, Bethan Lillicrap - Cello, and Hyungsuk bae - Cello

Con High graduates make up one quarter of the recently named fellows for 2016 selected from Australia.

Cellist Bethan Lillicrap, 23, was overwhelmed when she received the phone call from Fellowship Artistic Director and SSO Principal Viola Roger Benedict telling her she’d been accepted into program.

“I really couldn’t believe it. It took about 24-hours for it to sink in and I’ve been pinching myself ever since,” Bethan says. “There are so many fantastic musicians in the SSO and I’m so thrilled at the prospect of performing with them onstage in the Sydney Opera House. I’ve been an SSO audience-member ever since I moved to Sydney over a decade ago, so it’s very surreal but incredibly exciting that I’ll get to experience the concerts from within the Orchestra.”

The Fellowship program is supported by funding from Credit Suisse, The Ian Potter Foundation, the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NSW and individual donors.

Class of 1970-75 reuion

Class of 1970-75 reuion gropu photo

Back row

Geoff Dodd, Christopher Hochkins, Geoffrey Payne, Elizabeth Ganly, Geoff Crane, David Allen, Fran Simons, Cheryl Scholfield(Bryant), Greg Ford , Teri Singer

Front row

Paul Terracini, Cathy Szabo , Sarah Grunstein, Pam Bosi (Green)Beverley Jan, Fiona L.E.Stephens, Dahle Innes, Julie Simonds

Absentees in alphabetical order: Graham Abbott,  Marian Barford (1957 – 2015), Peter Beveridge, Chris Belshaw (Brown) (1958 – 2014), Theresa Cameron, Amanda Cross, Irene Donohoe, Louise Elliott, Elizabeth Holowell, Janette Hruby, Brenda Hutley, Karen Kauffmann, Virginia King, Terry Little, Rodney McPherson (1957 – 1992), Michael Mulcahy, Alfred Reitano, Pam Routley, Debbie Thorpe (White)

Jodie Goodwin wins inaugural medal 2006

Jodie Goodwin shown in centre of image with her medal surrounded by left to right Julie Simonds, Janet Davies, Jane Rutter and Anne Harvey

The soprano Jodie Goodwin is the winner of the first CHAOS Medal in our annual Soloists’ Competition.  Jodie competed with two other soloists, Alisa Bernhard - piano and Evan Harris - tenor saxophone.

Image shows Jodie Goodwin in centre, with left to right Julie Simonds, Chairman of 2MBS-FM, Janet Davies - Adjudicator, Jane Rutter - Adjudicator, Anne Harvey, CHAOS President.

Conservatorium High School 50 year class reuinon

It’s hard to believe, that almost 50 years have gone by since our “Class of ‘65” completed the ‘Leaving Certificate’, and then launched out into the next stage of our developing careers.

On the 28th February this year, 12 of us who had shared all, or part of those years together from 1961-1965, enjoyed a special day together to celebrate this significant landmark in our lives – for some it had extra special significance, as it was the first time they had seen some of their class mates since the last day of school!!

Towards the end of 2014, the realization that our Graduation Class was nearly 50 years old started to dawn on us, and as a result, enthusiastic discussions commenced re another class reunion ( the last one having been held 20 years previously in 1995. )

Mark was now living in Poland, & very keen to be part of the event, so plans were immediately fast-tracked when his next business trip scheduled him to be in Sydney on the 16th Feb.. A date was agreed upon, with Diane & Roslyn ( Brisbane ), Julia ( Kendall ), John    ( Melbourne ), Mark ( Warsaw ) & Gilbert ( Maitland ) all locking into Sat. 28th Feb. for a reunion back at the ‘CON’, where it had all started so many years before.

The next priority was to track down as many other class-mates as possible!

Judith Maynar, an ex-student from an earlier year, was a great help in getting us connected with the right people to begin our search & preparations. Any lead, or personal contact was followed up, including Facebook, Linkedin, & White Pages. CHAOS was contacted, and an invitation sent out to every ex Con High student on their email data base. This brought immediate results: Dayle was quickly located in London; Pam in Zurich; & Suzy in Sydney. In the meantime, Erica & Clare had been found in Tasmania, and on the day before the reunion, Julie ( Blue Mountains. ), with the help of a friendly Postmaster, received our ‘flyer’, & was also able to join us at the last minute.

In preparation for the ‘main event’, Mark & Gilbert had a day together in Sydney nine days prior, visiting the High School , meeting the Principal Robert Curry, the President of CHAOS Julie Simonds ( who had been very helpful & pro-active in the planning process ), & other staff. The highlight of the visit was an impromptu 30’ interaction with a year 8 class, discussing our lives & careers, and how different things were at the High School 50 years ago.

Our celebration on the Saturday began at 9.30 am at the Conservatorium’s Cafe, where we were joined by Robert Curry. Robert showed us through the High School buildings, & then took us all into his office where we were thrilled to be able to make video calls overseas to Pam ( Zurich ), Dayle ( London ), & Clare ( Tasmania ). We then gathered in a classroom to watch part of the video of our Reunion in 1995. Mark made a special presentation to the High School library with books reflecting Polish music & culture. This was followed by a quick lunch back at the Café; and then it was a 1 hour ‘Music & Heritage’ tour of the Con        ( part of the Conservatorium’s 100 years Birthday Celebrations). The next 5 hours was spent sharing with each other, exchanging contact details, and reminiscing with stories & photos. The day culminated in a leisurely walk through the Botanical Gardens to the Opera House, and eventually a final meal together in a restaurant at Circular Quay.

It was a wonderful day, and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by all of us. Friendships were renewed, our connection to each other was strengthened, and a firm commitment was made to do it all again in 5 years time.