A life in choirs: Elizabeth Scott takes on the SCM Big Choir

23 October 2018
A Doctorate of Music Arts in Choral Conducting
Ahead of the upcoming SCM Symphony Orchestra and Choirs concert, new ‘Big Choir’ conductor Elizabeth Scott describes her choir-filled schedule and post-study ambitions.
Portrait photo of Elizabeth Scott

Current Doctorate of Music Arts student Elizabeth Scott works with choirs, voice and music almost every day, and many nights too. Aiming to complete her studies next year, Elizabeth’s Doctorate is focused on choral conducting. After recently being appointed one of our two new choral conductors, with Paul Stanhope, we sat down with Elizabeth to get a better understanding of how she conducts her busy choir schedule.

Where did you study previously?

I did my undergraduate degree at the Sydney Conservatorium and was awarded Student of the Year at graduation in 1995. I then undertook post-graduate study in Hungary and in Germany (in voice and choral conducting).

What do you do when you’re not conducting at the Con?

I have a couple of part-time jobs. I am the Music Performance Projects Officer for The Arts Unit - a specialist branch of the NSW Department of Education. In this role, I am responsible for several large scale music events for secondary school students across the state - including the Combined Schools Secondary Choral Festival, Schools Spectacular and the State Music Camps. In addition, I am the Music Director of VOX - Sydney Philharmonia Choirs' Youth Choir and I regularly chorus master for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In fact this week, I am rehearsing and performing with the choir and the orchestra at the Con during the day, and at night I am chorus mastering Beethoven 9 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for performances also this week with Edo de Waart It's a big week!

What does your new choirs position entail?

At the moment I have taken on responsibility for conducting the "Big Choir" (ongoing), and conducting the Symphony Orchestra (just for this concert). In addition I teach some masters choral conducting students.

Do these experiences feed into your studies? 


What can we expect from the concert this week?

A celebration of choral music! Exciting choral repertoire - all very contrasting. The first half will feature the Chamber Choir (conducted by Paul Stanhope) and the 2 choirs will combine for the final 2 pieces in the first half (conducted by me). Then in the second half we will have excerpts from Candide (choir, soloists and orchestra) and then Chichester Psalms (choir and orchestra). The second half is also a celebration of Leonard Bernstein, who would have turned 100 this year.

What do you see yourself doing after you complete your studies?

I would love to work more at the Conservatorium - working with tertiary students is very rewarding. I also hope to continue building my career as a choral conductor.

The Greenway Series SCM Symphony Orchestra and SCM Choirs is on Friday 26 October, 6.30pm. Book your tickets.


Related articles