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5 July 2022 / Category : School

Four Rangi Ruru Musicians in National Youth Orchestra


Four Rangi Ruru musicians have successfully auditioned for the prestigious 2022 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra National Youth Orchestra (NYO), a group for young musicians aged up to 25-years-old.

Violinists Polly Lee (Year 10) and Ella Chen (Year 12), violist Juliet Park (Year 12) and cellist Elise Tian (Year 9) were all selected for this competitive orchestra, where places are highly sought after by New Zealand’s best young classical musicians.

For 2022, just 29 of the 94 musicians selected are aged under 18, and Elise is the youngest member at just 13-years-old. Rangi Ruru is the only school to have four students selected.

The four students selected are also all Rangi Ruru Stellar Music Scholars. These are five-year scholarships awarded by audition to students who excel in music. Recipients are part of the Stellar Music Programme which offers personalised extension and enrichment to high-achieving musicians. Polly, Ella, Juliet and Elise are also all members of the Juliusz Quintet (along with Chloe Jiang) who recently won the South Island Finals of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest and are one of only eight groups nationally to be selected for the National Finals.

Polly says she was surprised to hear the news of her placement in NYO and was excited to work towards this challenge.

“I’m sure that from this experience I will learn lots of new things,” she says. “Playing with other musicians and all working towards the same goal is truly a wonderful thing. I am so excited for NYO and I can’t wait to meet all the people there!”

Elise is also excited to meet fellow musicians from across New Zealand.

“I personally think it is a great opportunity to learn new things and get to know other great musicians around New Zealand,” she says. “I hope I learn how to be a better orchestra musician, as well as mixing with other players!”

Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Director of Music Janet Kingsbury says the recognition for these four talented and hardworking students is outstanding.

“Given that places in the NYO for young musicians under 25 years are highly competitive, this is testament not only to the high level of talent but also the students’ very strong work ethic and support of each other,” she says.

“We actively encourage high-performing musicians to seek and apply for elite-level opportunities. Not only are these students ready for the challenges, they provide inspiration to younger students both at Rangi Ruru and for those who may be considering coming here specifically for our personalised and inclusive music programmes.”

Mrs Kingsbury says many of Rangi Ruru’s former Stellar Music Scholars have been members of the NYO, where connections are made with professional orchestral musicians leading to further study and development of musical careers often of international acclaim.

“It will be so exciting for our students to experience live performance in an orchestra of this standing, and even more so that their achievements can be celebrated at a performance in Christchurch.”

The NYO will rehearse in Wellington during the first week of July under Australian conductor Fabian Russell before performances in Wellington on July 7 and Christchurch on July 9.

Learn more about Rangi Ruru’s Music programme here.

UPDATE: Juliet Park was the only player to the featured in the programme for the event and she won the Herbert Heuser Viola Award for her playing in the orchestra. Rangi Ruru alumni Amy Clough, now in her second year of study towards a Bachelor of Music, was also in the orchestra and won the Bill Clayton Memorial Scholarship awarded to an exceptional young musician.